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International Women’s Day: 7 Inspirational Women Who’ve Shaped History

Today, on International Women’s Day, we honour the extraordinary contributions of women who have reshaped our world with their resilience, courage, and dedication to making a difference. Our team members have highlighted a diverse array of inspiring figures, from trailblazing activists to pioneering professionals, who have not only challenged societal norms but also paved the way for future generations in a more inclusive and equitable society.


Marsha P. Johnson

Chosen by Calum

Marsha P. Johnson was an American activist, self-identified drag queen, performer, and survivor. She was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969, which is considered a pivotal event in the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Marsha, along with her friend Sylvia Rivera, co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, gay youth, and trans women.

She was known for her extravagant hats and joyful, generous spirit, often using her visibility to advocate for the rights and acceptance of transgender people. Despite facing numerous challenges, including arrests, violence, and discrimination, Marsha’s legacy as a fearless pioneer for LGBTQ+ rights continues to inspire and impact the community deeply.


Malala Yousafzai 

Chosen by Arifa

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She came to prominence at a young age when she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu detailing her life under Taliban occupation and her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley, Pakistan. Her activism resulted in a Taliban gunman attempting to assassinate her in 2012, but she survived and became an even more prominent advocate for the right to education.

Malala’s courage has inspired a global movement and she continues to work through the Malala Fund, a charity she co-founded that aims to give every girl an opportunity to achieve a future she chooses. Her story is not just one of survival, but a testament to the power of young voices in the fight for education and equality.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Chosen by Waseem and Irina

In 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran for congress in the U.S., where she challenged incumbent politicians by representing the views of ordinary everyday people. She threatens the status quo by redefining the traditional leadership style by using empathy rather than competitiveness.

Not only is she the youngest woman ever to serve in congress, but she breaks the stereotype by being her authentic self, using her working background to unite and empower people.


Saalumarada Thimmakka

Chosen by Meera

Saalumarada Thimmakka is an Indian Environmentalist who planted and nurtured 384 banyan trees along the stretch of a highway. Every day she and her husband would carry heavy buckets for a back-breaking distance of 4 kilometres to water the trees.

They used the little resources they had to plant, water and protect the saplings. This became the daily routine of Thimmakka’s life, despite this not helping her impoverished situation. However, this incredible act of environmental service led her to achieve the National Citizen’s Award of India and the Padma Shri award.


Shakuntala Devi

Chosen by Meera

Shakuntala Devi was an Indian prodigy who holds a record in the Guinness Book for being able to do insanely large mental calculations. The equation that landed her into the book was in 1980 when she was asked to multiply two 13-digit numbers and answered it in just 28 seconds.

Incredibly, she was self-taught and actually recruited her calculating abilities while performing card tricks. In 1977, she also wrote a pioneering book on homosexuality, the first of its kind to be published in India.


Erin Brockovich

Chosen by Rebecca

Erin Brockovich has dyslexia and struggled in her early education, but due to some excellent teaching experiences, she was able to become a globally renowned lawyer. She helped win the largest lawsuit in U.S. history in 1996 and, during this, had to read through thousands of pages of records and briefs, which she found challenging to do.

Brockovich states that it’s dyslexia that helped her to work as a lawyer and remains an advocate for those with literacy differences in the workplace and education.


Valentina Tereshkova

Chosen by Corey

Valentina Tereshkova was the first time a woman travelled into space on the Vostok 6 spacecraft in 1963, and she remains the only woman to have been on a solo space mission.

She also was a spokesperson in the Committee of Soviet Women. In 1986, Tereshkova had gained permission to speak at a National Congress of Women and dedicated a public discussion of women’s issues in the Soviet Union. She considers this event to be one of her biggest achievements.

We also want to give this opportunity to show gratitude to the women who support Global Diversity Practice. Without their continuous contributions, collaboration and hard work, GDP would not be in the position it is today.

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