International Women’s Day 2022: five historical women you should know

HONORING WOMEN: Diverse women have shaped our societies.

Sofia Sipelis | Opinion Editor

March 11, 2022

Since March 8, 1909, international women’s day has been a widely recognized and celebrated day around the world. The day originated out of protest when women in New York went on strike to advocate for better working conditions and has since evolved into a time for women to celebrate their progress, accomplishments, and strengths in rising to power in society. Women have made immense progress from gaining the right to vote to starting multi-million dollar companies. In honor of all of the incredible women who have stood up for their rights, here are some women you should know (in no particular order of importance). 

MALALA is one of the most influential women of our time. Antonio Olmos/EYEVINE/REDUX

1. Malala Yousafzai 

Malala (1997-present) is a Pakistani activist who has impacted the world with her courage, intelligence, and power. After being shot in the head by the Taliban, she became an outspoken advocate for female education, teaching the world about the inherent importance of education for girls. Malala won a Nobel Peace award and has published an autobiography recounting her inspiring life story. Malala continues to spread her message of empowerment and deserves the immense recognition she has earned. 

2. Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020) was an inspiring and influential supreme court justice for the US Supreme Court. Ginsburg was the second female supreme court justice and the first female Jewish Supreme Court justice. Ginsburg was known for her passion, fervor, and dedication to her career. She had a strong voice in favor of gender equality and the rights of workers. Ginsburg battled sexism firsthand and was an incredible asset to the Supreme Court, inspiring women from around the world to get involved in government and be a force of change. 

“As a Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an inspiration to me and many other American girls,” junior Sam Stark said, “but her boldness and courage to stand up for what she believed can be admired by women around the world.” 

PIONEERING COMFORTABLE FASHION FOR WOMEN: Coco Chanel, pictured here in 1928, led the women-in-pants revolution. Wikipedia Commons

3. Coco Chanel 

Coco Chanel (1883-1971), known for her incredibly famous designer brand CHANEL, defied societal norms. She broke gender barriers by choosing to wear trousers, ended the use of corsets, and redefined beauty standards, revolutionizing women’s fashion. Chanel challenged what it meant to be a woman proving that there is no “proper” way to embrace femininity. Chanel contributed to the ever-changing beauty standards women face, emphasizing classy comfort over appealing to the patriarchy. 

4. Marie Curie 

Marie Curie (1867-1934) was an incredible physicist and scientist who challenged gender spheres. Curie not only discovered two new elements, coined the term radioactivity, and received two Nobel prizes, but she made these achievements in a field historically dominated by men. Her research remains prevalent today, showing all who learn about her in chemistry that women, too, belong in the world of science. 

JACINDA ARDEN has been celebrated around the world for her COVID response and commitment to kindness. Lynn Grieveson/Newsroom

5. Jacinda Ardern 

Jacinda Ardern (1980-present) is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand. She is known for her pacifist approach to politics and her promotion of kindness, generosity, and peace in her beloved country. Ardern has received criticism for the way she has chosen to govern her country, yet she has remained a bold and powerful leader. She proves that even in a world where “strength” of political leaders is often defined by aggressive ambition, kindness can prevail. She shows women how to be powerful leaders by staying true to their values despite challenges and criticism. 

There are strong women all around the world. Some are rich and famous, some sit in our courtrooms, some work in our ICUs, and some live in our homes. You don’t have to write a new law or start a revolution to be a strong woman. “To me, a strong and independent woman is able to stand up for herself,” junior Morgan Mack said. “She is able to decide what she deserves and never looks at herself as less than.” We are all surrounded by strong women. May we know them, may we be them, and may we hope to raise them (if we choose).


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