International Women’s Day is a day for celebrating women and girls everywhere. On this day we think about the inspirational women in history, in stories, and in our own lives, from the queens of ancient civilisations to your 90 year old grandma.
March signals the lead up to Mother’s Day here in the UK, so we at Lisa Angel decided to share our top ten favourite inspiring mums, and why we think these mamas have secured their places in the history books of inspirational women.
‘I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.’
The fierce and determined tennis champion Serena Williams isn’t a stranger to criticism, with comments constantly made about her body and fashion choices, but whatever the world throws at her she throws right back. This boss lady even won the Australian tennis open while pregnant with her daughter; there’s not a lot more incredible than that.
‘Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.’
Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Marie Curie, a scientist from Poland, worked tirelessly in her pursuit of science. She discovered two new radioactive elements, won two nobel prizes, and created the first mobile x-ray units for use in World War I, all while raising two young daughters. If it wasn’t for Curie, our knowledge of radiation for medical use wouldn’t be what it is today.
‘Nothing would mean anything if I didn’t live a life of use to others.’
Everyone knows Angelina Jolie as an A list movie star, but behind the scenes her humanitarian work is endless. An ambassador for UNHCR, a community and conservation development leader in Southern Africa, an advocate for children’s education and safety in third world countries, the list goes on. Jolie has six children, three adopted and three biological, juggling motherhood with her humanitarian and acting work like a boss.
‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive.’
A world famous writer, poet, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou is known for her eye opening books and autobiographies on racism, identity, family and travel, and her works are considered a defense of black culture. She was a respected spokeswoman for black people and women throughout her life, and raised her son throughout all of it to have the same respect for people as she did.
‘My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.’
Despite being told throughout her life that she couldn’t do things, Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn’t listen. She studied law surrounded by men, dismissed people that told her she should be at home baking, argued six landmark cases on gender equality, and became the second female Supreme Court Justice in America’s history, all while being a mother. Her two children share Ginsburg’s determination and passion, and have themselves become strong members of society.
‘Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.’
Michelle Obama, the first black First Lady of the United States, is a powerful example of how hard work pays off. Told throughout her childhood that her grades weren’t good enough, Michelle didn’t stop, not even when she graduated Harvard with a law degree. While raising two daughters in the white house, Michelle fought for LGBT rights, children’s education and healthy eating, and much more.
‘The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.’
Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, already a mother to six children, and during her time caused a fair deal of commotion. She was outspoken when it came to the rights of African-Americans, and held her own regular press conferences, wrote a daily newspaper column, wrote a monthly magazine column, and hosted a weekly radio show. She was determined to be independant and to focus on her social work rather than her expected role as a wife.
‘Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.’
A woman who never stops, Hillary Clinton was the 67th United States Secretary of State, a United States Senator, the First Lady from 1933 to 2001, and the first female nominated to run for president by a major party. Always fighting for equality, Clinton resisted pressure to soften her remarks regarding women’s rights being human rights, and continued to push forward the women’s empowerment movement. Her relationship with her daughter, Chelsea, continues to be strong, with Chelsea showing the same passion for justice as her mother.
‘These were pioneering times. Learning was by “being" and "doing" on the job; as more people came on board, the more I became an "expert" and rose up through the ranks.’
Man wouldn’t have landed safely on the moon if it wasn’t for Margaret Hamilton. This amazing woman learnt computer engineering on the job, is the mother of the term ‘software engineering’, and was the lead Apollo flight software designer for Nasa. Busy writing the codes making the moon landing possible, Hamilton would bring her daughter Lauren to the lab with her, spending time with her and letting her sleep there while Hamilton worked.
‘Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.’
Diana, Princess of Wales, was known as ‘the people’s Princess’ due to her laid back and caring attitude. Though her time as a royal was troubled, Diana threw herself into her social work and was widely celebrated for her ongoing involvement with numerous charities, all while trying to give her two sons as normal upbringing as she could. She’d take them to theme parks, on buses, and even made them wait in line like everyone else in McDonald’s.
These incredible mums have all left their marks on history and altered the path for women everywhere, so let’s celebrate them and all of the other amazing women in our lives this March 8th by spreading love, thanks and empowerment! Hug your mum, your sister, your bestie and your nan; this day is all about the ladies!