In honor of International Women’s Day today, not only do we have Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” anthem of female empowerment on repeat, but the Ellie Team is also celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements and contributions of women across the globe.
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, and one way we can help forge a more gender-balanced world is by recognizing the accomplishments of women. To do just that, our team compiled a list of 10 remarkable barrier-breaking, history-making, culture-defining women who inspire us and make our world better. We hope these women worth knowing motivate you to work stronger, live bolder, and to make a positive difference.
1. Misty Copeland
Ballet Dancer and Barrier Breaker
Broadening every concept of what it means to be a ballerina, Misty Copeland became the first African American female principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history in 2015. Her impoverished beginning is currently being adapted into a film adaptation of her best-selling memoir Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina. With her recent film debut in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and empowering at-risk youth through dance, Copeland continues to change the face of ballet.2. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
Richest Woman in the World and Beauty Mogul
The granddaughter of L’Oreal’s founder Eugène Schueller, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is the world’s richest woman with a fortune of $49.3 billion. The cosmetics heiress, who lives in Paris, is also chairwoman of her family’s holding company owning a 33% stake in the company. Bettencourt Meyers is also the president of her family’s philanthropic foundation giving money to support sciences and arts in France.3. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Icon
Affectionately known as the Notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the second woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where she’s served since 1993. The subject of not one but two current movies, Justice Ginsburg is celebrated for advocating gender equality. She became the first tenured professor at Columbia University, and she directed the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union during the 1970s.4. Ashley Graham
Supermodel and Body Positivity Activist
When she became the first curvy model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in 2016, Ashley Graham upended fashion beauty standards and became a body positive role model. With the launch of her own podcast “Pretty Big Deal,” filming for a talk show on Ellen DeGeneres’s digital network, plus hosting and executive producing American Beauty Star, Graham’s own star is on the rise.5. Rachel Morrison
Cinematographer and Hollywood History Maker
As the first female cinematographer nominated for an Oscar, Rachel Morrison is responsible for making our favorite movies visually stunning, like the box office-breaking Black Panther and Mudbound, which earned her the Academy Award nod. Today, the director of photography and mother of two is set to direct Hightown, a crime drama series on Starz.6. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
U.S. Representative and Political Activist
The 29-year-old Bronx native made history in 2018 as the youngest woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. A political novice and self-proclaimed democratic socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran on a progressive platform. Part of the historically diverse congressional freshman class of 2019, the millenial congresswoman has developed a reputation for her transparency in politics and her social media clapbacks.
7. Naomi Osaka
Professional Tennis Player and Champion
Japan’s Naomi Osaka is the brightest young talent in tennis. At 21-years old, the Japanese-Haitian tennis player (who has lived in Florida since the age of three) is the current U.S. Open and Australian Open champion in women’s singles, and now the first player from Japan to reach the No. 1 ranking. Last year, Osaka famously defeated her childhood hero Serena Williams in a much-discussed victory at the U.S. Open. The star athlete is being honored this month with the launch of her own Barbie doll as part of Barbie’s “Sheroes” initiative.
8. Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Change Agent
Known for more than making meme gold at the 2019 State of the Union, Nancy Pelosi has successfully broken gender barriers and the political glass ceiling as the only woman to have served as Speaker of the House, making her the highest-ranking elected woman in American political history. The former San Francisco housewife (mother of five and grandmother of nine) first ran for office at 47-year-old. Pelosi’s signature achievement is the Affordable Care Act, and she is currently ushering in a new era of government for a generation of young feminists taking notice.9. Sarah Thomas
Football Official and Game Changer
Sarah Thomas became the first female on-field official in a playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this year, making NFL history. No stranger to making game-changing moves, the Mississippi native had already become the NFL’s first full-time female official when hired in 2015, and Thomas was the first woman to officiate a college football bowl game.10. Frances H. Arnold
Chemical Engineer and Problem Solver
In the fall, Frances H. Arnold became the fifth woman in history to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The California Institute of Technology professor of chemical engineering, bioengineering and biochemistry earned the honor (worth nearly $1 million shared with two fellow researchers) for pioneering the use of directed evolution to engineer enzymes. Taking the place of toxic chemicals, Arnold’s enzymes have been used to create vital medicines, laundry detergent, renewable fuels and more.
Want to Get Involved?
To observe International Women’s Day, go out and participate in one of the many marches and events taking place this weekend, or simply wear the color of female empowerment—purple! You can also visit the International Women’s Day website for more information, including tips on posting to social media.