Nobel laureate Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale, Margaret Thatcher, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Mother Teresa have been named as the top five “women who have shaped the world”.
Also included were Princess Diana, Queen Victoria, Anne Frank, Joan of Arc, and Queen Elizabeth I, was compiled following a poll of 2,000 British adults.
However, only a third of those polled felt there were enough inspirational figures for today’s younger generation.
Though there are innumerable women achievers, here are 40 personalities women who have shaped the world:
1. Marie Curie – The Polish born physicist and chemist was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for her pioneering research on radioactivity.
2. Florence Nightingale – “The lady with the lamp”, Florence Nightingale, nursed wounded soldiers during the Crimean war. Her passion and dedication to the profession changed public’s perception about this profession.
“I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.” – Florence Nightingale
3. Margaret Thatcher – She was known as the ‘Iron lady’ for her uncompromising politics and leadership style, only female Prime Minister elected in 1979 and the country’s fifth longest serving leader.
“If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher
4. Emmeline Pankhurst
5. Mother Teresa – Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, born in Albania, who later went on to be known as Mother Teresa, came to India to serve the poor and the dying. She was honoured with the Nobel Peace prize in 1979.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
6. Princess Diana – The beautiful Princess of Wales was always under media scrutiny right from her marriage into the royal family to her divorce in 1996 and death a year later.
“Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.” – Diana
7. Queen Victoria
8. Anne Frank – known to many as a young jewish girl who documented her survival during the Holocaust of World War II through her personal diary. The Diary of a Young Girl was first published in Dutch in 1942 and has been translated over 60 different languages. The diary served as a unique eye-witness account of life during Holocaust (mass murder of approximately six million Jews during World War II) and it became one of the world’s most read books.
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” – Anne Frank
9. Joan of Arc
10. Queen Elizabeth I
11. Rosa Parks
12. Queen Elizabeth II – Queen Elizabeth has ruled over the United Kingdom for 60 years now and has presided over the country through some of the most turbulent times.
“I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else – I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.” – Queen Elizabeth II
13. Indira Gandhi – first woman Prime Minister of India and played a considerable role in Indian politics. Indira Gandhi is known to be a powerful leader because of major political, economic and military developments during her reign.
14. Amelia Earhart
15. Amy Johnson
16. J.K. Rowling
17. Marilyn Monroe – American actress, model and songstress Marilyn Monroe made a big impact in the world of cinema. Fame, popularity and a tragic suicide at the age of 36 make this beautiful actress an iconic figure.
18. Jane Austen
19. Mary, Queen of Scots
20. Queen Mother
21. Coco Chanel – Chanel was a daughter to a laundrywoman and a market stall holder. Before becoming one of the greatest fashion designers the world has ever seen, she was a club singer and a hat maker.
“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” – Coco Chanel
22. Benazir Bhutto
23. Enid Blyton
24. Marie Antoinette
25. Helen Keller
26. Oprah Winfrey – a generous Philanthropist, who is today worth $2.7 billion as a famous US talk show host and a media proprietor, was born to a poor single mother in Mississippi.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
27. Germaine Greer
28. Eva Peron
29. Hilary Clinton
30. Malala Yousafzai
31. Linda McCartney
32. Audrey Hepburn
33. Eleanor Roosevelt
34. Maya Angelou
35. Michelle Obama – Michelle Obama, the first lady of the United States, was raised in a one bedroom apartment in Chicago before she went on to excel in academics and study at Princeton and Harvard. She is considered the most stylish leading lady after Jackie Kennedy.
“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.” – Michelle Obama
36. Kate Middleton Duchess of Cambridge
37. Billie Jean King
38. Katharine Hepburn
39. Ingrid Bergman
40. Simone de Beauvoir
Do you know of any other women who changed history? Leave us a comment and let us know.