When it comes to inspirational women, history has a plethora of extraordinary names to offer. From the worlds of science, religion, philosophy and politics, narrowing them down is no mean feat. The most inspirational women are those who have made a lasting contribution towards creating a better world. These women have inspired others by their various achievements, but also by their attitude and values. Some of the characteristics of inspirational women include;
- Don’t accept prevailing beliefs and conventional wisdom as necessarily the truth.
- Energy, enthusiasm and motivation to make a positive contribution to life.
- Work from the best motives to help others rather than to boost their ego and worldly name and fame.
- Seek to see the good in others and bring out the best in other people.
- Seek to act in harmony and unite people rather than divide them.
- Able to offer inspirational art, music, literature which rises above the ordinary to give mankind a glimpse of higher realities.
Here are the top 10 most inspirational women in history.
1. Mother Teresa
A modern day saint who sought to identify with and offer compassion to the unloved and destitute. Fundamental to the prosperity of all, Teresa chose a voluntary life of poverty in order to help others. She instigated entire generations to selflessly aid others and fearlessly taking on world leaders to tackle inequality. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and was canonized in 2016 by Pope Francis, becoming the Patron Saint of Calcutta.
2. Helen Keller
Despite disability of both deafness and blindness, she learned to read and write, becoming a champion of social issues and helping to improve the welfare of deaf people.
3. Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks became a well respected figurehead of the American civil rights movement. Rosa showed what ordinary people can do when they stick fast to their beliefs in testing conditions.
4. Florence Nightingale
Nightingale volunteered to nurse soldiers during the Crimean War. Her statistical analysis of the pitiful conditions she found, and her management of them, helped to revolutionise the service of nursing and the treatment of patients.
5. Harriet Tubman
Tubman escaped from slavery but returned on many dangerous missions to Maryland where she helped lead slaves to freedom. She also served as agent and leader during the Civil War.
6. Eleanor Roosevelt
Helped draft United Nations declaration of human rights. Strived to improve civil rights in the US. Inspired many people because of her positivity, compassion and self-giving.
7. Marie Curie
Curie was a physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. Her discoveries with radiation helped advance medical science. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. Under her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms using radioactive isotopes. Her achievements were even more remarkable at a time when few women had the opportunity to gain an education.
8. Susan B. Anthony
Anthony was a social reformer and women’s rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement. She is known for her cause in; social reform activities primarily in the field of women’s rights, abolition of slavery, and equal rights for both women and African Americans. She became the first female citizen to be depicted on U.S. coinage when her portrait appeared on the 1979 dollar coin.
9. Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana’s activism and glamour made her an international icon and earned her an enduring popularity as well as an unprecedented public scrutiny, exacerbated by her tumultuous private life. She was celebrated in the media for her unconventional approach to charity work. She raised awareness and advocated ways to help people affected with cancer, AIDS, and mental illness.
10. Oprah Winfrey
Dubbed the “Queen of All Media”, Winfrey is credited with creating a more intimate, confessional form of media communication, and is praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others. She popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre. Through this medium, Winfrey broke 20th-century taboos and allowed LGBTQ people to enter the mainstream through television appearances.