For us women, everyday is a fight to prove ourselves, that we are so much more than our outfits…
…or how we fold our legs together…
…or how quietly we chew our food.
So if you ever feel like giving up, or feel like there’s no hope, there are many women out there who have fought for your freedom to vote, your freedom to wear what you want to wear, your freedom to be educated, and more. From models to politicians, here are 10 21st century women who will inspire you to keep fighting the good fight.
1. Aung San Suu Kyi
Suu Kyi was a Burmese opposition politician and was also under house arrest for 15 years for her pre-democracy campaigning. She was gained freedom in 2010 after there was an international campaign for her release. In 1992, she also won a Nobel Prize, where it was said that “Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades”.
“In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued.”
2. Michelle Obama
The well-loved Michelle Obama was the first lady of the United States. She was raised in a one bedroom apartment in Chicago before she excelled in her studies in Princeton and Harvard. Now, we know that she won’t be the first lady anymore, but there will still be a lot of her in the future as she as currently working on a campaign to battle childhood obesity.
“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.”
3. Andreja Pejic
Pejic is not only an Australian model, but she is also the first openly transgender model to be profiled in Vogue magazine. Her feature became a turning point for the fashion industry and changed views on the acceptance of transgender models in the fashion industry.
“I would like them to understand that we are people. We’re human beings, and this is a human life. This is reality for us, and all we ask for is acceptance and validation for what we say that we are. It’s a basic human right.”
4. Angela Merkel
It was 2005 when Merkel was appointed as the Chancellor of Germany. She also happens to be the first female chancellor presiding over the most powerful European economy.
“When it comes to human dignity, we cannot make compromises.”
5. Laverne Cox
Cox has been a one of the biggest face in the transgender community since her debut in “Orange Is The New Black”. After she became the first transgender woman to have received in Emmy nomination and made the list of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, she used her fame to highlight the important issues the trans community faced. She fights everyday to break barriers for the transgender community and her success proves that audiences are becoming more accepting of the trans community.
“Each and every one of us has the capacity to be an oppressor. I want to encourage each and every one of us to interrogate how we might be an oppressor, and how we might be able to become liberators for ourselves and each other.”
6. Malala Yousafzai
Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and was the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. In October 2012, she was on her school bus when a gunman asked for her by name and then pointed a pistol at her, firing three shots. The attack sparked a national and international outcry for support for Yousafzai. She is a well-known human rights advocate who fights for education and women in her home where the local Taliban had, at times, banned girls from attending school.
“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”
7. Oprah Winfrey
Winfrey is a well-known media proprietor and has been working as a talk-show host, actress, producer and philanthropist for decades. Currently, her net worth is $3 billion and according to Forbes Magazine, she was the first African-American woman to reach billionaire status. She has also used her fame to educate, empower and influence people for better. In 2013, she attained the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ whilst also getting many awards and recognitions for her profession in acting and broadcasting. In 2007, Winfrey founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls as a girls-only boarding school.
“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.”
8. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is an American singer, songwriter and actress who has also the most Grammy-nominated female artist. She has also been an inspiration to artists such as Adele, Bristney Spears, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and many more. She’s also supporting more than 30 charities all around the world and Time magazine has also claimed that she was the woman on top of the world in 2014.
“Power means happiness; power means hard work and sacrifice.”
9. Ellen DeGeneres
DeGeneres is an American comedian, TV host, actress, writer and producer who supports over 40 charities. She has made a positive impact on the world by donating and helping underprivileged schools and children. Also, she is one of the biggest advocate for the LGBT community, and what more, in 2010 she served as a campaign ambassador to Farm Sanctuary’s ‘Adopt a Turkey’ project as she loves animals too.
“Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.”
Madonna Louise Ciccone not only the American singer we know so well, she’s also a songwriter, actress and business woman. She became popular by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream music and imagery in her music videos. She also founded ‘Raising Malawi’ with Michael Berg in 2006 which is a charitable non-profit organization with the aim of helping the extremely poor people in Malawi by a provision of education programs. She is also hold the Guinness World Records for the best-selling recording female artist of all time and has influenced artists such as Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Adele, Beyoncé, Shakira and more.
“If I can’t be daring in my work or the way I live my life, then I don’t really see the point of being on this planet.”