11 Bold Women Who Changed the World

11 Bold Women Who Changed the World

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WATCH: 11 Underappreciated World-Changing Women

1. Sybil Ludington: The Female Paul Revere

On the night of April 26, 1777, 16-year-old Sybil Ludington rode nearly 40 miles to warn some 400 militiamen that the British troops were coming. Much like the ride of Paul Revere, Ludington's message helped Patriot leaders prepare for battle. But Ludington was less than half Revere's age and rode more than twice as far to carry her warning.

The daughter of militia leader Colonel Henry Ludington, Sybil leaped into action on that fateful day in 1777 when a rider came to the Ludington house in Dutchess County, New York to warn them about a British attack on nearby Danbury, Connecticut. With Col. Ludington’s men on leave and the messenger too tired to continue, it was Sybil who rode through the night gathering almost the whole regiment by daybreak.

While Paul Revere’s ride was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem, Ludington’s tributes have been on a somewhat smaller scale. She was honored with a postal stamp in 1975. And, it is said that Ludington even received the appreciation of a grateful general, when George Washington, himself, came to her home to say “thank you.”

2. Claudette Colvin: Teenaged Civil Rights Activist

Too tired to give up her seat on the bus home from high school, on March 2, 1955, Claudette Colvin refused to move for a white passenger—nine months before Rosa Parks would do the same. Later she said that she felt inspired by the memories of earlier pioneers to stand—or sit—her ground. As she told Newsweek, “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, ‘Sit down girl!’ I was glued to my seat.”

The 15-year-old Colvin was arrested for violating Montgomery, Alabama’s segregation laws, and her family feared for their safety as news of the incident spread. Colvin pled not guilty, and was given probation. While Colvin wasn’t selected by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to challenge segregation laws in the south due to her youth, she later became one of the four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, which ruled that the Montgomery segregated bus system was unconstitutional.

READ MORE: Six Unsung Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement

3. Jane Addams: Pioneer for Social Change

Suffragist, settlement house founder, peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jane Addams rejected marriage and motherhood in favor of a lifetime commitment to social reform.

Addams and her friend, Ellen Gates Starr, traveled to England in 1881, where they were inspired by the famed Toynbee Hall in London—a special facility to help the poor. In 1889, they moved into an old mansion in an immigrant neighborhood in Chicago, where Addams lived for the rest of her life.

Hull-House, as it was named, provided a place for immigrants of diverse communities to gather. Addams and other Hull-House residents sponsored legislation to abolish child labor, establish juvenile courts, limit the hours of working women, recognize labor unions, make school attendance compulsory and ensure safe working conditions in factories.

Addams wrote and lectured, openly opposing World War I. After the armistice, she founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, serving as president from 1919 until her death in 1935. Remembered as the mother of social work, Addams shaped social legislation that continues to impact the world today.

4. Hedy Lamarr: Invented Tech Behind Wi-Fi

Often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Film,” Hedy Lamarr was more than what met the eye. While Lamarr’s screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day, she was also an inventor with a sharp mind. Along with avant-garde composer George Anthiel, Lamarr developed a new method of “frequency hopping,” a technique for disguising radio transmissions by making the signal jump between different channels in a prearranged pattern.

Their “Secret Communication System” was created to combat Nazis during World War II, but the U.S. Navy ignored their findings. It wasn’t until years later that other inventors realized how groundbreaking the work was. If you use a smartphone today, you can thank Lamarr—her communication system was a precursor to wireless technologies including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

5. Rosalind Franklin: Revealed DNA's Structure

Rosalind Franklin knew she wanted to be a scientist at the age of 15. Enrolling in college, despite her father’s protests, she eventually received her doctorate in chemistry. She spent three years studying X-ray techniques, returning to England to lead a research team to study the structure of DNA–all at a time when women weren’t even allowed to eat in her college’s cafeteria.

Heading up another DNA research team was Maurice Wilkins, who ultimately betrayed Franklin when he showed scientists James Watson and Francis Crick Franklin’s ground-breaking X-ray image of DNA, known as Photo 51. Photo 51 enabled Watson, Crick and Wilkins to determine the structure of DNA.

Franklin went on to study the tobacco mosaic virus and polio, creating the foundation of modern virology, before passing away in 1958 at the age of 38. Watson, Crick and Wilkins would win the Nobel Prize in 1962. Franklin’s work was barely mentioned, despite her undeniable contribution.

6. Babe Didrikson Zaharias: First Female Sports Star

Mildred Didrikson Zaharias, known as “Babe,” played her way into national fame in 1932, when she entered the U.S. women’s track and field championship as the sole member of her team. Despite competing in team events alone, she won five events and the overall championship. Her next stop: The 1932 Los Angeles Olympics where she took home three medals—one silver and two gold.

She teed her way onto the golf scene in 1934, when she was the first woman to play in an all-male PGA Tour event. To this day, Babe holds the record for the longest winning streak in golf history (male or female), a feat she accomplished between 1946 and 1947. Have you heard of the Ladies Professional Golf Association? Well it was Babe, along with 12 other female golfers, who formed the pro tour in 1950. She wowed the crowd a final time in 1954, when she won the U.S. Women’s Open by a record margin of 12 strokes, just a year after being diagnosed with colon cancer. The Associated Press named her “Female Athlete of the Year” six times, and we cannot disagree.

7. Sojourner Truth: A Voice that Changed a Nation

Born into slavery in Swartekill, New York, Sojourner Truth escaped to freedom with her infant daughter in 1826. Six feet tall, with a powerful voice and driven by deep religious conviction, Truth was an ardent abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Among many of Truth’s legacies, the tone and substance of her language looms large. She stumped the country speaking on emancipation, politicians, political action, racism, women’s rights and segregation.

Perhaps her best known speech was the stirring “Ain’t I a Woman?” delivered at a women’s convention in Ohio in 1851. When Truth died in 1883, her funeral in Battle Creek, Michigan was the largest the town had ever seen, a testimony to how her heroic and courageous life touched so many around her.

8. Jeannette Rankin: Broke Barriers Before Women Could Vote

The first woman elected to Congress in 1916, Jeannette Rankin didn’t always know she wanted to be in politics. Her political interest began when she returned to school in 1910 at the University of Washington in Seattle, and joined the state suffrage organization. Over the next four years, she spoke and lobbied for women’s suffrage.

Ultimately serving two terms in the House, Rankin was the only member of Congress to vote against the U.S. participation in both World Wars. She also served as an officer for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and campaigned for maternal and child health care and to the regulation of hours and wages of women workers.

Continuing her pacifist traditions, Rankin helped form the “Jeannette Rankin Brigade,” a collection of some five thousand feminists, pacifists, students and others opposed to the Vietnam War.

9. Chien-Shiung Wu: Disproved a 30-year Old Law of Nature

Born in Liu Ho, China in 1912, Chien-Shiung Wu was recruited to Columbia University as part of the Manhattan Project. Working as senior scientist on the atom bomb in 1943, she conducted research on radiation detection and uranium enrichment.

In the mid-1950s, Wu was approached by two theoretical physicists, Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang. They wanted help disproving the law of conservation of parity (which stated that two mirrored physical systems, such as atoms, behave in identical ways and do not differentiate between left and right).

Using the chemical isotope cobalt-60, Wu showed that the laws of nature were not always symmetrical, disproving the law that had been accepted for more than 30 years. Despite Wu's key contribution to the finding, only Yang and Lee received the Nobel Prize in 1957 for the discovery.

10. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rae Rivera: LGBTQ Activists Who Dared to be Themselves

LGBTQ activists and drag queens prominent in New York City’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rae Rivera were instrumental members in the burgeoning gay-rights movement.

Johnson is said to have resisted arrest and thrown the first bottle (or brick or stone) at police during the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which sparked the national LGBTQ movement. Rivera, a civil rights activist, feminist and pacifist founded the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, and was also a participant int the Stonewall Riots.

Together, in the early 1970s, Johnson and Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), working with runaway or homeless transgender and drag queen women of color. Tragically, Johnson’s body was found in the Hudson River on July 6, 1992, shortly after the 1992 Pride March. Her death was originally ruled a suicide, but friends reported seeing her being harassed earlier that day, leading to suspicion surrounding her death. Rivera died in 2002.

Access hundreds of hours of historical video, commercial free, with HISTORY Vault. Start your free trial today.

Eve: First Woman Created by God

Eve was the first woman, created by God to be a companion and helper for Adam, the first man. Everything was perfect in the Garden of Eden, but when Eve believed the lies of Satan, she influenced Adam to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, breaking God's command.

Eve's lesson was costly. God can be trusted but Satan cannot. Whenever we choose our own selfish desires over those of God, bad consequences will follow.

11 Bold Women Who Changed the World - HISTORY

10 Queer Women Who Changed History

The world wouldn't be the same without these amazing women!

A full list of powerful and important queer women could go on for days—but in honor of Women's History Month—here is a list of 10 of our favorite pioneers! This list, in no particular order, includes the mothers of Black feminism and queer theory, as well as some modern entertainers who have shaped the way the United States views womanhood.

Audre Lorde

An amazing example of intersecting identities, Audre Lorde was an American writer and poet who identified strongly as a Black feminist lesbian, referring to herself as a “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” Lorde blazed a trail of Black female empowerment before passing away from breast cancer far too early in 1992. She must be remembered as a resilient civil rights activist who immortalized herself in her poetry.

Alice Walker
Author of The Color Purple, Alice Walker is another writer/activist. In addition to writing about injustice, she travels to speak internationally on the side of the poor, disenfranchised, and oppressed. Walker’s work as a queer woman of color has been vital to the civil rights movement.

Sylvia Rivera
Sylvia Rivera, a transgender activist, was one of the first women to throw a bottle at the Stonewall Inn raid in 1969. Rivera was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. A pioneer of transgender rights, she was once quoted saying “Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned.”

Ellen DeGeneres
One of our favorite gay ladies—Ellen DeGeneres is one of the country’s most beloved lesbians who has used her platform as a popular talk show host to be unapologetically out and proud. She continues to stand for LGBT rights next to her beautiful wife, Portia de Rossi, whom she wedded in California in 2008.

bell hooks
bell hooks (a stylized pen name for Gloria Jean Watkins) is the author of a multitude of books and articles on feminism, including Feminism Is for Everybody and Ain’t I a woman?: Black Women and Feminism. In her feminist theory work, bell hooks addresses race, class, and gender and has contributed greatly to the expansion of the ideas of intersectionality, queerness, and social activism.

Laverne Cox
Another entertainer, Laverne Cox has been one of the most prominent transgender actresses perhaps to this day. After gaining popularity for playing a transgender woman on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, she began to use her voice to speak out for the transgender community.

Edie Windsor
When Edie Windsor’s wife died (they were married in Canada), she sued the federal government for the over $360,000 she was made to pay in estate taxes. This led to one of the most significant marriage equality supreme court cases—the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act. When the Supreme Court justices ruled 5-4, Windsor’s case was the first time a same-sex marriage was recognized in the United States.

Frida Kahlo
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is an extremely important feminist figure. Though she was born in the early 1900’s, she was openly radical, spoke out about being disabled after a bus accident, and took both male and female lovers. Her many self-portraits comment on the female form and utilize traditional Mexican themes and colors.

Eve Sedgwick
Well known by any Women’s Studies major, Sedgwick is a matriarch of queer theory. She is perhaps best known for her work, the Epistemology of the Closet in which she explores the meaning of hetero and homosexuality and the how queerness exists as a separate, less restricting entity.

Ani DiFranco
With more than 20 albums, Ani DiFranco is a feminist music legend. DiFranco has been political and justice-oriented since the start of her career (she started her own record label at age 18). She has addressed social inequalities such as homophobia, racism, and reproductive rights in her music as well as in activism and political support.

Companies are making bold promises about greater diversity, but there's a long way to go

As protests sweep the nation, more and more companies are announcing initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion within their walls.

Whether these promises lead to tangible outcomes remains to be seen, especially since corporations are not required to disclose statistics on the composition of their workforce, which makes tracking broad progress difficult at best.

The data that has been collected through surveys paints a picture of just how far things need to change before companies are truly representative of the makeup of society at large, and before salaries are comparable across categories like gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Much attention has been given in recent years to the lack of diversity on corporate boards, which has forced companies to act on that front. All S&P 500 companies now have at least one woman on the board, and executive search firm Spencer Stuart found that last year, of the 432 new independent directors added to S&P 500 boards, 59% were women and minority men.

But statistics also show the lack of progress among the corporate workforce. According to data from human resources consulting company Mercer, 64% of workers in entry level positions are white. In the top executive ranks, however, 85% of positions are held by whites, demonstrating the promotion gap that minorities face. And women and minorities continue to under-earn white male colleagues, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Social values aside, there's a real financial risk for companies that fail to put their money where their mouth is. A lack of diversity in background and experience can stifle innovation and promote group think, while companies that don't prioritize inclusion may struggle to attract and retain top talent and younger workers. Additionally, ESG investing — when a company's environmental, social, and governance factors are considered alongside financial metrics — is growing in popularity. Experts say that following the coronavirus pandemic, the "S" element is set to become even more important, meaning that companies that don't prioritize diversity could see investors ditch their stock.

"Companies' consideration of diversity & inclusion is not only important on the basis of values it also has a material impact on their long-term performance," Barclays analysts said in a research report.

The pressure on corporations has built with widespread protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Andrew Behar, CEO of the shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, said we could be at a watershed moment that will ultimately force companies to begin disclosing more information. His group is among those pressuring companies to provide more transparency around issues including workforce composition, recruitment, retention, pay and promotion practices. He said that regulation could be next, including around CEO compensation, pointing to successful past campaigns by investors.

"We need information from companies about the outcomes they are achieving, not only the values they espouse, and it is our duty as shareholders to hold them accountable for inaction," said John Streur, CEO of Calvert Research and Management, the sustainable investing arm of Eaton Vance.

Companies are only as strong as their employees, and in the age of social media, one false step — or not stepping up to the plate, in this case — can wind up costing big. Or as Warren Buffett famously quipped: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."


you should add elbert einstiens wife.

Sofya Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya was a Russian mathematician who made noteworthy contributions to analysis, partial differential equations and mechanics. She was a pioneer for women in mathematics around the world – the first woman to obtain a doctorate in mathematics, the first woman appointed to a full professorship in northern Europe and one of the first women to work for a scientific journal as an editor.

Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (Russian) is the first and youngest woman to have flown in space with a solo mission on the Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. She orbited the Earth 48 times, spent almost three days in space, and remains the only woman to have been on a solo space mission.

i think u should add gingsberg. also hopper.

do more people who changed the world, and less people that are singers and actresses

1st is Lady Fatima, the daughter of Mohammad(pbuh).

Woman is the greatest form of God in the world, whether mother, wife or daughter, respecting women should be our first duty.

March 10, 1913 Harriet tubman

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The consequences of thalidomide

Thalidomide forced governments and medical authorities to review their pharmaceutical licencing policies. As a result, changes were made to the way drugs were marketed, tested and approved both in the UK and across the world.

One key change was that drugs intended for human use could no longer be approved purely on the basis of animal testing. And drug trials for substances marketed to pregnant women also had to provide evidence that they were safe for use in pregnancy.

The easy, over-the-counter access to thalidomide prompted many countries to improve their classification and control of medicines. In the UK the 1968 Medicines Act, passed as a result of the thalidomide scandal, made distinctions between prescription drugs, drugs only available in pharmacies and drugs available for general sale.

The Yellow Card Scheme was set up for doctors to share previously unknown side effects of medications they prescribed. The Scheme has now widened so anyone can report a side effect.

In the UK thalidomide is only prescribed by a doctor under strict controls. Women taking thalidomide are required to use two forms of birth control and regular pregnancy tests. Men are required to use contraception when taking thalidomide. People who are prescribed thalidomide undergo counselling and are talked through the risks.


Supporters gather for a hike from New York City to Washington, DC, to promote women's suffrage, Mar. 3, 1913. Library of Congress.

Here are a few links to some of the articles about women in history you’ll find on HistoryNet and our partner sites, ArmchairGeneral. and GreatHistory.

Irena Sendler&rsquos story demonstrates how women in history are overlooked. A social worker in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation, Ms. Sendler saved the lives of over 2,500 children by convincing their parents that relocation were their best chances for living. She recorded the children&rsquos names on bits of paper, which she then placed in jars and buried in her fruit garden. As part of the Zegota, the Underground Railroad for Jews in Warsaw, she smuggled children out of the city in any way she could, even in coffins and body bags. But no good deed goes unpunished, and she was twice imprisoned, first by the Nazis, then later by Communist Poland. Her gift to humanity was recognized by four Kansian schoolgirls who wrote a play, Life in a Jar, to honor her work. Years later the international stage would recognize her heroism through a Nobel Peace nomination in 2007. Alas, global warming was more fashionable that year, and it was awarded to Al Gore.

Women of the Wild West were badass. They braved the untamed frontier, encountering hostile climates, landscapes, men, and beasts. I&rsquom pretty sure they braved wearing dresses, although I&rsquom less sure about heels.

Calamity Jane. Library of Congress.

The case of Barbara Jones, who with her ten sons and husband moved to the New Mexico territory, is one of extraordinary pragmatism. When one of her son&rsquos eyelids was almost severed on account of his face meeting with some broken glass, she whipped out her sewing kit and stitched him up. Then kissed it better and sent him on his way, I&rsquom sure.

The oldest profession found the West fertile hunting grounds, and while the ladies of the night may not have necessarily lived long, they did prosper.

Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane are known as the rootin&rsquo tootin&rsquo women of the West. The fact is, while Oakley was a sure shot, she retired to her quiet life in Ohio when not traveling with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. Ms. Calamity, on the other hand, was a hard-drinkin&rsquo, cussin&rsquo, brazen sort. Just the type to fit in with the Wild West.

Imagine being so famous and important you have an era named after you. You&rsquod either have to be incredibly lucky or really good. Queen Elizabeth I was probably both.

This British monarch reigned over the England of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and defeat of Spanish Armada, but questions of her legitimate claim to the throne plagued her accession. In response, she created the persona of Queen Elizabeth, a woman who said little and made few strong alliances. She was masterful at keeping her French and Spanish enemies at bay. She even kept the pope guessing, who was very interested to see if Elizabeth was going to exercise the Protestant option and turn England into a state of heretics.

What Elizabeth was best at, however, was not marrying. She had watched her father Henry VII kill a couple of his wives (including her mother Anne Boleyn) and psychologically torture the others. Marrying a king from outside England would mean England was now being controlled by a foreign power. And marrying a mere English nobleman, well, that was out of the question. She stayed single to retain her power as Queen. Interesting.

Great History has its own Women’s History category filled with short, informative articles.

26c. Women's Rights

Amelia Bloomer's magazine, The Lily advocated a new outfit for women, consisting of a loose top, long pantaloons, and a knee-length dress. While some reformers adopted the costume, many were afraid that it would bring riducule to the cause and began wearing more traditional clothes by the 1850s.

Although women had many moral obligations and duties in the home, church and community, they had few political and legal rights in the new republic. When Abigail Adams reminded her husband John during the Constitutional Convention to " Remember the Ladies !" her warning went unheeded. Women were pushed to the sidelines as dependents of men, without the power to bring suit, make contracts, own property, or vote. During the era of the " cult of domesticity ," a woman was seen merely as a way of enhancing the social status of her husband. By the 1830s and 40s, however, the climate began to change when a number of bold, outspoken women championed diverse social reforms of prostitution, capital punishment, prisons, war, alcohol, and, most significantly, slavery.

Activists began to question women's subservience to men and called for rallying around the abolitionist movement as a way of calling attention to all human rights. Two influential Southern sisters, Angelina and Sarah Grimke , called for women to "participate in the freeing and educating of slaves."

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's daughter kept a scrapbook of her mother's activities with the women's rights movement, now housed at the Library of Congress.

Harriet Wilson became the first African-American to publish a novel sounding the theme of racism. The heart and voice of the movement, nevertheless, was in New England. Lucretia Mott , an educated Bostonian, was one of the most powerful advocates of reform, who acted as a bridge between the feminist and the abolitionist movement and endured fierce criticism wherever she spoke. Sarah Margaret Fuller wrote Women in the Nineteenth Century , the first mature consideration of feminism and edited The Dial for the Transcendental Club.

Around 1840 the abolitionist movement was split over the acceptance of female speakers and officers. Ultimately snubbed as a delegate to a World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, Elizabeth Cady Stanton returned to America in 1848 and organized the first convention for women's rights in Seneca Falls, New York. Under the leadership of Stanton, Mott, and Susan B. Anthony , the convention demanded improved laws regarding child custody, divorce, and property rights. They argued that women deserved equal wages and career opportunities in law, medicine, education and the ministry. First and foremost among their demands was suffrage &mdash the right to vote. The women's rights movement in America had begun in earnest. Amelia Bloomer began publishing The Lily , which also advocated "the emancipation of women from temperance, intemperance, injustice, prejudice, and bigotry." She also advocated the wearing of pantaloons for women that would allow for greater mobility than the expected Victorian costume &mdash now these garments are called " bloomers ."

Sarah Grimke and her sister Angelina Grimke Weld came from a slaveholding family in South Carolina. Their involvement in the abolitionist movement eventually lead to their involvement in the struggle for women's rights.

As with the Civil War, the seeds of the quest for women's rights were sown in the Declaration of Independence, claiming that "all men are created equal." Sarah Grimke wrote in 1837 that "men and women were created equal . whatever is right for men to do is right for women." That language was mirrored in the Seneca Falls Declaration . Thus, in this era of reform and renewal women realized that if they were going to push for equality, they needed to ignore criticism and what was then considered acceptable social behavior. The new republic's experiment in government was going to need all of its citizens to have "every path laid open" to them. However, the ardent feminists discovered that many people felt women neither should nor could be equal to men. The nation soon became distracted by sectional tension and the climate for reform evaporated. This important struggle would continue for many generations to come.

Connie Mark (1923 – 2007)

In 1943, at the age of 19, Mark joined the British Army. She served in Jamaica as part of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) for 10 years before getting married and moving to Britain in 1954. She quickly became a trailblazer within the black British community, advocating for the significant role of women in the war. Mark was also a Chair of the Friends of Mary Seacole Organisation and an active member of the West Indian Ex-Servicemen and Women’s Association.

11 Powerful Goddesses From Around The World To Invoke In Your Life

Goddesses, or female representations of the divine, can be found in religious traditions the world over. They hold places of importance in Hinduism, Buddhism, paganism and the ancient cultures of Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Americas and more. In their ancient stories, these goddesses embody a mixture of warriors, mothers, magicians and lovers.

Every goddess has her own unique qualities, talents and associated rituals. Over the centuries -- and to this day -- people have conducted rituals to specific goddesses when they want to generate certain results in their lives. Having trouble in relationships? Try calling on Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Is money your concern? Consider making an offering to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth.

There are dozens of different goddesses from cultures around the world, but here are 11 powerful deities to consider invoking in your life:

Watch the video: 15 WOMEN That CHANGED THE WORLD!