Looking back in history, these women have made a difference!
a.Florence Nightingale : A celebrated English social reformer and statistician, she can be called the founder of modern nursing, and has also earned the title of ‘the lady with the lamp’, for her habit of making rounds at night, while serving as a nurse during the Crimean War, where she looked after wounded soldiers. Her nursing school at St.Thomas’ Hospital in London was a huge milestone as the first secular nursing school in the world. She holds the reputation of improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating for hunger relief in India, contributing towards abolishing laws regulating prostitution, and the expansion of acceptable forms of female involvement in the workforce. Besides, she was also a prolific and versatile writer.
b.Harriet Tubman : An African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War, she was one such path-breaking woman who bravely rescued more than 70 slaves in thirteen mission, after having escaped from slavery herself. She achieved this incredible job using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses that were known as the Underground Railroad. In the post-war era, she fought for women’s suffrage. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the American Civil War and also guided the Combahee River Raid which freed more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.
c.Eleanor Roosevelt : She was the longest serving First Lady of the United States from 1933-1945. She was already an advocate of civil rights, and after her husband’s death, she continued to be an international author, speaker, politician, and activist for the New Deal coalition. She put in a lot of efforts to uplift the status of working women, although she was not in favour of the Equal Rights Amendment since she believed that it would have an adverse impact on women. President Truman called her the “First Lady of the World” for her achievements in the field of human rights. She not only remained politically active for the rest of her life, but also chaired the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women which facilitated the start of second-wave feminism.
d.Judith A. Resnik : She was an American engineer and a NASA astronaut who lost her life in the destruction of Space Shuttle Challenger during the launch of the mission STS-51-L. She was the second American female astronaut, and the IEEE Judith Resnik Award for space engineering has been named after her. Highly qualified even in education, she was the first Jewish woman to venture into space. She has been awarded with many posthumous honours, including the naming of the lunar crater Resnik, which was located within the Apollo impact basin on the far side of the Moon.
e.Florence Allen : An American judge, she was the first woman to serve on a state supreme court and of the first two to serve as a federal judge. Through her initial struggles to establish herself as an attorney, her interest towards politics developed more and she became even more committed to the cause of women’s suffrage. She was an active member of the Women’s Suffrage Party and in the process, started challenging laws that limited women’s participation in the political mechanism. Eventually she also became involved in the cause of disarmament and the quest for world peace. Later in her life, she earned immense repute as a fair-minded, pacifist judge, who simultaneously also worked her best to improve women’s legal rights.
Not many might know of these women, but their service towards humanity and mankind is undeniable. Had these women not dedicated their lives towards such philanthropic causes, perhaps the world today would not have been as it is today.