Some women are exceptional. Some have changed the world. Most are everyday women who have passed under the radar without fanfare.
In the build up to International Women’s Day, we celebrate the unsung heroes – women who’ve changed the world that you’ve never heard of.
As the mother of a baby girl, Women’s Day is especially pertinent for me this year. I have high hopes my daughter will grow up in a world where women continue to achieve great things and are celebrated for it.
But while the media applauds female CEOs and celebrities, what about the women who’ve made great strides and don’t have their own PR team?
I want my daughter to achieve great things in her own way, in her own world and not to define her success but the amount of media coverage she receives.
As such, here are some women history has glossed over we think deserve a shout out:
She was constantly looking at the world and thinking: How could that be fixed? How could that be improved?
She created a “frequency-hopping spread-spectrum” system – a device to protect Allied radio communications from being intercepted during the Second World War.
Although she was granted a patent for the design, she wasn’t taken seriously. And boy was that a mistake. The same technology now underpins both wifi and mobile phones.
“Being a female became a barrier between me and the freedom for which I yearned”.
Living in Egypt in the late 19th century, Sha’arawi was confined for much of her time to the house, with her movements outside severely restricted. She became an advocate for women and opened one of the first schools for girls that taught academic subjects, as opposed to ‘female’ subjects like sewing, typing or midwifery.
Following the death of her husband, Sha’arawi decided to remove her veil in public, paving the way for others to be empowered and given the choice about whether or not they wanted to wear the veil.
“Software eventually and necessarily gained the same respect as any other discipline”.
The founder of software engineering, Hamilton fought to bring software engineering legitimacy. Considered an “ongoing joke” by many she put everyone to shame when she joined the NASA Apollo 11 mission, developing software that put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969.
Margaret Hamilton helped pave the way for an industry—now worth well over a trillion dollars—to change the world forever.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair”
Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the US Congress in 1968. Her motto and title of her autobiography—Unbossed and Unbought—illustrated her outspoken advocacy for women and minorities during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
She once described herself as “double handicapped”, being both black and female. Of her legacy, Chisholm said, “I want to be remembered as a woman … who dared to be a catalyst of change.”
Which women in your lives have changed your world? We’d love to hear from you.
Email us your thoughts.