10 women who made history
Even if the fight for women’s rights should not be a flash in the pan, but a daily fight, VL. has decided to put women in the spotlight today, 8th of March 2023, International Women’s Rights Day.
Let’s celebrate 10 women who made history.
International Women’s Day aims to highlight the fight for women’s rights and for reducing inequalities towards men. This year the motto of International Women’s Day is “Female Leadership: For an Equal Future in the World of Covid-19”. The women we celebrate today have all taken part in affirming this female leadership, but the list is obviously not exhaustive.
Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 – 1928)
At the beginning of the 20th century, a British woman called for women’s suffrage: Emmeline Pankhurst, a woman who never gave up. She was President of the Women’s Social and Political Union and leader of the British suffragette movement, which fought a long struggle for the right to vote. This feminist figure is an example of determination. In 1999, Time named Emmeline Pankhurst one of the hundred most influential people of the 20th century, saying that “she shaped the vision of women in our time”.
Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)
In 1903, Marie Curie became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics for her research on radiation, which she carried out with her husband. In 1911 she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on polonium and radium. A diligent and tenacious researcher, she is the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize and, to date, the only woman to have received two.
Anna Maria Mozzoni (1837 – 1920)
A pioneer of feminism, Anna Maria Mozzoni was perhaps the most important figure in Italian political life between the 19th and 20th centuries. A woman in the service of women. She was an Italian journalist, civil rights activist and pioneer of the women’s emancipation movement in Italy. His theoretical, civic and political commitment leaves speechless.
Rosa Luxemburg (1871 – 1919)
Rosa Luxembourg, revolutionary icon, is a socialist and communist activist and Marxist theorist. Together with Léo Jogiches, her companion at the time, she took part in founding the SDKP, the Social Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland. She became a major figure in revolutionary socialism and 20th-century political history. His struggle will also have caused his death. In 1919 she was murdered during the suppression of the Spartacist revolution in Berlin.
Simone de Beauvoir (1908 – 1986)
Simone de Beauvoir is one of the greatest philosophers and writers of her century. Her essay The Second Sex identifies her as one of the greatest theorists of modern feminism. She was also involved in the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s and played an equally important role in the struggles of Gisèle Halimi and Elisabeth Badinter for the recognition of the torture of women in the Algerian war and for abortion rights. She won the 1954 Goncourt Prize for Les Mandarins and became one of the most widely read authors in the world.
Rosa Park (1913-2005)
Rosa Park, an emblematic figure in the fight against racial segregation in the United States, is nicknamed the “mother of the civil rights movement”. She made history when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus. She was condemned for it, but nothing stopped her in her fight, even worn by the character of Martin Luther King. She won her case in 1956 when the US Supreme Court overturned the segregation laws for buses, declaring them unconstitutional.
Simone Schleier (1927 – 2017)
Simone Veil, judge and stateswoman, has shaped the political history of France with her tireless struggle, particularly for abortion rights. As a survivor of the Holocaust, she became an important French politician. In 1974, the then health minister vehemently defended the famous law on voluntary abortion (IVG). This law, now called the “Veil Law,” is a key moment in the history of women’s rights. She therefore appears as an icon of the fight against discrimination against women in France. On July 1, 2018, accompanied by her husband, she entered the Pantheon.
Valentina Terechkova (1937 – …)
Valentina Tereshkova is the first woman to fly into space and has since paved the way for 58 other cosmonauts. It is a journey that has shaped the history of space exploration, but also the history of women. She spent nearly three days in orbit alone aboard her Vostok 6 spacecraft. Valentina Tereshkova, an ardent communist, was later used as the flag-bearer of the Soviet regime and a symbol of women’s liberation in the socialist world.
Wangari Muta Maathai (1940 – 2011)
Wangari Muta Maathai, Kenyan political activist and environmentalist, is the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It was in 2004 to “recognize his contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace” following his campaign against deforestation in Kenya. She is often called “the woman who planted trees”.
Malala Yousafzai (1997 – …)
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani women’s rights activist, is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. That was in 2014, she was only 18 years old. But she didn’t wait for her coming of age to start her fight for peace, she took a stand at the age of 11, despite the threat of the Taliban in her country of Pakistan, for access to education for young girls.
Our celebration ends here with these 10 inspirational portraits. But the fight for women’s rights is not over. You shouldn’t forget the other 364 days of the year. This fight is everybody’s business and we too are changing things at our level, fighting for a little more rights and equality for them, for us, every day.