Khaleda Zia (b. 1945) served as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh for two terms,
1991-1996 and again 2001-2006. She was the first female head of a democratic
government in her country, and the second in a Muslim-majority country.
During her time as Prime Minister, the GDP
of Bangladesh increased considerably, and the country opened to international
investment. Her government also worked to alleviate poverty and support female
Meyer (b. 1952) is a former swimmer and three-time Olympic champion. She has
set world records in four different events, and was the first swimmer to ever
win three individual medals at the Olympic Games.
She broke 15 world records in the sport
even while struggling with asthma. In addition, she broke 24 American records.
Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was a
dedicated suffragist and abolitionist in the United States. She helped found
the American Woman Suffrage Association.
She attended Oberlin College, and was the
first woman in Massachusetts to have a degree. She devoted her life and career
to advancing the rights of African Americans and of women through multiple
anti-slavery and civil rights associations.
Ahmed Ibrahim (1933-2017) was an author and women’s rights activist from Sudan. She won
the UN Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Human Rights in 1993.
Her activism began very early, in her school
days, when she created a newspaper called Pioneer
Girls. She conducted the first women’s strike in Sudan when her school
decided to replace science classes with so-called ‘family science’ lessons.
Throughout her career, she worked to obtain the right to vote for Sudanese
women, as well as gender equality in the workforce.
Ahnert-Rohlfs (1912-1954) was a German astronomer who made significant contributions to
the study of variable stars.
She studied at the University of Gottingen,
and later became an assistant astronomer at the Sonneberg Observatory. She received
a doctorate in astrophysics in 1951.
Carmen Balcells (1930-2015) was a
Spanish literary agent, seen as a main driving force behind the Latin American
literary boom during the 1960s. She discovered and represented six winners of
the Nobel Prize.
She founded her own literary agency
in 1956, and led it for almost 50 years. Having represented authors such as
Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez or Isabel Allende, she is considered
one of the most influential people in the world of Spanish-language literature.
Ernestina Pérez Barahona (1865-1951) was one
of the first women to graduate with a medical degree in Chile. She was the
second female doctor in the country and in the whole South American continent,
graduating days after her compatriot Eloísa Díaz Insunza.
She graduated from Universidad de
Chile in 1887, at the age of 21. She went on to specialise in gynecology in
Berlin, where she was physically separated from her all-male classmates by a screen.
She returned to Chile and dedicated her career to the advancement of female
education and health.
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) was a prominent activist for women’s rights in the United States. She advocated for campaigns such as female suffrage and birth control.
She played a leading role as an organiser for Industrial Workers of the World, and later founded the American Civil Liberties Union. She was arrested several times for her convictions.
Lucille Ball (1911-1989) was a pioneering figure of American TV. She was the star of multiple self-produced sitcoms such as the popular I Love Lucy and Life With Lucy.
She began by acting in various Broadway shows and Hollywood films before dedicating herself to television. In 1962, she co-founded Desilu Productions, and so became the first woman to ever run a major television studio.