Here at Girls With Ideas, we work to ensure that the future female leaders of this world feel well-equipped to take on the challenges and greatness that awaits them. However, we would not be here today if it weren’t for the work of many courageous women with ideas that have paved the way for us. Let’s take a look at some of the fabulous women that have changed the world and moved ideas forward.
1. Ada Lovelace
1815 - 1852
We use computers almost every day, but have you ever stopped to wonder who helped in the creation of it? Ada Lovelace was a gifted mathematician and is considered to be the first computer programmer. She teamed up with Charles Babbage, who is credited with creating the first ever computer, to create a translation code that allows computers to translate both numbers and letters. In an industry dominated by men, Ada Lovelace excelled and made an impact on the world for generations to come.
2. Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, served as the First Lady of the United States for 12 years. At the time, Eleanor was a controversial First Lady for speaking out about gender and race issues. She was the first First Lady to hold regular press conferences, write newspaper and magazine columns, host a weekly radio show, and speak at a national party convention. After the death of her husband, Eleanor continued to be involved in politics, even serving as the first United Nations delegate from the United States. She gave a voice to the voiceless and consistently challenged roadblocks that were put in her path. At the time of her death, the New York Times regarded her as “one of the most esteemed women in the world”.
3. Oprah Winfrey
1954 - Present
One of the most famous TV personalities of our time, Oprah Winfrey has changed the world with her ideas since she was only 19-years-old. As a teenager, she began co-anchoring the local evening news and soon began a career in daytime talk shows, where she became an incredibly influential woman. She is known for breaking both gender and race barriers, becoming the richest African-American woman in the world and the “greatest black philanthropist in American history.” She has shared her difficult life story on many occasions, encouraging others to face challenges with adversity. She currently is the owner of several media companies and commits her life to philanthropic work.
4. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1933 - Present (long live Ruth!)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg currently works as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and has served ever since. Before assuming office, Ruth worked as a professor at Rutgers School of Law and Columbia Law school. She also worked as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and was appointed to their board of directors. After becoming a judge for the Supreme Court, Ruth used her power to advocate for the rights of women as a constitutional principle. She continues to serve today, and at age 77, does not have plans to retire any time soon.
5. Malala Yousafzai
1997 - Present
Briefly mentioned in our curriculum, Malala Yousafzai is an idea girl that we love. She is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Prize. When she was just 11-years-old, she wrote a blog for BBC under a pseudonym detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the region she lived in, and the lack of access to education for young women. Three years later, she was shot while boarding a bus to school. She had a long road to recovery, but afterwards used her voice to promote her views across the world. Now she works as an activist for the right to education, specifically for females, and travels around the world speaking about her experiences.
There have been many women who moved their ideas forward, but these are just a few. Each of these women decided to push through the challenges of being a female in society and make their own impact on the world. They spoke out about their ideas and have made impacts that we can feel years later.