Women around the world have made a huge difference to today’s society.
But before we get into that, happy International Women’s Day.
It’s only right, today, we honor all the wonderful women who have changed the world in so many different ways!
Rosalind Franklin: Revealed DNA’s Structure
Rosalind Elsie Franklin was an English chemist who was born on the 25th of July 1920 in Nottinghill, London.
Rosalind knew she wanted to be a scientist since she was just 15.
She enrolled in college, despite her father being against this, she eventually received her doctorate in chemistry.
She spent three years studying X-ray techniques then returned to England to lead a research team to study the structure of DNA.
This was all at a time when women weren’t even allowed to eat in her college’s cafeteria so we can imagine how hard it was for her.
There was another DNA research team led by Maurice Wilkins, who double-crossed Rosalind when he showed scientists, James Watson and Francis Crick, Rosalind’s ground-breaking X-ray image of DNA, known as Photo 51.
Photo 51 allowed Watson, Crick, and Wilkins to take all credit for her work and determine the structure of DNA.
Jane Addams: Pioneer for Social Change
This woman is truly amazing.
She was a suffragist, settlement house founder, peace activist, and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Jane chose a lifetime commitment to social reform over marriage and motherhood.
Jane and her friend, Ellen Gates Starr, traveled to England in 1881.
They were inspired by the Toynbee Hall in London (a special place to help the poor).
In 1889, they moved into an old mansion (Hull House) in an immigrant neighborhood in Chicago, where Jane ended up living for the rest of her life.
This house provided a place for immigrants of diverse communities to gather.
Jane and other residents of the house sponsored legislation to get rid of child labor, establish juvenile courts, limit the hours of working women, recognize labor unions, make school attendance compulsory and ensure safe working conditions in factories.
She openly wrote about and lectured that she was against the First World War.
After the armistice, she founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, where she served as president from 1919 until her death in 1935.
Jane will always be remembered as the mother of social work, as she shaped social legislation that to this day has an impact on the world.
Claudette Colvin: Teenage Civil Rights Activist
This woman inspired many.
One day she was too tired to give up her seat on the bus home from high school, on March 2, 1955, refusing to move for a white passenger.
Claudette said she felt inspired by the memories of earlier pioneers to stand or sit her ground.
She told Newsweek: “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, ‘Sit down girl!’ I was glued to my seat.”
She was then arrested for violating Montgomery, Alabama’s segregation laws, and her family feared for their safety as news of the incident spread.
Claudette bravely pled not guilty and was given probation.
She wasn’t selected by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to challenge segregation laws in the south due to her youth.
However, later she became one of the four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, which ruled that the Montgomery segregated bus system was unconstitutional.
Hedy Lamarr: Invented Tech Behind Wi-Fi
Nicknamed “The Most Beautiful Woman in Film,” Hedy Lamarr was more than just a beauty.
While Hedy’s screen time made her one of the most popular actresses of her day, she was also an inventor with a sharp mind.
Along with composer George Antheil, Hedy developed a new method of “frequency hopping.”
This was a technique for disguising radio transmissions by making the signal jump between different channels in a certain pattern.
Their “Secret Communication System” was created to tackle the Nazis during World War II, but the U.S. Navy ignored their findings.
It wasn’t until years later that other inventors realized how groundbreaking her work was.
We all use a smartphone today, right?
Well, you can thank Hedy as her communication system was a forerunner to wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias: First Female Sports Star
Nicknamed as “Babe,” Mildred Didrikson Zaharias, played her way into national fame in 1932.
She entered the US women’s track and field championship as the sole member of her team.
Not only did she compete in team events in team events alone, she won five events and the overall championship.
Then at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, she took home three medals—one silver and two gold.
Babe got her way onto the golf scene in 1934, when she was the first woman to play in an all-male PGA Tour event.
To this day, she holds the record for the longest winning streak in golf history, which she accomplished between 1946 and 1947.
Have you heard of the Ladies Professional Golf Association?
Well, it was Babe along with 12 other female golfers, who formed the pro tour in 1950.
She amazed the crowd a final time in 1954 when she won the U.S. Women’s Open by a record of 12 strokes, just a year after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
The Associated Press named her “Female Athlete of the Year” six times, and we cannot disagree.