This month we celebrate International Women’s day!
In light of this special theme, we want to look to the past about those female pioneers who have, for one reason or another, changed the world we live in today and gave their contribution in the international business scenery…
1. MICHELLE OBAMA
Mrs Obama juggles between being the wife of one of the most influential American presidents in history, mother of two, lawyer, community activist and social rights advocate. Through her leadership, Michelle inspires American citizens as well the entire world. Michelle does not only serve as a role model to young people, particularly young African American women, she is also committed to ending childhood obesity and improving nutrition.
What makes her an inspirational woman is the fact that she worked closely with schools, researchers, nutritionists to fight the childhood obesity epidemic, putting her heart and enthusiasm into the cause, like we do at Piccolo!
2. COCO CHANEL
Arguably the most influential fashion designer of all time, Coco Chanel revolutionised the idea of “women’s fashion”, getting rid of all those stereotypes on how women should dress. Although during the war women often had to wear trousers when working in traditionally male jobs, Chanel played a huge part in accelerating their popularity as a fashion item. Coco was also one of the first to borrow from menswear for women’s attire when she created her iconic suits: the outfit was the perfect choice for the post-war woman who was trying to build a career in a men-dominated reality.
Thank you, Coco, for being an example for fashion designers, women and men alike!
3. EMMELINE PANKHURST
Pankhurst was a leading British women’s rights activist, who led the movement to win the right for women to vote. Emmeline founded the Women’s Franchise League, which fought to allow married women to vote in local elections. Emmeline also helped found Women’s Social and Political Union, whose members were the first to be christened ‘suffragettes’. Emmeline fought all her life to gain voting rights for women, who, at that point in history didn’t really have a voice in anything. Emmeline died in 1928, shortly after women were granted equal voting rights with men.
4. BILLIE JEAN KING
Top-ranked women’s tennis player in the 60’s, Billie Jean is the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and the co-founder of World Team Tennis (WTT), and a pioneer for women and LGBT community. Appointed Global Mentor for Gender Equality by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2008, received the NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award in 2009, honoured with Major League Baseball’s Beacon of Change Award in 2010 and named to the Presidential Delegation to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Billie Jean King is inspirational because, throughout her legendary sports career, she created new inroads for both genders in and out of sports.
5. FRIDA KAHLO
Admired as a feminist icon, Frida Kahlo began painting after she was severely injured in a bus accident. Kahlo later became politically active and as well as a talented artist. Since her death, Kahlo’s fame as an artist has grown. Her imagery and style were very original, dramatic, and brave. Kahlo was defined by her husband as “the only woman who has expressed in her work an art of the feelings, functions, and a creative power”. Indeed, Frida had the ability to communicate her emotions to the world through her painting. She was an amazing woman, unique painter, and an example of strength.
6. OPRAH WINFREY
Oprah used her ‘The Oprah Winfrey show’ as a medium to make her voice and the voice of others heard. She made people think, talk and share their feelings and manifest emotions. Her story is truly inspirational as she overcame a sexual abuse, racism, and poverty to become today one of the richest and most powerful women in the entertainment industry. Oprah has been an active contributor to many social causes, namely providing a better education for disadvantaged students, fighting baby abandonment and abuse, and helping young girls become the leaders of tomorrow. Oprah has broken through cultural, geographical and gender barriers, letting the world know it’s not your circumstances, but your heart that determines how far you go in this world.
7. MARY QUANT
Born in 1934 in London, Quant achieved a diploma in art education and went on to become an apprentice couture milliner, at which point she began designing and manufacturing clothes. Convinced that fashion needed to be affordable to be accessible to the young, she opened her own retail boutique. She introduced the “Chelsea look”, whose white plastic collars used to brighten up black dresses or T-shirts and black stretch leggings were the best selling items. Quant has claimed that she did not invent the miniskirt, but, rather, the girls who visited her shops did, as they wanted them shorter and shorter. Mary Quant: a great artist who gave women a little bit more freedom.
8. MARGARET THATCHER
The first female prime minister of Britain, Margaret Thatcher was a controversial figurehead of conservative ideology during her time in office. Nicknamed the “Iron Lady,” Thatcher served as the prime minister of England from 1979 to 1990. She was best known for her destruction of Britain’s traditional industries through her attacks on labour organisations, and for the massive privatisation of social housing and public transport. Margaret Thatcher died on April 2013, at the age of 87. Thatcher’s policies and actions continue to be debated by detractors and supporters alike, illustrating the indelible impression that she has left on Britain and nations worldwide.
9. J.K ROWLING
As a single mother, J.K. Rowling began to write stories about a young wizard in a coffee shop and ended up building one of the top-selling literary works ever. She has inspired movies, books and theme parks that have earned more than £5 billion. J.K. Rowling is unique in that her work is more famous than she is, and her contribution to the literature world has almost nothing to do with her own identity. Harry Potter is the figure that captured the imagination of and inspired millions of children.
She occasionally makes kind gestures to those in need, and her stories have helped millions of people through difficult times. Rowling founded an NGO, which works to ensure all children grow up in a protected and caring environment
10. QUEEN ELIZABETH II
The Queen has been married for 68 years, which is longer than any other British monarch. Her coronation was aired in 1953 and more than 20 million people witnessed it. During her reign, there has been 12 UK Prime Ministers, seven Archbishops of Canterbury and seven Popes. Throughout her life she has visited more than 177 countries, she has sat for 130 official portraits and in 2012 she became the second British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee. In 2015 she became the UK’s longest reigning monarch. The Queen Elizabeth II attracts millions of tourists to the UK every year for her prestige, her personal discretion and nobility. The royal household must be the tightest ship of state on earth.
A big thank you to these women because if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be where we are today- stronger than ever.
Happy International Women’s day from Piccolo!