Now that the International Women’s Day is finally here, let’s take a step back and ponder over the impact that women have on our lives. Extrapolating this to a macro level, women have changed the world for the good. They are breaking all the barriers, the glass ceilings and setting new standards in every field.
Let us have a look at a few of these inspiring women who have left the world a much better place to live in.
Madelaine Albright became the first woman to serve as the U.S. Secreatary of State. She served as the 64th United States Secretary of State and the 20th United States Ambassador to the United Nations. She is also a New York Times best selling author. She is the recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is the founder of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm. In 1992, she was appointed by then-President Bill Clinton to manage the new administration at the National Security Council. The following year, she was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. In 1996, she was again asked to help out in foreign matters by the then-President Bill Clinton. The following year, she took office as the 64th United States Secretary of State. During her tenure as the United States Secretary of State, she played a pivotal role in influencing American policy in Bosnia, Herzegovina and the Middle East. She also campaigned for human rights and was against nuclear power. She worked hard to bring a peaceful resolution to the Middle East issues. In 2001, she established the global strategy company, Albright Stonebridge Group. In 2003, she was appointed as one of the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange. In 2007, she was the chairperson at the Women’s Ministerial Initiative organized by the Council of Women World Leaders. From 2011, she began serving in the advisory council in The Hague Institute for Global Justice. She held office as the top advisor to the U.S. President Barack Obama, advising him on national security issues.
Founder and creator of Katonah Yoga possesses a gift for teaching the physical and esoteric aspects of yoga. Her teaching methods are articulated intelligently with meaning and metaphor to all. Nevine started a daily practice in NYC with renowned yoga instructor Alan Bateman, in the 1970s. She became fully immersed in what would become her life’s work. She began teaching Yoga in 1980, and founded the Katonah Yoga Center in Katonah, New York in 1986. In 1999, she produced “Yoga for Women,” an instructional tape directed toward women of all ages. Nevine continues to teach in her studio in Bedford Hills, NY and to inspire those both near and far, of all ages and backgrounds.
Sara Blakely is youngest self-made female billionaire who turned her life around with her idea of creating a new line of flattering undergarments. As the sole owner of her company ‘Spanx’ and net worth of over a billion dollars, she has reached the annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. Spanx has its headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Having established its identity in approximately 50 countries, Spanx is opening retail shops in the United States. The brand has created and sustains its motto of making women realise their potential and true worth. Sara was ranked the 93rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2014. She was the first female billionaire to be a part of the Giving Pledge. Under this pledge, the rich donate at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes.In addition to her shapewear empire, she is a noted philanthropist. She established the Sara Blakely Foundation in 2006, which is dedicated to helping women globally and locally through education and entrepreneurship. Blakely also donated $1 million to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation in South Africa in 2007.
Maya Angelou had a diverse career spanning five decades — first as a singer and dancer, then as a journalist and civil rights activist, and later as a memoirist, poet and screenwriter. She is also known for her feminist beliefs, which are most evident through her famous poem, ‘Phenomenal Woman’. Angelou also held a position at the University of Ghana for a time. In Ghana she also joined a community of “Revolutionist Returnees” exploring pan-Africanism and became close with human rights activist and black nationalist leader Malcolm X. In 1964, on returning to the U.S., she helped him set up the Organization of Afro-American Unity. Her poignant story ‘Letter to My Daughter’ (2008) made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. Dedicated to the daughter Angelou never had, this book of essays features Angelou’s advice for young women about living a life of meaning. Angelou contributed to the Civil Rights Movement as a fundraiser and organizer. Angelou was the first female poet to recite a poem at a US Presidential inauguration. In 2011, she was appointed by the ‘Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial’, Washington, D.C., as an advisor.
Funding initiatives focused on improving global health, reducing poverty, and expanding educational opportunities and access to information technology, Melinda has established her power in philanthropy and global development with $4.2 billion in giving in 2015 and more than $36.7 billion in grant payments since founding the foundation with her husband in 2000. Today much of Melinda’s attention is focused on supporting investments in women and girls around the world as she believes, and has seen the proof, that empowering women and girls can bring transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities and societies.
Noella Coursaris Musunka
She is the founder of Malaika, a non-profit organization that operates a free school for 230 disadvantaged girls in Kalebuka, a village in the Southeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Noella was born in Congo but left at a young age after her father’s death because her mother was unable to provide for her financially. Determined to ensure that other families do not have to be separated because of poverty, Noella has committed her career to helping turn goodwill into action: empowering a generation of young leaders eager to build a bright future for their country.
These are the women who have shaped the world for the better. They have inspired a generation of people touching upon a lot of lives. Let us take motivation from them, this women’s day and make a pledge to make this world a much better place.