Whether they made history for breaking records, overcoming adversity, for making monumental steps in politics, feminism or even fashion we believe these women of the world should be celebrated for the incredible triumphs they achieved in their lifetimes.
We take a look at 17 women who have made the world a better place. Whether it is making us more glamorous and chic (thanks Coco Chanel!) or opening our eyes to human atrocities at a great personal cost as Malala Yousafzai has, there’s plenty to celebrate on this very special of days.
1997 – Present
Malala was just 15-years-old when she was shot by a Taliban gunman and left for dead. She has since become a human rights activist and became the youngest recipient to date of the Nobel Peace Prize at 17.
1883 – 1971
French fashion designer Coco Chanel was the daughter of a laundrywoman and a market stall holder. When her mother died she was sent to an orphanage where she learned the trade of a seamstress. Before becoming one of the most iconic designers of all time she worked as a club singer and a hat maker.
Princess Diana of Wales
1961 – 1997
The much loved British princess dedicated an enormous amount of her life to charity and even led a Nobel Peace Prize winning campaign to ban landmines.
1858 – 1928
Emmeline Pankhurst paved the way for feminism, fighting for women’s rights throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century. She formed the suffragettes and helped earn women the right to vote.
1954 – Present
She’s worth a reported $2.7 billion dollars but Oprah Winfrey didn’t grow up with money. She was born to her poor, single mother in Mississippi but went on to build a talk show and media empire.
1925 – 2013
The ‘Iron Lady’ was a grocer’s daughter who went on to become Britain’s first – and to date only – female Prime Minister in 1979. She is the country’s fifth longest serving leader.
1951 – Present
The American film director made history by becoming the first women to win an Academy Award in 2010 for Best Director for her movie ‘The Hurt Locker’.
1964 – Present
Long before she lived in the White House as a First Lady, Michelle Obama lived in a one-bedroom apartment on the south side of Chicago where she was raised. She excelled in academia and graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School before meeting her husband, Barack Obama. During her years as America’s first lady she became a role model for women and led numerous important movements including ‘Let’s Move!’ battling childhood obesity.
1820 – 1910
Dubbed ‘The Lady With the Lamp’ dedicated Florence Nightingale nursed wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. She gave the profession a favourable reputation and was credited for being the founder of modern nursing.
1934 – Present
Welsh 60’s fashion designer Mary Quant was instrumental in London’s Mod fashion movement. She was credited for creating the mini-skirt and hot pants and went on to become a Dame.
1956 – Present
Her work as a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helped determined what caused the hole in the ozone layer.
1937 – Present
In 1963 Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to go to space.
Billie Jean King
1943 – Present
The US tennis champ won no fewer than 20 Wimbledon titles and 39 Grand Slams and famously fought for equal prize money for male and female tennis players. She won $100,000 in prize money after beating tennis ace Bobby Riggs in 1973 after he taunted her by saying men were better athletes than women. The match was branded the “Battle of the Sexes”.
1897 – 1939
This incredible women became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932. One year later she became the first pilot to fly solo to from Hawaii to California. She sadly died when she embarked on her lifelong dream to fly around the world. Her plane disappeared and she was never seen again.
1917 – 1984
Indira Gandhi paved the way for democracy in India where she served as Prime Minister for 15 years. She was assassinated in 1984.
1929 – 1945
Holocaust victim Anne Frank’s eye-opening diaries were only published after she died in a concentration camp at just 15-years-old. The young Jewish girl had penned them while hiding from the Germans for two years in Amsterdam. ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ has become one of the world’s most read books.
1929 – 1993
Audrey Hepburn wasn’t just a pretty face and a great actress, she was a UNICEF ambassador too. The star used her fame for good and served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fun from 1998 until her death in 1993.
Who is your favourite inspiring woman? Whether it’s your own mother, a friend or someone in the public eye let us know! Post a photo and an outline of why you love that woman with the hashtag #LumityStrongWomen on social media. (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter).