7

of the Most Influential Women in History ...

Isn’t it great to sometimes look back on the wonderful things women have done in the past? Nowadays, we’re all trying to figure out how to smash through that glass ceiling, but women in history must have experienced similar situations.

Still, they followed their dreams and succeeded with pride. How? By speaking up and standing up for themselves. Because if they didn’t, who else would do it for them? These are only 7 of the most influential women in history.

1. Fashion Icon Coco Chanel

Born in 1883 and raised in an orphanage due to her mother’s death, Coco Chanel was not expected to be the fashion icon that she turned out to be.

In 1910, Chanel opened her first shop on Paris’ Rue Cambon, selling only hats, but when she opened stores in Beauville and Biarritz, she began designing clothes.

Chanel’s signature styles, such as the little black dress, the collarless jacket and the fitted skirt, were all brought to life in the 1920s, and her designs are considered as one of the most influential things women have done in fashion.

After having to close down her stores in the 1930s due to the depression, she returned with triumph at the age of 70. Chanel once said, “Luxury must be comfortable. Otherwise it’s not luxury.”

2. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

As the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, she changed the role of the first lady through her participation in American politics. When her husband became president in the 1930s, she knew that staying in the background was not for her.

She worked on behalf of the League of Women Voters, and spoke out about women’s issues, child’s rights and human rights. Additionally, she stood against racial discrimination, helped the country’s poor and visited the U.S. troops abroad during World War II.

While her public role was heavily criticized by some, others praised her for her active participation in politics. Today, she is considered as a leader of women’s and civil rights.

3. Beauty Icon Helena Rubinstein

This Polish entrepreneur was born in 1870 and started a company in Australia, distributing a beauty crème that her mother had used. But Rubinstein wanted more.

She founded a beauty salon and manufactured cosmetics, and opened salons in cities like London and Paris. When she moved to America during World War I, her beauty empire grew into a world-renowned brand that was one of the first of its kind.

Rubinstein was not only a successful entrepreneur; she was also a philanthropist, and founded the Helena Rubinstein Foundation in 1953 to support organizations for children’s health.

4. Humanitarian Mother Teresa

Although it’s disputed, it is believed that Mother Teresa was born in August 1910 in Macedonia.

Her humanitarian character wasn’t strange in her family, as her mother once told her, “Don’t eat a single mouthful without sharing it with others.” At the age of 19, Mother Teresa traveled to India, where she eventually taught geography and history at the Saint Mary’s High School for Girls, but in 1946, she received a new calling to help the poorest and sickest people in this world.

After lobbying for nearly a year and a half, Mother Teresa took off to Calcutta’s slums, wearing a blue and white sari that she would always wear in public. Later in her life, she expanded her actions internationally and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

5. Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks

The refusal to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama raised a city-wide boycott.

Rosa Parks, seamstress at a department store, was on her way home when the bus driver asked her to stand up for a white passenger. Parks answered, “No.

I don’t think I should have to stand up.” The fact that Parks was arrested for her deed did not matter to her, as she said she was tired of giving in.

The 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott is one of the largest and most successful mass movements again racial segregation in history and the city had no choice but to lift the law requiring segregation in public buses.

6. Teen Writer and Holocaust Victim Anne Frank

Anne Frank was born in a middle-class Jewish family in Germany, but moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in the 1930s.

Frank attended school and lived a relatively normal childhood, until 1940. After fighting for only a few days during the German invasion, the Dutch surrendered and the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands began.

On June 12, 1942, Frank’s parents gifted her a red checkered diary for her birthday, and Frank’s journaling began. Only a month later, the family went into hiding, never once stepping outside for a period of two years.

Frank wrote extensive stories in her diary every day. In August 1944, the family was captured by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp in Poland.

After months of hard labor and being separated from her family, Frank died of typhus in March 1945, just weeks before Russian soldiers liberated the camp.

7. Aviator Amelia Earhart

A short plane ride at a Long Beach air show in 1920 changed Amelia Earhart’s life. By working a variety of jobs, she saved enough money and she immersed herself into learning how to fly.

Only a year later, she purchased a second-hand Kinner Airster biplane and took it to 14,000 feet in October 1922. Amelia Earhart became the 16th woman to receive a pilot license.

By investing money in the Dennison Airport in Massachusetts, being a sales representative for Kinner airplanes and by writing articles about flying for the newspaper, Earhart developed a following and she was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

But this wasn’t enough. In 1937, Earhart took off to fly around the world, but on July 3, after a series of problems, Earhart had her last communication through her radio. Earhart was officially declared dead in 1939.

In each era, women have become successful by believing in themselves, never giving up, despite the criticism they receive. Today, the level of criticism may even be more severe, as technology has amplified the ability to criticize one another more easily and publicly.

But if these women could pursue their dreams back then, why can’t we now? These women are not the only ones who can be an inspiration for your future journeys, as there are and have been many more out there. Who do you think is an inspiring woman?

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