GirlSpring Intern Purnima Priyadarsini biographies of inspiring women from around the globe.
A lady through her choices…
Her hijab was a duty for her religion, but her choice to wear it showed her patriotism for her nation. For the first woman to ever head a Muslim majority country, there was more to be had than just struggle. The community that asks for women to cover their faces was the same that chose a woman’s face as their representative to the world. She was dauntless and her weapon was valor. Not ready to be a product of the conditions around her, she emerged as a new beginning for Pakistan. As a Harvard and Oxford graduate with friends and family like a supporting backbone, she had all the requirements for a life of absolute perfection. But with Pakistan in her blood, she had to make a decision for herself and her people. She stood by her father’s side during his unfair trial and execution, and was later arrested and imprisoned for a year along with her mother. But she still declined to leave Pakistan, and her fight eventually took her to the position of prime minister of Pakistan. She was re-elected after a gap of two years, but only lived for two more years after that. She became a martyr when she was shot while greeting people at one of her rallies.
Want a deep understanding of feminism? Turn to the life history of Virginia Woolf. As the 7thof 8 children she was equally loved and supported by both her parents. Her experience of sexual abuse by one of her stepbrothers, and her subsequent mental breakdown, provided her a terrible childhood. She was the perfect woman; always aware of the duties of womanhood, but able to think independently from the crowd. Though she was fighting with serious mental health issues like bipolar disorder, which was exacerbated every single day, she still focused on her writing and bringing empowerment to the women the Great Britain. Her story reveals one truth: you don’t need any exceptional power to bring about great change in a situation. Rather, you yourself are a power parallel to the whole universe. All you need is determination and focus on the work you put your soul into. To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, and essays like ‘A Room of One’s Own’ are some of her works that show the importance of a woman’s existence in society, and the affects her presence can have on a situation. Her premature death by drowning was a consequence of her struggle with mental illness.
Her infant son was tied to her while she fought on the battlefield against the British raj. He was a witness to the valor and patriotism contained inside the soul of this lady. She experienced more freedom during her childhood than any other girl of the time. In the heavily oppressive society of India, she had more opportunities than many could even dream of having, which made her stand out of the crowd. Her childhood lessons were shooting, horse riding, self-defense, and archery. Because of this she was already a queen before she married the king of Jhansi. She was sabotaged by the British raj and later banished from her fort along with her adopted infant son. Many great warriors of Indian history have followed her lead in vigorous battles, which proves a warrior has no gender. She was her nation’s daughter first and a mother second. She proved her loyalty to her motherland by fighting her final battle with her son tied to her back, his cries submerged under the clashes of swords. Her tale tells all women who have ever given birth that there are no rules made for anyone. If you know you have the strength, then go fight, not only for you, but also your people and your country.
Although it was named The Zookeeper’s Wife, Antonia Zabinski deserves a better, independent title for the movie about her life-saving work. While Nazis were busy proving to the world that they were upcoming gods, an ordinary lady of Warsaw had become a goddess for Jews seeking safe shelter. Her actions uprooted the myth that small acts of help cannot prove to be massive feats of humanity and kindness. What she did was very simple. She opened up the cages of her zoo animals to Jews so they could take shelter and survive the ongoing war. She let strangers stay at her home to escape the claws of the wandering beast. Her choice to stay among the ruins of the wounded city to be a shelter to strange faces, and saving hundreds of lives in the process, makes her an example of what a woman is capable of with strong willpower and selfless determination.
Ever wondered who was behind Wi-Fi? Well, it’s a lady, and her name is Hedy Lamarr. She may have started the trope of beauty with brains. She showed how odd can be beautiful. She was a remarkable actress with attitude across her brows and an intelligent mind. But the lavish lifestyle was not for her, so she left her multimillionaire husband and ran off to Paris. Between entertaining common audiences and presenting the idea of frequency hopping technology to the US government lies the little-known story of Hedy Lamarr. There are no restrictions over what you can do. As long as you do it with good intentions, you are free to choose anything to practice. Hedy Lamarr inspires us to listen more to our hearts rather than the people around us, and to always dream as big as possible.
She was appointed an aerospace engineer at NASA in a time when it was difficult for African Americans to acquire education. Her journey was a tough and rather remarkable one. She held numerous jobs before being appointed at NASA as a computer engineer. Impressed by her outstanding skills when she was working under him, Kazimierz Czarnecki, one of NASA’s senior engineers, encouraged her to get her degree so that she could be promoted to an aeronautical engineer. She followed his advice and went against everyone undermining her to become the first black female engineer at NASA. She showed us not to wait for change to happen. If you want change, go and bring it about. She went to court and dealt with the judge so that her dream could come true. She put forth the example that no matter who you are, you are never too small to go after your dreams. Everyone’s dream matters, and don’t let anything trip your dreams up, because they are yours and only you have the rights over them, nobody else.
The lady with the lamp not only cured the wounded soldiers of the Crimean war, but also illuminated the existence of the nursing profession. She was a simple woman with tremendous ambitions. She wanted to improve the poor condition of women in British society and provide health care to every corner of the world. She emerged with her lamp every night to go on rounds to assure the well-being of the soldiers, and because of this, she was nick-named “the lady with the lamp”. She fed the idea that any act of kindness, no matter how tiny or large, will always leave behind a big impression. She achieved her goals because she was dedicated to her job and was able turn her work into a profession. She brought about great impacts through her small acts, and this empowers us to never stop our voices from speaking for change because we think they are too small to be heard.
Rosa Parks made history when she took acts of discrimination and racism against her seriously. By refusing to give her bus seat to a white passenger she refused to be seen as lower than white people. Her acts have inspired many actions against racism in Alabama and across the world. Her story tells us that as women it’s our decision, if any hurdles come our way, to fight to make things right and not just give in. Parks’ action was an iconic act against racial segregation that was appreciated by many leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Edgar Nixon. She was a one-woman army whose simple act became the much-needed resistance of the time. To all ladies out there, take action against every single injustice against you no matter how big or small. Don’t be afraid to fight when you are fighting for something right.
“She was no ordinary woman” her father declared at her funeral. She was the daughter equivalent to hundreds of sons. She was the backbone of her father’s mission to capture the Sui dynasty. She raised her own army, owned many men’s loyalty, used smart tricks, and fought alongside her father in the battlefield. These actions marked her as one of the most exceptional woman in history. She overcame the conservative ethics of Asian society at the time that proudly displayed an array of excuses for why a woman should be considered a weak soul. She is a splendid inspiration for all the ladies out there who consider themselves weak. She shamed the societies misconceptions about a woman’s muscles. She did not make herself a princess, she made her father a king from whom she had immense respect and love. A girl only needs to impose her will to do and the rest will become history.
Mother Teresa was selflessness personified and the role model for kindness. She wanted to change the world through love and did so. She was blind to hate and never gave up on others. With her strong mind and beautiful heart, she drove the fear of leprosy out of many. She did not possess a powerful position, only a deep love for and yearning to serve every other human under the sky. She never tired of or lost passion for her work. Mother Teresa has taught every single lady around the globe the beauty of help and kindness. She has empowered us to work for the betterment of others without any expectations for ourselves.
Many women serve as inspirations and have contributed to bringing positive change in our society through small steps and veracious actions. However, you yourself are the best inspiration that you could ever find in this world. Your ideas, dreams, actions, and voice will never go unnoticed when you decide to make them heavy and impactful. So, get inspired and empowered because us ladies have to run the world.
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