Based on previous researchs I listed 15 of the most influential women in history due to their work in science, politics and arts. As I couldn’t equalize the achievements of different fields, I listed five of the most important according to the field of work of each one them.
5. Lise Meitner (1878-1968)
An excellent student of math and physics, earned her doctorate in 1906. She collaborated with Otto Hahn to the study of radiactive elements but she was excluded from the labs and lectures, due to her condition of Jewish woman in the Nazy Germany. Hahn and Maitner discovered that uranium atoms were split when bombarded neutron, she calculated the energy release and named the phenomenon “nuclear fission”. Hahn won the Nobel Prize in 1994, but Meitner was excluded from this recognition. She spent most of her life in Stockholm after her escape from Nazy Germany (Zielinski, 2011).
4. Barbara Mc Clintock (1902-1992)
Pioneered the study of genetics of corn cells. And after observing the coloration patterns of corn kernels over generation of plants. She found that genes move within chromosomes. But was after she improved her techniques in the 1970’s that she confirmed the theory of “jumping genes”. She was a Nobel Prize laureate in 1983 for her contribution in genetics (Zielinski, 2011).
3. Dorothy Hodgkin (1919-1994)
When she turned 18 years old, she enrolled in one of Oxford’s women’s colleges and studied chemistry, after that studied X-ray crystallography in Cambridge. However, she spend most of her life studying and teaching chemistry in Oxford. She determined the structures of insulin, vitamin B12 and penicillin through X-ray crystallography. She was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1964 (Zielinski, 2011).
2. Rosalind Franklin
She determined the structure of DNA through X-ray crystallography. However, James Watson and Francis Crick got all the credit and won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Franklin died of cancer in 1958 (Zielinski, 2011).
1. Marie Curie
Most famous female scientist in history. She worked with her husband Pierre Curie, and both discovered polonium (named for Marie’s homeland- Poland) and radium (named from the latin word for ray) in 1898 (Marie Curie and the radioactivity, 2016).
5. Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
Named ” Mother of the Modern- Day Civil rights Movement” was an African American civil rights activist. She became famous for refusing to obey the bus driver order of give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. This action triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott to prominence in the civil rights movement. When she died in 2005, her casket was transported from Detroit to Washington D.C to lie in honor in the U.S Rotunda. That made Parks the fisrt woman and the second African American ever to recieve this honor) (Ratner, 2016).
4. Hatshepsut, Queen of Egypt Reign 1479 BD to 1458 BC
Is regarded as one of the most succesful female pharaohs. She reigned longer than any other woman in Egyptian dynasty . She made Egypt wealth with different policies: she reestablished the trade networks that were disrupted during Hykos occupation. Also commissioned hundreds of construction projects that were more numerous and greather than her predecessors. There is also evidence that she led successful military campaigns in nubia, Syria and the Levant. However, her policy was mainly peaceful (Ratner, 2016).
3. Catherine II (The great)
Was Empress of Russian for 34 years until her death, acting as a deespot. She extended the borders of the Russian Empire to absorb New Russia, Crimea, Belarus, Lithuania, part of Ukraine and Courland at the expense of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. She is the responsible of one of the biggest defeats in Turkish history after the first Russo- Turkish war in 1768. Under her reign, Russia had the greatest evolution in arts of history (Ratner, 2016).
2. Empress Wu Zetian (624- 705)
Known as a patron of Buddhism, was the only female Emperor in Chinese history, lived during Tang Dynasty. She expanded Chinese empire, gave it economic wealth, and was the responsible for an educational reform. She was accused by some detractors of cruelty, until the point of killing her daughter and son caused by a political intrigue (Ratner, 2016).
1. Elizabeth I (1533-1603)
Called the “Virgin Queen” was one of the most powerful English monarchs in history. During her era she defeated the Spanish Armada and gave wealth to England. She encouraged major cultural changes such as the Reinaissance and the transformation of England into a Protestant country (Ratner, 2016).
5. Jane Austen (1775-1817)
One of the most renowned English authors, is known for her six completed novels (translated into multiple languages) that turned in television shows, motion pictures and modern adaptations (Jane Austen, 2o17).
4. Harriet Powers (1837-1910)
Was an African- American freed slave who created amazing storytellings in quilt-making. This masterpieces were pieced together, sewn and embroidered by hand (Winkler, 2016).
3. Maya Angelou (1928-2014)
She was a very successful author, poet, historian, songwriter, playright, director, performer, screen producer and civil rights activist. She was best known for her seven autobiography books. However, she wrote other volumes of poetry such as Just Guve Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie (Random House, 1971) that was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Among other achievements she was the first black woman director in Hollywood and was twice nominated for a Tony award for acting (Maya Agelou, 2017 ).
2. Fridha Kalho (1907-1954)
A Mexican surrealist painter, is widely known for her colored and strange self-portraits. At age of 18 she was in a bus accident, which left her with lasting effects on her body such as lifetime pain episodes. She painted over 140 paintings, that reflect how influenced she was by Mexican culture. Her work was filled with emotion and passion product of her ideals, struggles and feelings (Winkler, 2016).
1. Marianne North (1830-1890)
Was a biologist and botanical artist who painted during the Victorian era. She traveled the world with her father, studying plants and painting them as well. After her fathers death, she continued traveling all the continents, and painting the natural world as most as she could. She brought a huge important value to biology thanks to her documents and paintings, studying the natural world. Many plants have been named in her honor like the entire genus of plants named Northia (Winkler, 2016).
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