In the centuries of development of human civilization, mankind has grown from hunter and gatherers to the modern, globalized world of today. Despite the impressive progress human beings have made in technology, healthcare and civil society, the world is still plagued with social evil and social justice issues. At the root of these issues lies inequalities rooting from discrimination, instability, war and oppression.

Gender inequality is one such social justice issue that has existed for centuries due to discrimination and oppression against women. This inequality has oppressed women and restricted their freedom and participation in civil society. However, women have risen to occasion and strived bravely for equal rights and opportunities. From the past universal suffrage movement to the current movement for equal pay, women have fought for their rights and responsibilities and flourished in different areas and fields of life as they gained and continue to gain more and more freedom.

On the occasion of Women’s History Month that happens annually for the duration of March, let us honor some of the more prominent female figures throughout history:

Rosa Parks

The black woman who is infamously seen as one of the early symbols of black resistance against white oppression in the face of the discriminatory racial segregation system that hurt many African-american people.

Marie Curie

A brilliant scientist who made unbelievable breakthroughs in the study of radioactivity and set a stepping stone to what became the current treatment for cancer.

Amelia Earhart

The first woman aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic and from Hawaii to US who has opened up greater opportunities for aspiring aviators.

Diana, the princess of Wales

Named the princess of people, Diana had partook in many humanitarian and social endeavors to use her status for a good cause and bring attention to various issues.

Jane Austen

One of the most mentioned names in literature whose works have posed social critique of the British landed gentry, and female dependence on marriage for social Security and status.

Harriet Tubman

A political activist and an American abolitionist, Tubman was an enslaved black woman who escaped and became a prominent participant in the Underground railroad who then went on 13 rescue missions to save almost 70 enslaved people.

Mother Teresa

A figure of kindness and service, Teresa was a catholic nun who went on to spend her life caring for and providing service to the destitute through opening soup kitchens, health camps etc.

Malala Yousafzai

An activist and the youngest nobel prize laureate, Malala gained recognition and respect due to her childhood activism and standing against the Taliban by supporting girls’ right to education.

Maya Angelou

An American poet, civil rights activist and scholar, is known for her unique writing and participation in social dialogue. She is also a filmmaker, dancer and more.

Many such brilliant women are only recently gaining necessary education and opportunities. While the projected goal of Gender equality seems highly unlikely to be met by 2030, there still has been significant progress in terms of provision of education and acknowledgement of contributions of women.

As individuals we can play our part by disseminating necessary information, breaking down stereotypes that hold back women, and encouraging and celebrating women in all their capacity and growth. This must happen as a continuous effort in our daily lives and beyond a single day that marks an occasion of International Women’s Day.

We as a society will only excel when all genders, races, castes and ethnicities have equal opportunities.