International Women’s Day celebrates the economic, cultural, political and social achievements of women. So, this March, we devote time to reflect and debate women’s role in society and their fight for equal rights. 

Written by Marialma Team

Women are advancing in diverse areas previously dominated by men, breaking paradigms and showing that if you have a commitment, dedication, willpower and the right training you’ll get there, no matter the gender.

International Women’s Day 2020: Female figures throughout history

Throughout history, women have played significant roles in their countries’ culture, politics and religion. The female figure has often been looked upon with both fascination and fear, like Helen of Troy, whose beauty started a war or Eve, who lead the first man (Adam) to sin.

But other female figures played a key role in their time and culture, such as the Greek philosopher and priestess Diotima of Mantinea, and the poet Sapho of Mytilene. In the Middle East, Queen of Sheba stands out as one of the most powerful women in Arabia, the deviant woman, Mary Magdalene played a major role among the followers of Jesus Christ, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, who, until this day, exercises enormous influence over millions of people.

Queen of Sheba

Photo Credits: Queen of Sheba,

In ancient Egypt, a handful of great women also left their legacy to Mankind. Hatshepsut ruled as Pharaoh of Egypt after her husband died and Queen Nefertiti, alongside Pharaoh Akhenaten, revolutionized Egypt’s religious and political structure. Of course, we all know and heard the most amazing stories of Cleopatra, whose cunning, in the times of Roman rule over Egypt, made two Roman generals, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony fall at her feet in both love and politics.

Queen Isabel of Castile initiated the Unification of Spain at the end of the 15th century, in the Middle Ages, expelling the Moors (Muslims) from the Iberian Peninsula.

In the dark ages, women were still persecuted if they spoke up against status quo, like Joan of Arc, who led French troops in the Hundred Years War, but ended up accused of heresy and killed.

During the Modern AgeQueen Elizabeth of England was also a prominent figure, as was Mary Stuart of Scotland. Along with these two, there was also St. Teresa of Avila, a great writer and mystic of Spanish Catholicism. Later, in the 18th century, Catherine the Great, the Russian czarina from 1762 to 1796, was considered one of the enlightened despots. These were the absolutist kings who were open to some of the reformist ideas proposed by the Age of Enlightenment.

Over the 19th and 20th centuries, the number of notorious women is quite large and ranged from culture to politics. Names like Anita GaribaldiMaria Quitéria and Princess Isabel in Brazil but also Queen Victoria and Margareth Thatcher in England have key places in history.

International Women’s Day 2020: 10 women you need to know

Many other female figures could also be mentioned, but these examples already testify to the great influence women have been having in our history:

#1 – International Women’s Day: Carolina Beatriz Ângelo

Carolina Beatriz Angelo

A Portuguese doctor and a feminist. In 1911, she was the first Portuguese woman to go to the ballot boxes to vote claiming that, by Law, she had all the requirements to do so.

#2 – International Women’s Day: Marie Curie

marie curie

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Dedicated to chemistry and physics, this Polish woman became famous thanks to her research on radioactivity. It is also worth remembering that she achieved a stunning step by winning the coveted Nobel Prize… twice!

#3 – International Women’s Day: Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer


She was the first woman to participate in the famous Boston Marathon in 1967. In the image above, you can see the moment when men from the event organization, tried to stop her from running as they realized a woman was taking part in the marathon.

#4 – International Women’s Day: Margaret Heafield

Margaret Heafield

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She worked as director of software engineering for NASA. She was one of the people responsible for the Apollo Project, one of the most important projects of the space agency.

#5 – International Women’s Day: Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova

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This Russian was the first woman to travel into space in 1963 on the Vostok VI mission.

#6 – International Women’s Day: Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

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Amelia was the first woman to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean in 1928.

#7– International Women’s Day: Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

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This is a very important name in the battle for civil rights. Rosa’s name is commonly quoted when we talk about activists who have fought against racial segregation. By refusing to give her place on the bus to a white man she sparked an entire civil rights movement in America.

#8 – International Women’s Day: Sofia Ionescu-Ogrezeanu

Sofia Ionescu-Ogrezeanu

This Romanian woman was the world’s first neuroscientist and neurosurgeon.

#9 – International Women’s Day: The Protectress

The Protectress

This woman was photographed in 1990 in Armenia when she was protecting her home with a rifle. At the time of the picture, she was 106 years old.

#10 – International Women’s Day: Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, at 17 years old. This Pakistani teacher is known for her active work as a defender of the right to education.

We hope you celebrate International Women’s Day with us. Feel free to pin all the images to your favourite Pinterest board and subscribe to our newsletter, so you can be the first to know about our latest articles. And don’t forget: sleep well, live well