International Women's Day is celebrated every year on the 8th of March. It is a day to reflect upon and celebrate the achievements of women around the globe, from past to present; to reinforce the importance of activism, to keep pushing for gender equality and the support of all women's rights. The international holiday began 111 years ago at the 1910 International Socialist Women's Conference, and was proposed by German delegates Clara Zetkin, Kate Duncker, Paula Thiede amongst others.
Join Timeless today as we celebrate some of the worlds most brave and influential women, whose activism has left a lasting impact on the world, opened eyes and inspired men and women alike to raise their voices in the face of inequality.
Emmeline Pankhurst was a female activist, best remembered for organising the UK suffragette movement and helping gain women the right to vote. In 1889 she founded the Women's Franchise League, which fought to allow married women to vote in local elections. In 1903 she helped form the more militant Women's Social and Political Union, an organisation that gained much attention for its activities and whose members were the first to be named 'suffragettes. She sacrificed much of her life to the cause and was even put in life threatening situations. Like many suffragettes, she was arrested on numerous occasions and went on hunger strikes while imprisoned.
Mary Seacole was a British-Jamaican nurse during the Crimean War (1853-56). After volunteering her nursing services to the cause, she was denied, and subsequently faced with racial discrimination. Seacole proceeded to defy social rules and prejudices by travelling to Crimea independently, risking her life to help those in need.
Hedy Lamarr was a well known silver screen star through the late 1930's and 40's. But did you know that she was also an inventor? At the beginning of World War II, Lamarr and composer George Anthveil were responsible for developing the ''secret communication system'', a radio guidance system using frequency hopping. The technology prevented enemies from intercepting classified messages, it wasn't adopted by the US Navy until 1957. The important invention is still relevant today and has been used in relation to Bluetooth and Wi-fi developments.
Rosa Parks was an African-American activist during the 1950's. She is best remembered for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott in December 1955. This was a political and social protest campaign against the racial segregation policy on the public transport system of Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign ended with the arrest of Rosa Parks, after she refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. She is now widely known as ''the first lady of civil rights'' and ''the mother of the freedom movement''.
Did you know that the Breakfast At Tiffany's star, Audrey Hepburn, was also a humanitarian widely known for her work with UNICEF. She became a UNICEF ambassador and dedicated much of her life to helping children in need in various countries. Between 1988 and 1992, she worked in some of the poorest communities of Africa, South America and Asia. In December 1992, she received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work.
Laverne Cox is an American actress and LGBTQ+ advocate, best known for her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix show Orange is the New Black. Sophia's storyline in the show, helped open discussion on the struggles and discrimination that trans women face. Since then Cox has been actively involved in advocating for trans rights and acceptance: ''As long as we are living in a culture where one has to prove their womanhood or manhood, we are not living in a free culture''. She became the first openly transgender woman to be on the cover of Time Magazine and to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.
Malala Yousafzai is a female activist well known for her human rights advocacy, particularly for women and children's access to education in her hometown in northwest Pakistan, where the local Pakistani Taliban had banned girl from attending school. In 2012 at the age of 15, she survived an assassination attempted by the Taliban who targeted her on her school bus. Since then she has become a prominent advocate for young children's education rights, and was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
Happy International Women's Day from all of us at Timeless London. As well as reflecting on the achievements of inspirational figures such as those we have featured; remember to celebrate your own successes and those of the women in your life, today and every day!