In honor of International Women’s Day, we are going to take a look at some badass women that everyone should know about. These are women who are warriors in any sense of the word. They fought for their rights, for those in need. They stood up to bullies and for those who couldn’t stand for themselves. They need to be remembered and celebrated as ones who exhibited traits that we should all aspire to. So let’s remember these badass women and acknowledge that they are just a small sample size.
Some will remember Hedy Lamarr as an actress with 35 movies under her belt from 1930 to 1958.
She was however so much more.
She also was an inventor.
During WWII, Lamarr thought about quitting acting and going to work for the government. Ultimately that didn’t happen.
But she did learn the Navy was developing torpedoes that were radio controlled. The problem with that is that if the enemy knew what frequency the torpedoes were tuned to they could sabotage them.
Lamarr along with her friend George Antheil invented a system that allowed the torpedoes radio to jump from one frequency to many in split seconds to prevent the enemy from jamming them.
If you want to learn more about Hedy Lamarr’s fascinating life be sure to check out The Only Woman In The Room
Have you ever wanted something so bad that you moved halfway around the world for it? Bessie Coleman did.
At the end of WWI she learned about a new invention called the airplane. She took a second job to earn enough money to pay for lessons. But there were problems as you can imagine facing an African American woman in the early 1900s.
Nobody would teach her how to fly.
Bessie discovered a flight school in France that would teach her. But that led to other problems. First she didn’t have enough money. Second she couldn’t speak French.
That may have been enough to discourage some people but not Bessie. She found a financial backer and took a French class. Off to France she went to learn how to fly.
She graduated and became the first African-American woman to earn a pilot’s license.
While she was celebrated when she came back to the U.S. she found that work was nearly impossible to find.
Bessie decided that a barnstorming tour across the U.S. would be her best bet.
Queen Bess, as she was known, became a role model for African American men and women because she had a dream and did whatever she needed to do to achieve it.
Lieutenant William J. Powell wrote in his book Black Wings, “Because of Bessie Coleman we have overcome that which was worse than racial barriers. We have overcome the barriers within ourselves and dared to dream”
To learn more about Bessie Coleman you should read Up In The Air: The Story of Bessie Coleman.
Margaret Hamilton is a mathematician and computer scientist. She worked at NASA on the Apollo 11 program where she was responsible for developing on-board flight programming for the missions.
She is also remembered for coining the term “software engineering”.
Jane Goodall is considered the world’s top expert on chimpanzees. When you spend over 50 years studying them it’s easy to see why. She is also a conservationist and animal welfare champion. She established the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977 to help advance those causes.
Since that time the Jane Goodall Institute has added over 3 million acres to conservation protection as well as providing care and sanctuary for injured and sick chimpanzees. They also work alongside communities in need to help them improve their livelihoods.
Click here to learn more about the Jane Goodall Institute and donate.
Read more about Jane Goodall In The Shadow Of Man
Florence Nightingale changed the world and saved countless lives. Simple as that.
Serving as a nurse during the Crimean War in the 1850’s, she made substantial changes to the sanitary conditions in the hospital that was treating wounded soldiers. This hospital suffered from contaminated water, rodent infestation and unclean instruments among other things. She immediately began cleaning and sterilizing.
As a result of these measures, more patients started to survive.
She also instituted changes that today we take for granted. Like making sure that patients bedding and clothes were clean. Being able to provide meals based on a patient’s dietary needs.
She returned England to a hero’s welcome.
Even though she died in 1910 she is still considered the founder of modern nursing.
To learn more about Florence Nightingale read Florence Nightingale: A Life Inspired
Irena Sendler was a Polish social worker during WWII.
Once Germany invaded Poland they rounded up all the Jews living in Warsaw and forced them to move to an area the size of New York’ Central Park. Roughly 450,000 men, women, and children lived in what became known as the Warsaw Ghetto.
Because the Nazi’s were deathly afraid of a Typhus outbreak in the ghetto, they allowed Sendler and others in to check on the health of the people there.
That’s when Sendler and her colleagues went to work. They smuggled out roughly 2,500 Jewish children any way they could. They hid them under stretchers in an ambulance, hid them in sacks and raced them through the sewer pipes. From there they were taken to families who would take care of them with the understanding that the children would be reunited with their parents if they’re parents survived. Most did not.
Once the Nazi’s found out, she was arrested. She was then taken to prison where she was beaten and tortured. She had her legs and feet broken in an effort to give up the people she worked with and the children she saved. She did not.
If you’re interested in learning more about Irena Sendler read Life In A Jar: The Irena Sendler Project
Shirley Chisholm didn’t set out to be a politician. She wanted to be a teacher. And that’s what she was until politics came calling.
In 1968, she won election to the U.S. House of Representatives for New York’s 12th District. Becoming the first African American congresswoman. Her motto was “unbought and unbossed”.
She wasn’t through though. In 1972, she became the first African American woman to run for President as a Democrat.
To learn more about Shirley Chisholm read Unbought and Unbossed.
This is a small list of amazing women. Hopefully some of them you weren’t aware of.
It’s important to remember that while these women are famous badass women walk amongst us. And they aren’t hard to find.