May 30 marks the anniversary of the death of Joan of Arc. As a 19 year old woman with no military experience, she led France to victory in the Endless War with England. She stands today as a symbol of French unity and nationalism.
As the world remembers her life, it reminds others of women who have impacted the world throughout history.
1. Rosa Parks
She was born on Feb.4, 1913. She was considered a woman activist after she refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, leading to a boycott to ending segregation.
In that time, there was color segregation between white people and black people. Black passengers were supposed to sit at the back of the bus while white passengers typically sat in the front.
According to biography.com, on Dec.1, 1955, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue Bus, and the bus driver wanted Parks and other African-Americans to give up their seats for white passengers. Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger; as a result, she was arrested but later released with bail. This lead to a 381-day boycott and helped spread the end of segregation widely.
“At the time I was arrested, I had no idea it would turn into this,” Parks said. “It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in.” said Rosa Parks
2. Malala Yousafzai
Yousafzai was born on July 12,1997. She is known for fighting for her educational right after the Taliban took over Pakistan.
According to biography.com, she was only 11-years-old when she began blogging to BBC with a fake name about living in Pakistan while the Taliban took over and wanted to restrict women from going to school.
The Taliban later threatened her and, on Oct. 9, 2012, they shot her leaving her in a coma. She had to go through multiple surgeries. Even with her incident, she continues to advocate for girls to receive education.
“Dear friends, on the 9th of Oct. 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead,” Yousafzai said. “They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed.” said Malala Yousafzai.
3. Huda Sharawi
Sharawi was born in June 23, 1879. She was an Egyptian feminist, a founder several organizations dedicated to women rights and a motivator of women’s movement in Egypt.
She was raised in a culture where women, rich or poor, had to wear a veil to cover their face. After her husband died, she decided after going back to Egypt she took off her veil in public. Women all around her did the same thing.
She went to many conferences around the world representing Egypt in women conferences. She also led, “the first women’s street demonstration, the March of Vied Women, in Cario to protest colonial rule and to foil a British plan to exile four Egyptian nationalist leaders, including her husband,” according to AFF.
4. Hidden Figures: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson
These three ladies were well known for their involvement in the sending first men in the moon. They worked for NASA as “computers.” They were in charge of making mathematical equations and doing calculations by hand. Due to having segregation in that time, white and black were separated.
Dorothy Vaughan became the first African American to be a NASA supervisor.
According to space.com, Katherine Johnson was in charge of trajectory analysis for Freedom 7 mission in 1961 and John Glen’s orbital mission in 1961.
Mary Jackson was involved with wind tunnels and flight experiments. According to space.com, she “tried to help other women advance in their career by advising them on what educational opportunities to pursue.”
5. Harriet Tubman
Tubman was born in 1820 in Maryland into slavery, but escaped to the north for freedom.
She was famous for helping other slaves migrate to the north to be free.
“Tubman risked her life to lead hundreds of family members and other slaves from the plantation system to freedom,” according to biography.com.
“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person,” Tubman said. “There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.”
6. Clara Barton, Angel of the Battlefield
Barton was born on December 25,1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts.
According to Red Cross, “Clara Barton was working in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, DC when the Civil War began. Like many women, she helped collect bandages and other much-needed supplies, but she soon realized that she could best support the troops by going in person to the battlefields.”
During her visit to Europe, she worked with an organization known as the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War according to biography.com.
In 1881, she founded the American Red Cross. She was the President of the organization until she resigned in 1904 at age 83.
All these women not only fought for themselves, but also for the rest of society, proving a simple action can lead to big movements.