5 Inspiring Women in History You Should Know About

Charlotte Maxwell

Charlotte Maxwell is a Vada Magazine staff writer.

Latest posts by Charlotte Maxwell (see all)

Women don’t always get the credit they’re due. Often, the successes and achievements of women are obscured by men and institutions. But we thought we’d try and remedy that.

Here’s a list of five inspiring women, designed to celebrate some of the unsung heroes and lesser heard stories from history. Some are more well known than others and their efforts varied in reach, however all are inspirational in some way.

In this list we focus on cis women from the second half of the 20th Century. Expect a follow-up soon! We’re also looking for your suggestions, so please add them to the comments below.

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1 Clara Hale

Clara Hale was an American humanitarian who founded the Hale House, a sanctuary for drug-addicted and HIV/AIDS-infected babies in New York. In 1986, she was awarded the Living Legacy award from the Women’s International Centre. The award honours women who have made important contributions to humanity.

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2 Bobbi Gibb

In 1966, Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. She ran without a number because women were not allowed to enter the race. Women weren’t considered strong enough to run a marathon. The police ran after her and tried to arrest her. She finished in the first third of the competitors.

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3 Carolina de Jesus

Carolina de Jesus lived in a shack in a São Paulo slum. Despite only attaining a 2nd grade education, she loved to write. She kept a journal documenting slum life, which was later discovered by a journalist, published and became a best-seller. It has since been translated into 14 languages.

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4 Daisy Bates

Daisy Bates was a civil rights activist, publisher and journalist. In 1957, she assisted nine African American students to become the first to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock. The students became known as the Little Rock Nine.

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5 Kim Phuc

Kim Phuc was horribly burned with napalm, running from an air attack in the Vietnam War in June of 1972. The image of her running naked from the attack was one of the turning points in the War, shifting public opinion.

Kim has since set up The Kim Foundation International and is as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO.

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