This week we're celebrating the achievements of amazingly talented and brilliant women from the last 100 years of history around the world. Here is our roundup of just some of the remarkably strong women we stand to salute on International Women's Day 2022.
Ava DuVernay - A universally celebrated director, rumour is she didn't pick up a camera until the age of 32. She went on to become the first Black woman to be nominated for a Best Director Golden Globe Award AND the first Black female director Academy Award nominee for best picture amongst her many other achievements.
Image: Yale 2021
Halima Aden - Breaking boundaries in fashion, born into a refugee camp in Kenya she was the first woman to wear a Hijab in a USA pageant, helping to diversify the modelling industry. In June 2017, she became the first hijab-wearing model on the cover of Vogue Arabia, Allure, British Vogue and Sports Illustrated.
Image: The Times
Dr Amani Ballour - an advocate of women's and children's rights, aged just 24 years old she abandoned her study of paediatrics to help the casualties of the 2016 Syrian Civil War. Her story is portrayed by the Oscar-nominated documentary 'The Cave', which tells of the struggles of running an underground hospital during the war. Age 29, Amani was elected and promoted as the hospital director becoming the first and ONLY woman to manage a hospital in Syria.
Irena Sendler - a Polish humanitarian, social worker and nurse served in the Polish Underground Resistance during WWII. She helped to smuggle Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, providing them with false identity documents and shelter with willing Polish families, orphanages and other care facilities, therefore saving thousands of children from the Holocaust.
Eleanor Lambert - AKA the 'Godmother of Fashion' or 'Empress of Seventh Avenue', she's widely recognized as the original fashion publicist. She also found time to establish New York Fashion Week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Met Gala, and the International Best Dressed List! She had an almost unerring eye for recognizing future stars (Halston was one of them). Her impact is still felt in the fashion industry as well as culture at large.
Edith Summerskill - a British physician and one of the earliest women to be admitted to medical school, qualifying as a doctor in 1924. A founder of the Socialist Health Association, an advocate for the National Health Service, she also pressed for equal rights for women regardless of their marital status. In the 1950's she wrote a series of letters to her daughter Shirley, entitled 'Letters to my daughter'.
"Life with a daughter of nine through twelve is a special experience for parents, particularly mothers. In a daughter’s looks, actions, attitudes, passions, loves, and hates, in her fears and her foibles, a mother will see herself at the same age. You are far enough away to have some perspective on what your daughter is going through. Still, you are close enough, if reminded, to feel it all again."
Image: Spartacus Educational
Lilian Wyles - one of the first woman police officers to be recruited to the London Metropolitan Police in 1919, reportedly meeting with scorn from male policemen and members of the public. She later became the first attested woman member of CID, and later a Chief Inspector before her retirement in 1949.
Noor Inayat Khan - a British resistance agent in France during World War II under the code name Madeleine, she became the first female wireless operator to be sent from the UK into occupied France to aid the French Resistance during the war. Noor was captured after being betrayed, however during that time, she attempted escape twice and did not give the Gestapo a single piece of information, but lied consistently. She was posthumously awarded the George Cross for her service in the SOE, the highest civilian decoration in the UK.
Wangari Maathai - an activist and intellectual who made significant contributions to thinking about ecology, development, gender, African cultures and religions. She served as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights and especially encouraged women to better their situation. In 2004 she was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Image: Wendy Stone/Getty Images
Vigdis Finnbogadottir - the world's first woman who was democratically elected as president. In 1996, she became founding chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, two years later she was appointed president of the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation. She had as her motto: 'Never let the women down' and worked specifically to promote girls' education. With a presidency of sixteen years, she is to date the second longest-serving elected female head of state of any country to date.
Image: Women Political Leaders
Ruth Bader Ginsburg - the cultural icon that became known as "The Notorious R.B.G." In 1993 she became the Supreme Court's second female justice as well as the first Jewish female justice. As a judge, Ginsburg was considered part of the Court's moderate-liberal bloc, presenting a strong voice in favor of gender equality, the rights of workers and the separation of church and state.
"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."
Image: ABC News
Today we particularly honour the strength, resilience and courage of the women in Ukraine. To all the brave women who are standing up for their country and fighting on the front line. For all the women desperately seeking shelter and protecting their loved ones. The strength of these women shows us what real courage and bravery looks like 🇺🇦
Not forgetting the 38 million (and that's a conservative estimate) in the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria who have already been displaced over the years
We stand with you all 💙
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