7 Courageous Women Who Are Changing the World Right Now
We all admire the first Nobel Prize winner Maria Skłodowska-Curie, the “mother” of programming Grace Hopper, the initiator of the civil rights movement Rosa Lee Parks, mathematician Ada Lovelace, and other great ladies. But in modern times, there are also women who are changing history.
Bright Side wants to tell you about them — strong, brave, and kind women whose names will definitely not be forgotten even in 100 years from now.
1. Nadia Murad
This is a 26-year-old girl won the Nobel Peace Prize last year. She was given this prestigious award for informing the public about the terrible situation of Yazidi women in Iraq. Unfortunately, Nadia Murad gained this information from her own experience. At the age of 21, she got into ISIS and was a sex slave there. After 3 months of living in hell, she managed to miraculously escape. Together with other refugees, she made it to Germany, where she talked about her experience at the UN, wrote a book, and started her civil rights journey.
Nadia decided to do everything she could in order to stop the suffering of other women in her country. Murad said, “The terrorists would’ve never imagined that some Yazidi girl would be brave enough to tell the entire world about the details of what they do to us. We challenge them, we don’t let their crimes remain a secret. Every time I tell my story, I feel like I deprive the terrorists of some of their power.”
2. Melinda Gates
She’s a philanthropist, a businesswoman, and Bill Gates’ wife. Together with her husband, she set up a charity foundation which is now one of the biggest foundations in the world. Melinda and her husband have donated over $40 billion to improving healthcare and overcoming famine in poor countries, saving the environment, fighting serious diseases, and other important projects.
Recently, Melinda Gates’ priority has become helping women around the world. She talks about family planning, birth control, and the right to an education. She also supports women’s business and acts as an example of an active person who cares about others. “I think that independent women will change our world,” says Melinda.
3. Malala Yousafzai
The entire world started talking about Malala Yousafzai when this Pakistani girl was only 11 years old. At the time, she had a blog where she described her life living under the Taliban regime and talked about the limited access to education in her country. She was very brave for her age and her criticism wasn’t tolerated very well by the followers of the radical Islamic movement. In 2012, they wanted to kill Malala Yousafzai. The Taliban forced their way onto her school bus and yelled, “Who is Malala?” “I am Malala!” she answered fearlessly and they shot her in the head. She will say later, “That day, all my fears died.”
Doctors saved Malala and when she recovered, she was able to tell her story to the UN. Yousafzai noticed that there are 57 million children in the world (31 million girls) who don’t go to school and she is going to do all she can in order to change this. Because the issue of education in developing countries was discussed again, Malala got the Nobel Peace Prize.
4. Nasrin Sotoudeh
This Iranian lawyer who has protected activists from the opposition has raised the question of equal rights for men and women in her country, while revealing the political crimes that are happening. In 2018, Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. She was accused of a conspiracy against national security, spreading propaganda, violating the public order, and also giving a public speech without a hijab.
Now she is in jail and even though the entire world understands than Nasron suffered because of her bold words about freedom and because she was protecting the civil rights of women in her country, the only organization that can save her is the UN. By the spring of 2019, the high commissioner for human rights had already visited Iran, so there is hope that Sotoudeh will be freed.
5. Oprah Winfrey
Many people know Oprah Winfrey as the most prominent TV anchor from the US, but the first black woman billionaire in history also deserves to be talked about as one of the most generous celebrities.
The school that Oprah Winfrey opened in South Africa has been functioning for several years now. Winfrey dreams about a future where girls from poor countries have a chance to study. She visits the school for graduation parties and she helps the most talented kids to enter the leading colleges in the world. She has spent over $400 million on education development. And she is not going to stop.
6. Leymah Roberta Gbowee
She is an activist and peacekeeper from Liberia who is convinced that only mothers can truly change the world. During the civil war in her country, she organized a women’s peace movement. They started protesting and addressed the president, “In the past we were silent, but after being killed, raped, dehumanized, and infected with diseases, and watching our children and families destroyed, war has taught us that the future lies in saying NO to violence and YES to peace! We will not relent until peace prevails.”
The movement of Gbowee was one of the main factors which caused the Liberian civil war to stop. And the first female president in the history of Africa has come into power.
In 2011, Leymah Roberta Gbowee received the Nobel Peace Prize for the non-violent fight for women’s rights. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (the above-mentioned president of Liberia) also got the Prize along with Tawakkol Karman from Yemen, who is called the mother of revolution in her country.
7. Greta Thunberg
One year ago, this girl refused to go to school on Fridays and instead, she started a protest in front of the Swedish Parliament building. Greta asked people to pay more attention to climate change and to do more to keep the planet safe. So, the entire world joined Thunberg.
Now, millions of school students (and adults) support her Fridays for Future movement and repeat the simple, but wise, words that the girl said, “If we don’t protest today, we won’t have a tomorrow.”
In just one year, Greta has already received a lot of awards (it’s very likely that she’ll get the Nobel Prize), has given a TED talk and a speech in the US, and has become one of the most prominent eco-activists of today.
Let’s continue this list in the comment section. Tell us about the women who are making this planet a better place.
Preview photo credit Khademian Farzaneh/ABACA/EAST NEWS