One often hears about men who’ve made their mark by doing great and wonderful things. Yet, men aren’t the only ones capable of attaining success, leading revolutions, or rising to power for the good of all. There are plenty of women who’ve also achieved such feats, and they deserve to be commemorated. So which ladies have left a lasting impression on the world? To start you off, here are ten of the most famous women in history.
1. Virgin MaryStatues in her image are everywhere. Millions seek her intercession for God to hear their prayers. National holidays are declared in her honor. There’s no doubt that the mother of Christ is one of the most famous women in history as well as Christianity’s most central figures. Today, Virgin Mary is the epitome of unquestioning faith, endless devotion, and wholehearted virtuosity.
2. Mother TheresaWhile her real name, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, doesn’t ring a bell for most people, Mother Teresa is known throughout the world for her charitable works. Only a few ladies on this planet can hold a candle to this tiny, seemingly frail, yet passionate and dedicated nun who tops the list of great women in history. She was the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, which started with only 13 members, and inspired scores of international organizations worldwide to follow in her footsteps in helping the poor and the sick. She was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the hospice she set up in the year 1979 for the destitute who were near the end of their lives. Even though she joined her creator in the year 1997, she remains alive in the personas of the men and women who have chosen to continue the work she started.
3. Joan of ArcAlthough her life was cut short when she was just 19 years old, Joan of Arc accomplished a great number of things that others wouldn’t have been able to do despite growing to a ripe, old age. She was already a notable leader in the French army at 17 years old as well as a courageous warrior and a brilliant strategist at 18 years old. When she reached the last year of her life, she was accused of heresy and burnt alive. Twenty five years later, she was proclaimed innocent and was hailed as a martyr. In the year 1920, she became a saint.
4. Rosa ParksRosa Parks was another one of the most influential women in history. As a civil rights activist who fought for her rights as an African American, Rosa Park’s stance and actions against racial discrimination sparked a movement so large that it had lasting effects on the society. In fact, that same movement brought Martin Luther King, Jr. into the frontlines of the civil rights movement. Later proclaimed as the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement” by the US Congress, Rosa Parks truly deserved the honor to lie in state at the US Capitol Rotunda when she departed this world. She was the first woman ever, as well as the second African American, to be given that honor.
5. Marie CurieMarie Curie is also one of the most important women in history, especially in the field of science. She was born in Poland in the year 1867, yet her mind and her ideas went beyond the limits of her time. She was the first ever to dabble in the area of radioactivity, which is a term she herself came up with. Truly brilliant in the fields of chemistry and physics, Marie Curie was not only the first ever female recipient of the Nobel Prize, but was also the only lady in history to garner two of the prestigious award. Her discoveries and research in her chosen areas of study have definitely contributed heaps to what science is today.
6. Florence NightingaleEven if you’re not familiar with the people who’ve made huge contributions in the field of modern nursing, you’ve probably heard about Florence Nightingale. Also known as “The Lady with the Lamp,” she dedicated her life to caring for patients with unwavering passion, kindness, and commitment. Her legacy in the form of the Nightingale School of Nursing continues to be a godsend today and remains one of the shining examples of how a person can do so much to help others. Best known for her significant contributions during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale and her companions did all they could to improve the soldiers’ chances of living.
7. Eleanor RooseveltWhen it comes to the most influential women in history, no one can ever neglect to mention Eleanor Roosevelt. Although she was a part of the Senate and did a lot of charity work way before moving into the White House, Eleanor Roosevelt became even more involved in 1933 when she became first lady. As opposed to most first ladies, her duties went beyond being hostess to the most influential and powerful people in the world. Aside from being her husband’s eyes and ears at that time, she used her station to push for laws that would protect children, women, and racial minorities. Even after the death or her husband in 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt continued her work that will forever be held as a standard for present and future first ladies to live up to.
8. Queen Elizabeth IAt a time when women were expected to marry, with no exceptions, and a monarch was obliged to provide an heir, Queen Elizabeth I chose not to conform to the norms. Throughout her entire life, she remained single. In spite of this “shortcoming,” she was considered a truly great leader, and her reign was one of England’s most successful. Though many view her as an evil lady, what with her executing the Scots’ queen, her very own cousin, one thing remains clear to most people: with Queen Elizabeth I on the throne, the entirety of England flourished.
9. Oprah WinfreyEveryone who is currently alive probably knows who Oprah Winfrey is. She is that well-recognized African-American woman whom you see when you turn on your television set and tune in to the world’s most loved talk show. Not only is she a woman who inspires and motivates, but she is also a philanthropist who is willing to go the extra mile for those who desperately need assistance.
10. Mata HariA very gorgeous woman of Dutch origin, Mata Hari lived her life as a courtesan and an exotic dancer. Her somewhat controversial role doesn’t stop there, as she was thought to be a double agent during the First World War. In the year 1917, she was proclaimed guilty and was punished. Even to this day, no one really knows for sure if she spied for both Germany and France. One thing is clear, though. The name Mata Hari will live in the minds of men and women for centuries to come.
If you look back in history, you’ll find that there are plenty of other women whose names are worth remembering. Yet, none can compare to the popularity and commendable works left by these ten most famous women in history.