It’s the 8th March and that means it’s International Women’s Day!  Today is a chance for everyone, whether you are a woman or not, to celebrate the achievements of women everywhere.  Women have struggled to become equal in society for centuries and it is still a struggle for many today.  Throughout history many of women’s achievements and involvment in key events has been played down or wiped out completely from the record books.  Women in many countries in the past have been opressed into servitude, being told that their only duty is to be a wife and mother and that they cannot be educated and get a job or be equal to a man.  Because of this past, it is important that we now celebrate the achievements of women everywhere.  Theese days there are more opportunities for women and there are some very inpirational women who we can all look up to.

The world is still not an equal place for women.  In some countries women still face the same oppression that those in the west did in the past while in our modern societies there are still issues of equal pay and equal representation in certain professions.  But with International Women’s Day it’s a chance to celebrate women in every part of the globe!  It’s a time to remember what women of the past have done, to be thankful for the achievements we have made so far and to push our world to recognise, respect and celebrate women for all their achievements, no matter how big or small.

Women are wonderful!

If you think of women in history you may think of the rulers of the world, those like Queen Elizabeth I who successfully ruled England and faced up to many plots to throw her off the throne and showed how women are strong at being leaders.  If you want to think about women who changed history instead you may think of Emmeline Pankhurst or Rosa Parks, women whose actions led to changes in how people saw both women and those of different races.  There are many well known women in history who have done some great things.  But there are also women who are not so well known about, but whose achievements are no less great.  For example, have you ever heard of:

Rosalind Franklin – Born in 1920 Rosalind Franklin, having studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, was analyzing DNA molecules using X-rays.  One of these X-rays that she had taken showed the DNA molecule, and its helix-like structure.  Her image was shown, without her knowledge, to two men, James Watson and Francis Crick to help them in their own research.  Crick and Watson, along with another man Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of the structure of DNA.  They couldn’t have done it without Rosalind Franklin’s own research, but she was not recognised for her contribution to the discovery.

Claudette Colvin – Most of us have heard of Rosa Parks, the black woman who sat on the bus during the times of segregation in America, and refused to give up her seat to a white person.  But nine months before Rosa’s brave act, another woman did the same thing.  Claudette Colvin was born in 1939 in Montgomery, Alabama.  As a teenager, in March 1955, Claudette was only fifteen years old when she sat on a bus where there was seggregation.  Once the bus had filled with seated white people, in the white person section, black people were expected to give up their seats for any other white people who boarded the bus.  When a white person got on the bus that Claudette was sitting on, the bus driver told her to move, but Claudette refused to give up her seat.  The bus driver insisted but Claudette stayed put.  Even after repeated warnings she was eventually handcuffed and arrested by police.  Claudette was one of the witnesses called in the Browder vs Gayle trial which found that seggregation on buses was unconstitutional.  Claudette’s participation in the trial and her earlier refusal to move from her seat helped end the seggregation on Montgomery’s buses.

Andrée de Jongh – Born in 1916, Andrée de Jongh was a member of the Belgium Resistence during the Second World War.  After Belgium was invaded in 1940, Andrée moved to Brusseles where she became a Red Cross voluteer and helped in looking after Allied troops who were injured.  She visited sick and injured soldiers in safe-houses and met with those who ran the safe-houses who wanted to help the troops get back to Britain somehow.  In 1941 with help from her father, Andrée set up a network for Allied troops to escape.  This became known as the Comet Line and took the soldiers on a dangerous course through France.  The men were given civilian clothes and false IDs and Andrée personally led many of the troops through the escape network herself.  Although Andrée was later caught and inprisoned for the rest of the war, she did survive.  Her brave work during the war helped save the lives of hundreds of Allied soldiers.

Celebrating women today!

There are many more women who have made history and who are less well known, and there are those who are very well known about.  But celebrating women doesn’t have to be about celebrating the great and well known women.  International Women’s Day is all about celebrating all women.  If you want to celebrate the day, then why not think about a teacher who’s inspired you.  Or maybe your mum is an inspiration for all the wonderful things she does.  Maybe a friend of yours is someone you admire and look up to, or maybe you want to be that inspirational woman yourself one day.

However big or small the achievements of women, women everywhere should be celebrated for who they are.  We’ve fought years of oppresion and discrimination and although there are some ways in which we still need to fight for equality, there are also many things to be proud of and celebrate.  My mum is one person who inpires me.  She has always made me believe i can be whoever I want to be in life and has always supported me whenever I’ve done something new, and she’s always been there for me, no matter what.  Who is an inspirational woman in your life?

Would you like to see more posts about inspirational women in future?  I am interested in posting more interresting and factual stuff on my blog (things I find out and facinate me) but want to know if you would be interested?  Let me know below…

Many sources online have been used to cross-reference my facts including Wikipedia.

-Read – International Women’s Day – Women Heroes of History

Are you celebrating International Women’s Day?  Which women inspire you?  Have you heard of any of the women mentioned above?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂