The highlight for the month of March is to increase appreciation of Women’s History Month, so let’s take the time to give credit where it’s due to some of the most amazing women who have impacted our lives and made a difference to the human race.
Here is a list of women who have influenced me in my life’s mission and who I most admire for their strengths, ambitions and unique talents.
Marie Curie, born in 1867 was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. In fact she won it twice and she was the first woman to earn a Doctorate in Europe. Her research led to the discovery of radioactivity as well as the element, radium. She was one of the first to suggest using radiation to treat cancer.
Margaret Sanger was born in 1879 and founded the American Birth Control League, which later became Planned Parenthood. She was the sixth of 11 children and she believed that frequent pregnancies hastened her mother’s early death, so Margaret Sanger worked as a Birth Control Advocate.
Helen Keller was born in 1880 blind and deaf by a childhood illness and was freed from her isolation by the extraordinary efforts of her dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan who suffered from impaired vision herself. Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a college degree, become an author, lecturer, human rights campaigner and pacifist, changing forever our ideas about what disabled people could accomplish.
Helen Gurley Brown was born in 1922 best known as the Author of the 1962 mega best-seller Sex and the Single Girl and editor of Cosmopolitan for 32 years. Helen Gurley Brown was a sexual revolutionary as she was an outspoken advocate for women’s sexual freedom long before the idea went mainstream or was acceptable.
Ann Landers & Abigail Van Buren were twins born in 1918 who became famous for writing the most popular newspaper advice columns in America offering candid help to people with issues on love, romance, intimacy, sexuality, alcoholism, tolerance and acceptance. They were pioneers in the field of counseling people anonymously and helping those who cannot afford to seek a professional counselor.
Jane Goodall, born in 1934 is considered to be the world’s foremost expert in animal behavior working in Africa has done more to detail the life of the chimpanzee than any other person. Her research led to the facts that DNA in chimpanzees and humans differs by less than two percent and the immune system is so similar that chimpanzees and humans can be infected with many of the same contagious diseases.
Dr. Ruth, a Holocaust survivor born in 1928 pioneered speaking frankly about sexual matters in the media. She is a psychosexual therapist, the author of over thirty-five books, videos, TV and radio shows, professor at N.Y.U and Honorary President of the Council on Sexuality and Aging at the National Sexuality Resource Center. She is also well known for her wonderful sense of humor, a much needed quality when talking about sexual taboos and continues to work as a worldwide speaker.
Dr. Helen Fisher, born in 1945 is a Biological Anthropologist and Research Professor at the Center for Human Evolution Studies in the Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Internet dating site, Chemistry.com, a division of Match.com. She has conducted extensive research and written five books on the evolution and future of human sex, love, marriage, gender differences in the brain and how your personality type shapes who you are and who you love.
Barbara Walters born in 1929 was the first woman to co-anchor a network’s nightly news show on TV and earn a record $1 million a year. She has been interviewing the world’s most intriguing people since 1993 with her annual special. Barbara Walters co-created her own TV daytime talk show, The View and she has been awarded the Emmy for best Talk Show Host. Barbara Walters has written her memoirs and is still one of the most famous American Broadcast Journalists.
Gloria Steinem, born in 1934 is a feminist writer and activist who co-founded Ms. magazine and became a prominent political figure at the National Women’s Political Caucus, where she dared to use the f word (feminist!) to assure women equal rights, protections, and opportunities under the law. Gloria Steinem co-founded the Coalition of Labor Union for Women, worked for civil rights for minorities, is a staunch advocate of reproductive freedom, supports same-sex marriage and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.
Madonna, born Louis Cicconi, in 1958 worked as a waitress and went to New York to learn modern dance. Madonna became one of the most important feminist figures of all time as well as an international superstar, actress, writer, influential fashion and attitudes to life icon who refused to let religious guilt and shame deprive her of her own sexual liberation.
Oprah Winfrey born 1954 in poverty has become the most powerful woman in show business with her own TV network aptly called, OWN. Oprah accomplished her greatness by standing up for women of color and for all women in need of guidance. Oprah is a philanthropist, producer, actress, TV host and one of the most influential women in the world.
Eve Ensler was born in 1953 is a playwright, performer and activist. As the creator of The Vagina Monologues, which is a memorable and powerful play, she has raised more than $75 million for global programs working to end violence against women and girls. Through her V-Day organization, Eve Ensler is currently focusing awareness on the Democratic Republic of Congo, the most dangerous place in the world to be female.
Lady Gaga born in 1986 is the youngest woman on this list and perhaps the most influential to the younger generation. She is a talented songwriter, singer, dancer, fashionista and LGBT advocate. Lady Gaga uses her fame to educate young people about the risks of HIV and AIDS, promoting the use of condoms. She is already a philanthropist who contributes to various charities and humanitarianism works such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Who are the women that have most influenced your life and helped you to become the person you are today?