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International Women’s Day: Women who changed the world throughout history

It’s International Women’s Day! A global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Here are some of the women throughout history who changed the world.

Cleopatra (69 – 30 BC)

Cleopatra was the last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. She wanted to protect Egypt from the expanding Roman Empire. In doing so she formed relationships with two of Rome’s most powerful leaders Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar.

Boudicca (1st Century AD)

Boudicca led several tribes in revolt against the Roman occupation in Britain. Initially successful her army of 100,000 sacked Colchester and then London. Her army was later defeated.

Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)

At the age of just 17, Joan of Arc successfully led the French to victory at Orleans against the English.

Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603)

Queen of England during a time of great economic and social change, she saw England cemented as a Protestant country. During her reign she witnessed the defeat of the Spanish Armada leaving Britain to later become one of the world’s dominant superpowers.

Catherine the Great (1729 – 1796)

Catherine the great placed great put emphasis on the arts and helped to cement Russia as one of the dominant countries in Europe.

Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)

Jane Austen wrote several popular novels including: “Pride and Prejudice” “Emma” and “Northanger Abbey”and paved the way for future female writers.

Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901)

Queen Victoria was the British head of state from 1837-1901. Queen Victoria sought influence in British politics whilst remaining distant from party politics. She also overlooked the vast British Empire and symbolised many Victorian values.

Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910)

Florence Nightingale went to the Crimean War as a nurse to look after wounded soldiers. She saved many lives and helped improve the medical treatment of soldiers.

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 – 1928)

Emily Pankhurst was a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement. Her protests for women’s rights included: violence, public demonstrations and hunger strikes. She died in 1928, 3 weeks before a law giving all women over 21 the right to vote.

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)

Marie Curie was the first women to receive the Nobel Prize. She won the prize in two categories, firstly in research into radioactivity (Physics 1903) and secondly for Chemistry in 1911. She also helped develop the first X ray machines.

Rosa Luxemburg (1870-1919)

Rosa Luxemburg fought to bring socialist revolution to Germany and wrote fiercely against German imperialism. She was murdered after a failed attempt to bring about a Communist revolution in Germany.

Anne Frank (1929 – 1945)

Anne Frank wrote her famous diary while in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Most remarkably, she was only 13 but her writing showed a great degree of maturity. She did not survive the war but her book went on to be a huge success and immortalised her forever.

JK Rowling

Photo credit: Daniel Ogren

Photo credit: Daniel Ogren

JK Rowling, the first billionaire author thanks to her Harry potter series has been credited with leading a revival of reading by children. When writing the first book, she was living on benefits and was struggling as a single mother.

Malala Yousafzai

The Pakistani schoolgirl survived being shot by the Taliban, and has campaigned for girl’s rights to an education.

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