These Women are History
When discussing influential women in history, my mind automatically goes to Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, and Harriett Tubman. Our minds automatically go to the most famous and revered. Those three are just the beginning of a long list of powerful ladies who made a major impact on world history.
However, for every one woman we remember as being an influential leader and innovator, there are three more women we forget ever existed.
If I asked you who Clara Maass, Sybil Ludington, and Coretta Scott King were, would you know? They are three of the women you forgot when someone asked you who the most influential women in history are.
That’s why we put together a list of eight game-changing women. So next time you’re asked “who inspired you,” you have plenty of new people to choose from. Of course, eight women don’t nearly cover it, so we encourage you to look up someone new for Women’s History Month.
8.) Murasaki Shikibu wrote the Tale of Genji, which is widely regarded as the world’s first novel. It is recognized as the greatest masterpiece in Japanese literature.
7.) Edith Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Her book the Age of Innocence focuses on an upper-class New York couple and the threats and scandals that plague their relationship.
6.) Josephine Bakerwas the first black woman to star in a major motion picture. She also showed great bravery during the Second World War, when she hid secret information for the French Resistance on her sheet music.
5.) Amie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She conquered the quest with little more than a few scratches but she said she would refrain from attempting it again.
4.) Clara Maass was 25-years-old when she dedicated herself to medicine and research. The U.S. Army Nurse let herself be bitten by a mosquito carrying yellow fever. She contracted a mild form of the disease and would eventually make a full recovery. Her sacrifice led scientists to believe that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitos.
3.) Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. Blackwell attended college at Geneva Medical College in 1847. She became a true pioneer in promoting the education of woman and her sister, Emily, became the third woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S.
2.) 16-year-old Sybil Ludington raced through the streets of New York to warn patriots that the British were attacking a nearby Connecticut town. Although Paul Revere stole most of her thunder, her ride was more than twice the distance. Ludington was congratulated for her heroism by neighbors and friends, including General George Washington. She is considered a Revolutionary War hero to this day and is memorialized in a statute in Carmel, New York.
1.) Coretta Scott King was the wife of one of the most influential African-Americans in history. However, she was a civil rights activist and leader in her own right. She served as a delegate for the Woman’s Strike for Peace Conferences in Geneva, Switzerland and was a prominent figure in foreign politics. She also led the campaign to turn her husband’s birthday into a national holiday. She was a human rights champion, as well as civil rights defender.
— Hillary Terhune