For thousands of years, women have been discriminated against and held back by our patriarchal society. Despite that, these women have gone against all odds and created the greatest female achievements in history.
Women’s Achievements in History:
- Fatima al-Fihri, 857–859 AD. The first person and woman to establish a university. More than 1,000 years ago, a Muslim lady from Tunisia named Fatima al-Fihri established the first institution of higher learning in human history, the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco. It is recognized as the oldest continuously running educational institution in the world by Guinness World Records.
- Marie Curie, 1867–1934. The first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person ever and the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes was Polish-French scientist and chemist Marie Sklodowska Curie. She found new elements, polonium, and radium while researching uranium’s rays. To characterize them, she also created the phrase “radio-active.” The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Curie in 1903 for her study of radiation phenomena. Additionally, she was the first female professor at the Sorbonne and the first woman in France to receive a Ph.D. in physics. She received a second chemistry Nobel Prize in 1911 for discovering polonium and radium.
- Rosa Parks, 1913–2005. Rosa Parks, an African American residing in Montgomery, Alabama, is one of the important figures in fighting racism in the United States. By refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in 1955, protested the practice of racial segregation in the US. Many other African Americans joined her in supporting her protest, which ignited the civil rights movement that secured equal rights in the 1960s.
- Amelia Earhart, 1897–c1937. Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932, and during the next five years, she continued to set new marks for flying and speed. She began flying at the age of 24 in 1921, and the following year, when she climbed to 14,000 feet, she broke the women’s altitude record. She started a round-the-world journey in June 1937, becoming the first person to fly from the Red Sea to India; however, on July 2, she went missing near Howland Island in the Pacific. Earhart was proclaimed dead in absentia in 1939, and her disappearance remains one of history’s greatest mysteries.
- Bertha Benz. The first woman to drive a car in history is Bertha Ringer, better known today as Bertha Benz. Bertha drove the automobile with her 15-year-old son Eugen and her younger brother Richard on August 5, 1888, while her husband slept unaware. Bertha traveled by car from her home in Mannheim City to Pforzheim, where she was born. Bertha Benz stayed with her family for three days in Pforzheim. When she arrived, the automobile had immediately garnered notoriety, with many people referring to it as a miracle. It’s interesting to note that Bertha operated the automobile without Karl knowing because he avoided bragging about his accomplishments out of respect for religious customs. It was till mid of 1886, that Karl only revealed his invention.