Ada Lovelace was a 19th century London mathematician, who is better known as the first computer programmer. She stepped in to help her friend, Charles Babbage (aka “The Father of Computers”), obtain investors by clearly articulating how the computer worked. She understood the significance of computers, and the impact they would have on the world.
Ada was the first to recognize that the computer had applications beyond pure calculation and published the first algorithm. As a result, she is regarded as the first person to realize the full potential of a "computing machine." Lovelace's notes contain the first computer program, an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine. Her notes are essential in the early history of computers. Ada Lovelace died at 37 of cancer.
Malala is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner of all time. She has become an icon in the battle for girls' rights to education. At the age of 15, the Taliban attempted to assassinate her, shooting her in the head for demanding an education.
Malala and her father, Ziauddin, founded the Malala Fund in 2013. It currently financially backs schools for girls in Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Syria. Malala and her father Ziauddin are still a target for the Taliban today.
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was an Indian politician, stateswoman, and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first and only (to date) female Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India.
Indira was the Prime Minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and again in 1980 until her assassination October 31, 1984. This also makes her the second-longest serving Indian Prime Minister after her father. She is influential in shaping post-war Indian constitution and society. The Gandhi family is still active today in the Indian parliament. Their goal is to shape society and creating laws that benefit all citizens.
Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental, political activist and Nobel laureate. She received her Ph.D. in 1971 and was an active member in Kenya's parliament from 2002 to 2007. She was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She significantly improved the economic and social status of Kenyan women in rural areas by combining women’s rights and environmentalism. Her work illuminated the connection between poverty, environmental desegregation, and power and gave women the tools to combat all three.
She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement in 1977 under the auspices of the National Council of Women of Kenya. The movement was a response to the needs of rural Kenyan women who reported that their streams were drying up, their food supply was less secure, and they had to walk further and further to get firewood for fuel and fencing.
Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005 (14 years) and was the defacto leader of the European Union during the global financial crisis. She is considered the most powerful woman in the world and the leader of the Free World. She obtained a doctorate in quantum chemistry in 1986. Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989 and briefly served as deputy spokesperson for the first democratically elected government in 1990.
She was then elected to the Bundestag for the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommem and was re-elected ever since. Following the 2005 federal election, Merkel was appointed Germany's first female Chancellor. In the 2013 federal election, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote. In the 2017 federal election, the CDU again became the largest party, and she was re-elected to her fourth term on March 14, 2018.
Catherine II AKA "Catherine the Great"
Catherine was born Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst and was Empress of Russia from 1762-1796, the country's longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d’état which she organized resulting in her husband, Peter III, being overthrown.
Under her reign, Russia was revitalized. It grew larger and stronger and became recognized as one of the great powers of Europe. Catherine brought in reforms to improve the welfare of serfs (an 'unfree' peasant of the Russian Empire).
Marie was born Maria Salomea Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland which was part of the Russian Empire in 1867. In 1891, Curie finally made her way to Paris and enrolled at the Sorbonne. She completed her master’s degree in physics in 1893 and earned another degree in mathematics the following year. In 1903, Curie received the Nobel Prize in Physics, along with her husband and Henri Becquerel, for their work in discovering radioactivity. In 1911, Curie won her second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry, for her discovery of radium and polonium.
This all lead to the discovery of x-rays, which are common in the medical field today. When World War I broke out in 1914, Curie devoted her time and resources to champion the use of portable x-ray machines in the field, and these medical vehicles earned the nickname "Little Curies." Marie Curie died on July 4th, 1934 of aplastic anemia, believed to be caused by prolonged exposure to radiation.
At the age of 19 months, Helen became deaf and blind. Overcoming the frustration of losing both sight and hearing, she campaigned tirelessly on behalf of deaf-blind people.
She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree at Harvard University. She traveled to 25 countries, giving speeches about deaf-blind people's conditions. In 1920, she helped found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Many of her speeches also supported women's right to vote.
Eva Peron aka "Evita"
Eva was an Argentine political activist. She was born in poverty, the youngest of five children. She met Colonel Juan Peron on January 22, 1944 during a charity event, and the two were married the following year. Eva Peron served as First Lady and wife of Argentine President Juan Peron from 1945 until her death of cancer in 1952.
She campaigned on behalf of the poor and less privileged and was adored by her countrymen. Eva Peron's life is well documented in the famous musical Evita by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth is an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. Ginsberg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice after Sandra Day O'Connor, and following O'Connor's retirement, Ginsburg was the only female justice on the Supreme Court.
During that time, Ginsberg became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and the popular culture. She has campaigned tirelessly for women's equal rights both in the legal system and in civil society. Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life is documented in the 2018 movie On The Basis of Sex.