Today is International Women’s day and to celebrate we are chronicling five women who have achieved remarkable feats. Although women’s history is much more than talking about a string of “firsts.” These women have fought for equal rights and demanded to be treated equally as they chartered new territory in fields of science, art, politics, entrepreneurship and beyond.
Below are a few of the trailblazers who boldly broke barriers to move beyond expectations and are alive to impact and share their stories.
Katherine Johnson ( 1918 – )
African-American physicist and mathematician. Katherine made several contributions to the United States’ aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. Known for accuracy in computerized celestial navigation, she conducted technical work at NASA that spanned decades. During this time, she calculated the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency backup return paths for many flights from Project Mercury, including the early NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon, through the Space Shuttle program. In 2016, she was awarded the national medal of freedom by ex-president Obama, and in 2017, Hidden Figures a biographical movie about her won an Oscar.
Oprah Winfrey (1954– )
American talk show host and businesswoman. Oprah Winfrey was the first woman to own her own talk show. Her show and book club are very influential, focusing on issues facing American women. She remains one of the richest black women in the world and has managed to use her platform and voice to speak against several pressing issues.
Tara Fela-Durotoye (1977 – )
Nigerian makeup artist and lawyer. Tara is regarded as a pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria. She launched the first bridal directory in 1999, set up international standard makeup studios and established the first makeup school in Nigeria. She is the founder and CEO of House of Tara International and creator of the Tara Orekelewa Makeup, Inspired Perfume and the H.I.P Beauty range.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (1977 – )
Nigerian novelist, nonfiction writer, and short story writer. A MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and foremost feminist, Chimamanda is one of the most celebrated Nigerian novelists of this generation and has succeeded in attracting a new generation of readers to the African literature.
Malala Yousafzai (1997– )
Pakistani schoolgirl who defied threats of the Taliban to campaign for the right to education. She survived being shot in the head by the Taliban and has become a global advocate for women’s rights, especially the right to education.