Laurel Thatcher Ulrich said: Well–behaved women rarely make history.
I recently found a website outlining 50 Women who have changed the world: http://www.biographyonline.net/people/women-who-changed-world.html
Some of my absolute favorites:
1) Cleopatra – I read her biography by Stacy Schiff — the more accurate the story is to history, the more in awe I am of the last Ptolemaic ruler. She ruled Egypt and, whether ancient Roman history wants to admit it or not, Rome. Resourceful, Determined, Ambitious, Confident, Cunning… History-maker.
2) Mirabai – In a culture where women’s choices are nonexistent, that requires she walk a certain path, it can be scary to move against this and chart a path that’s her own. Even other women will stand against her. Mirabai appeals to the true hippie in my heart — the girl who longs to live an unconventional lifestyle. Independent, Courageous, Spiritual, Anti-Establishment, Devoted… History-maker.
3) Mary Wollstonecraft – One of those people I always say I would have liked to meet (you know, when you get that past, present, future question — most people say Martin Luther King, JFK, Kim Kardashian, or President Obama). “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” forever changed my life when I read it in college. I credit Wollstonecraft and Susan B. Anthony for the personal compass I built in those early years. There is truly a clear moral (not to mention economically compelling) reason why all people in a society should be treated equally and provided equal opportunities. Activist, Big Mouth, Feminist, Moralist, Intellectual…. History-maker.
4) Rosa Parks – the Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement, what more can anyone say. Brave, Committed, Steadfast, Change-maker…History-maker.
5) Madonna – Taught us all that a woman has a right to her sexuality. Her songs made us women (and our gays) come out of the shadows and dance. Madge changed pop music in a way that is still realized through the artists who continue to come after her. Yet her essence can never be captured by these imitators — my love for Madonna reminds me of a line from a poem by Oscar Wilde: “I have never seen any rose like it in all my life”, she is truly a rare rose. Colorful, Sexy, Creative, Chart-topping, Trendsetter… History-maker.
Here’s to all the women who have made and will make history. Thanks for acting badly, thanks for breaking the rules. Well done.