Here are 10 powerful women in history that shaped our world

Learn about influential women in history in honor of Women’s History Month

FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2008, file photo, poet Maya Angelou smiles at an event in Washington. On Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, the United States Mint said it has begun shipping quarters featuring the image of poet Maya Angelou, the first coins in its American Women Quarters Program. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Gerald Herbert, Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

ORLANDO, Fla. – With it being Women’s History Month, it is important to look back and recognize the women that were the stepping stone in creating a better future.

Below is a list of 10 women throughout history that paved the way for many today.

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1. Rosa Parks

Playing a pivotal role in the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks inspired many Black community leaders then and her legacy continues to inspire people now. Refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery bus in 1955 led to a monumental moment in history. This single action was the start of a trickling effect that caused other major events, like the Montgomery Bus Boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parks is still recognized as a symbol of strength and perseverance throughout the nation.

2. Junko Tabei

Junko Tabei was a Japanese mountaineer, author and teacher, most known for being the first woman to conquer Mount Everest. She was also the first woman to climb the highest peak of every continent, the Seven Summits. Tabei wrote a book about her life experiences and her inspirational journey.

3. Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin was a British scientist known for discovering the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Franklin was also best known for setting the foundation for the field of structural virology by offering new information on the structure of viruses. Franklin studied physical chemistry at the University of Cambridge, and in 1951, she did research with Biophysical Laboratory at King’s College where she applied X-ray diffraction methods to study DNA. Her research set the foundation for others in the field to discover the structure of DNA.

4. Jane Addams

Jane Addams was recognized for her efforts to maintain peace and for trying to close the gap between social classes serving as a leader throughout the settlement house movement. Addams was also known for being one of the most notable of the first-generation of college educated women. She broke social norms as well by turning away from marriage and motherhood to lead a life of servitude. Addams also won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for her push to end World War I.

5. Maya Angelou

American author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was a beacon that shined throughout history for many people. Angelou is most noted for being the the first African American woman to become a non-fiction bestselling author, with her 1969 memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

6. Helen Adams Keller

Hellen Keller broke boundaries with being a blind and deaf author and educator. Despite being deaf and blind, Keller was able to learn how to read, write and speak in several different languages. Her life is an inspiration to many and an example that you can do anything you put your mind to.

7. Valentina Tereshkova

In a male-dominated industry, Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to travel into space. She took off in spacecraft Vostok 6, on June 16, 1963, completing 48 orbits in 71 hours. Tereshkova’s pioneering career was the gateway for more women to enter space, like Mae Jemison and Sally Ride.

8. Lusia Harris

Breaking boundaries, Lusia Harris was the first and only woman to be officially drafted by the NBA. Not only did she accomplish that but she also led her college team to three championships in the 1970s, and scored the first points in the history of Olympic women’s basketball. Through her remarkable career, she was able to build the foundation for women in sports.

9. Deborah Sampson

Known as the hero of the American Revolution, Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man and fought with the Patriot army. She was the only woman to earn a full military pension for her efforts in the Revolutionary War. For over two years, Sampson was able to hide her identity, even after being shot in her left thigh and slashed in the forehead with a sword. Even though she was eventually found out, she was still honorably discharged for her service.

10. Marie Skłodowska Curie

Two-time Nobel Prize winner, Marie Skłodowska Curie, paved the way for new discoveries on radioactivity. She is most remembered for the discovery of radium and polonium and her many efforts to find treatments for cancer.

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