In honour of International Women’s Day, we wanted to pause and honour some influential women who paved the way for us all. They are the bold few who defied conventional and dared to dream beyond what many of us could even imagine. We as women are commanding boardrooms, launching start-ups and raising families. All around us, women are climbing the ladder and pushing themselves harder than ever, and that deserves to be celebrated, today and every day.
Here are some of these incredible women who inspire us:
We all know Bill Gates the creative genius behind Microsoft, but few know the story of his wife, Melinda Gates.
Melinda was born in Texas to a mother who emphasised education above all else. Melinda went on to study computer science and later earned a master’s degree leading her to land a job at Microsoft. There she worked her way up and oversaw huge projects.
She then met her future husband, Bill, and after marrying the pair launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation addresses global poverty and health issues which has funded the studies of disadvantaged youth and improves access to birth control for women in third-world countries.
Diana, Princess of Wales was known the world over as much for her beauty as her caring, down-to-earth nature. A campaigner for children’s charities, Diana bought a personal touch to the Royal Family that has endured to this day. Within a year of her marriage to Prince Charles, she gave birth to Prince William and Prince Harry was born two years later. Keeping the young princes grounded was always going to be difficult, yet Diana did her best to shield them from publicity and to give them a ‘normal’ upbringing, famously taking them to McDonald’s and Disneyland.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Long before she earned the nickname “Notorious RBG”, became an indisputable feminist icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was just a girl with big dreams. She graduated high school and went to Cornell university, later she enrolled in Harvard Law where she was just one of nine women in a class of 500 men.
Ruth found it difficult to get a job after law school in a male-dominated profession that often discriminated based on gender. This experience led her to co-found the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, which championed more than 300 different gender discrimination cases in the 1970s.
In 1993 she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court, where she served till her passing.
Creator of the world of Harry Potter and responsible for many a childhood memory, J.K. Rowling is one fabulous British mother we should celebrate this International Women’s Day. Her stories have been read in countries across the world and the Harry Potter series has sold an estimated 45 million copies. Not to mention the movies that followed and the opening of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London!
Michelle Obama will go down as one of the most incredible and coolest first ladies in history for her laid back style and trademark sense of humour.
Before becoming the first African-American first lady in 2009, Michelle graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law and later practiced law in Chicago, where she was born and raised. In the years leading up to her time in the White House, she worked at the University of Chicago Medical Centre as the vice president of community and external affairs while also raising her two daughters.
Once in the White House, Michelle championed her Let’s Move! Campaign, which was geared towards ending childhood obesity in America, and also focused on several other passion projects aimed at helping veterans, military families and young people interested in seeking higher education.
Screen and stage actress Julie Andrews charmed the world with her performances in Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews has been loved for decades, her beautiful singing voice a joy to listen to. She also has a star on the Walk of Fame and made a Dame Commander of Order of the British Empire by the Queen.