4 Amazing Women Who Have Changed the World

Emmeline Pankhurst: 1858-1928

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst was a founding member of a group of women called the Suffragettes, who fought incredibly hard to get women the right to vote in the UK.

They often used violent and extreme tactics to do this, and Emmeline was no stranger to a prison cell because of this.

When World War One broke out, however, she recognised that she should help with the war effort, and she encouraged other Suffragettes to do the same.

While the men were away fighting in the war, many women like Emmeline took on jobs that men would traditionally do. They earned lots of respect doing this and it showed just how much women contributed to society – and, therefore, deserved the vote.

In 1918, a law was passed which allowed certain women the right to vote. This was a big step in equality between men and women – and many would argue that, for a large part of this, we have Emmeline to thank.



Marie Curie: 1867 – 1934

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a Polish scientist – and is probably one of the most famous scientists of all time. She was born in the Polish city of Warsaw but later moved to France where she made an incredible discovery that would change the world.

In France, she met her husband – a man called Pierre, who was also a scientist. Together, they built on work done by previous scientists and made discoveries that would earn them a Nobel Prize in 1903.

As if that wasn’t enough, Marie went on to win another Nobel Prize in 1911. She was the first woman in history to win it.

So what was this amazing work? Well, the Curies made ground-breaking discoveries about something called radioactivity. Radioactivity happens when certain special chemical elements give off energetic particles when a part of them called their nucleus breaks down.

This all sounds rather technical, but through this work, the Curies announced the discovery of two new chemical elements – polonium and radium.

And why was that so important? Well, first of all, their work was used to develop something called radiotherapy, which is used to treat certain illnesses.

These discoveries were also really important in developing X-rays, which are vital in hospitals today. It also meant that during World War One, Curie was able to develop a portable X-ray unit that could be used near the battlefront.

So if you ever find yourself in hospital having an X-ray, you now know who you should be thanking.



Oprah Winfrey: 1954 – present day

Oprah Winfrey

One woman who is rarely away from the headlines is media legend, Oprah Winfrey.

She started off her TV career when she was just a teenager, becoming the youngest person – and first African-American woman – to read the main news on a channel in the city of Nashville in America at the age of 19.

Now, she is one of the world’s most famous and most-loved interviewers.

She first became famous in 1986 with the Oprah Winfrey Show. It ran for 25 years before she turned her success into her own TV channel – the Oprah Winfrey Network.

She has also done a huge amount of charity work, including setting up two of her own foundations and donating millions of her own money.

Some people think that after giving a powerful speech at an awards ceremony in America recently that she should run to be the next US president. Whether or not she will do that, only Oprah knows.



Malala Yousafzai: 1997 – present day

Malala Yousafzai

Now aged 20, Malala became one of the most famous schoolgirls in the world.

As a young girl of 11, the Pakistani student wrote an anonymous diary about what life was like under the rule of an extreme group called the Taliban in north-west Pakistan.

In the diary, she talked about how she wanted to stay in education and about how girls should be able to go to school. The Taliban wanted to ban girls’ education. Lots of people read the diary all over the world and she became well-known for fighting for her right to an education.

But the Taliban didn’t like this. Because of what she said in her diary, in October 2012, she was shot by their soldiers – but she survived the attack.

The world was appalled by what happened to her and Malala quickly won the support of millions of more people.

At 14, she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. When she received it, she joked that she was probably the first winner who still fought with her younger brothers!

She has gone on to win more awards and continues to campaign for girls’ rights all over the world and inspire many generations.


Click here to read more about the Amazing women who have changed the world.

Page source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/42872803