10 Women Whose Stories Prove That Giving Up Is Never an Option
Women have struggled for centuries to achieve equality in a world that makes it difficult for them. And that doesn’t hold true just for the workplace, but basically for every single space that we use in our modern society. But if things seem to be improving today, it’s only because this fight has not been fought just by a few. The work, effort, and courage of some women have marked a before and after in the struggle for equality and it has not gone unnoticed: not only have these people achieved fundamental changes that we see in today’s society, but they’ve inspired entire generations to keep going until discrimination is nothing more than a bad memory.
Today at Bright Side, we’d like to bring awareness to everyone by making a compilation of some of the most inspiring and smart women the world has had the chance to meet. Clearly, these are nothing but a few examples of the talent that we’ve seen over the centuries, and we’re very eager to see more.
1. Hedy Lamarr
Most of us know Hedy Lamarr for her successful career as an actress. However, we shouldn’t forget that this woman was also a great inventor. Lamarr designed an aircraft for Howard Hugues that flew much faster than those that existed back in the day. She also developed a system that would later allow the creation of surveillance drones, a tablet that could be dropped in water to instantly make a cola drink, and the first version of the spread spectrum that was key in the creation of WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS as we use them today.
Despite the fact that she was often underestimated just because she was a woman (and a beautiful actress) she never let anyone tell her that looks were better than brains and continued to invent new things.
2. Valentina Tereshkova
This Russian cosmonaut and engineer was the first woman to travel to space. Selected from hundreds of applicants, Tereshkova was chosen to pilot the Vostok 6, which took off on June 16, 1963. Despite her humble origins and having started her education at a late age, she was determined to pursue her dreams, even if that meant completing it remotely. Something else that can be said about Tereshkova is that she kept on fighting for what she wanted, no matter what.
3. Fiona Kolbinger
Fiona Kolbinger, a professional physician and amateur cyclist, was the first woman to win the Transcontinental Race in 2019. Given her background, no one really expected her to win. However, this determined woman ended up finishing the race in 10 days, 2 hours, and 48 minutes, which was 6 hours ahead of the first runner-up.
4. Fei-Fei Li
Fei-Fei Li was born in Beijing in 1976. During her teenage years, she immigrated with her family to the United States. In 1999, she graduated from Princeton University with a degree in physics, and later, in 2005, she obtained a doctorate in telecommunications engineering from the California Institute of Technology.
Li Fei-Fei started working as a professor. From 2013 to 2018, she became the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, a time when the institution registered its greatest growth thanks to her incredible work. She currently holds the position of co-director at the very same center of research. She also serves as co-founder of a non-profit association called AI4ALL, which works for inclusion and diversity in the world of artificial intelligence.
This woman is known as the guru of artificial intelligence.
5. Djamila Ribeiro
This Brazilian journalist and philosopher is known for being part of the feminist movement, and more specifically, the Afro-Brazilian women’s movement. She was appointed in 2016 as Sao Paulo’s Deputy Secretary of Human Rights and in addition to being a teacher and activist, she is the founder of the Sueli Carneiro’s Seal initiative, which publishes works by black writers at a low cost. This is an example of yet another exceptional woman who inspires us with her accomplishments.
6. Peggy Whitson
Peggy Whitson is a biochemist who grew up on a small farm located near an Iowa town. She was a former NASA chief astronaut, and in 2017, she became the first female astronaut to command the International Space Station, twice. 2017 was a major year for her as well since she became NASA’s longest-serving astronaut in space, with over 534 days spent outside our planet.
7. Beatrice Fihn
Beatrice Fihn is a Swedish lawyer and active campaigner for the abolition of the use of nuclear weapons worldwide. She has become the director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and in 2017, she was a Nobel Peace Prize winner along with Setsuko Thurlow (a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing).
8. Helen Keller
Helen Keller became deaf and blind at the very young age of 19 months due to a serious illness. Later on, she had to accept her condition, little by little, but never without great effort.
This woman became the first deafblind person to obtain a university degree in the arts — but she didn’t stop there. She later became a published writer, collaborated with the American Foundation for the Blind, and promoted and worked actively to fight for women’s suffrage and workers’ rights.
Keller showed us that even in the particular and challenging times she lived in, making sure that people with different abilities could live a decent life was possible. She was an example of what it means to persevere and always work to improve oneself.
9. Clara Campoamor
Clara Campoamor was one of the most important figures involved in the movement for women’s rights in Spain. She was also the second woman to become a member of the Bar Association after graduating with a degree in law in just 2 years. Campoamor became a fundamental and highly relevant figure in the fight for women’s equality.
10. Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe is a professional soccer player and an active advocate for women’s rights and the LGBTQIA+ collective. Winner of the Ballon d’Or Féminin and the Golden Boot of the 2019 World Cup, she is also an ambassador for Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization that seeks to create equal opportunities to access professional sports for everyone, regardless of their gender.
What do you think of these great women? Have you been inspired by any of this work? Let us know if you identify with them and if we missed any women on the list that you’d like to see!