Incredible Women and How They Changed the World
Throughout time we've seen various women make a mark and leave behind a glorious legacy and a reason to remember them. So let's take a look at some incredible women and how they changed the world in their own little ways.
On December 1st, 1955, civil rights activist Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Alabama, Montgomery. She chose to sit in front rather than going to the seats designated for African Americans at the back. When the bus began to fill up with white passengers, the bus driver asked her to move and she flatly refused and was later arrested. This incident led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, widely regarded as one of the greatest social movements in history.
Referred to as the 'First Lady of Civil Rights', even to this day, Rosa Parks serves as a reminder that one should never succumb to oppression and we must fight for our rights. The colour of our skin and our gender will never determine our fates and we must all unite against discrimination and protect the generations to come.
Marie Sklodowska Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, is the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel prize twice, and is the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. Known for her pioneering research on radioactivity, throughout her career and life Marie Curie faced constant challenges because she is a woman. In fact, in 1903, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences initially intended to honour only Pierre Curie (Marie Curie's husband) and physicist Henri Becquerel with the Nobel Prize in Physics in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel. However, Swedish mathematician Magnus Gosta Mittag-Leffler, a committee member and advocate for women scientists, alerted Pierre to the situation. Following the latter's complaint, Marie's name was added and she becomes the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize.
Marie Curie is one of the greatest examples of a woman excelling in the field of sciences with her extraordinary achievements. Her devotion to her career and her humble personality makes her a great role model to have. Albert Einstein is said to have remarked that Marie Curie was perhaps the only person who could not be corrupted by fame. She was consumed in her work and gave most of her Nobel Prize money to friends, family, students and research associates. In fact, she even insisted that monetary gifts and awards be given to the institutions she was affiliated with rather than her!
Indira Gandhi was the first and, to date the only, female Prime Minister of India. Known for being strong-headed and a great leader, Indira Gandhi is also the second longest-serving Indian Prime Minister, after her father Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. She ordered India's invasion of Pakistan which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.
After Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sudden and untimely death in 1966, Indira Gandhi was named President of the Congress Party and later the Prime Minister. In 1975, she instituted a state of emergency and imprisoned many of her political opponents. The emergency ended in 1977 following which Gandhi and her party were soundly defeated. In the 1980 Lok Sabha elections, Indira Gandhi returned to power in a landslide victory. It was during her second term that Operation Blue Star took place wherein she ordered military action in the Golden Temple in Amritsar. For this, she was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
Indira Gandhi's tenures as Prime Minister have left a huge impact on the political history of India. She is viewed as a powerful and decisive leader who never shied away from taking bold decisions. An inspiration to men and women!
Augusta Ada Lovelace is known as the first computer programmer, and, since 2009, she's recognized annually on October 15th to highlight the often-overlooked contributions of women to math and science. Born to Lord and Lady Byron in October 1815, Ada lost her father at the age of eight. Her mother instilled in her a passion for mathematics and logic.
Ada was a close friend of her private tutor Mary Sommerville who introduced her to Charles Babbage, known now as the father of computers, in 1833.
Considering the day and age she grew up in, it does come as quite a surprise that Ada was allowed to and encouraged to pursue a career in mathematics. It is precisely this that serves as a source of inspiration to all those young girls who wish to pursue their dreams in a technical field. It is also worth mentioning that Ada was often ill and rarely was in good health. In her early childhood, she often experienced headaches that obscured her vision. After a bout of measles in 1829, she was even paralysed and was subjected to bed rest for over a year. Her journey is one of struggle, motivation and passion.
Founder of the Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Kenyan Wangari Maathai is an internationally recognised figure. Throughout her life, she did a lot to create awareness about issues such as environmental conservation and human rights. She was also the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate.
While serving in the National Council of Kenya in 1976, Wangari Maathai introduced the idea of planting trees. She worked with grass-roots organisations to further popularize the idea, spreading awareness amongst women about environmental conservation and improve their quality of life. Through the Green Belt initiative, Wangari helped women plant over 20 million trees on their farms, schools and churches.
Being a woman of colour, Wangari faced her fair share of resistance from society. Nonetheless, she persevered. At the end of the day, it is our motivations and our hopes and dreams that truly matter. To do good is the best way to feel good and we should always be kind to one another and the environment!
The one thing all these women have in common is their drive to succeed. They were all passionate about their causes and fought against all odds to make their dreams a reality. This tenacity of character is central to the belief at Myra Veda. We believe no one should hide who they are and should pursue their dreams and ambitions with courage and confidence.