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/ Blog / Powerful Women From The 20th Century (TIME Magazine)

Powerful Women From The 20th Century (TIME Magazine)



10. Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-present) : Sandra Day O’Connor was America’s first female Supreme Court judge, appointed by US President Ronald Reagan in 1981. She was often the court’s crucial swing vote.

9. Margaret Thatcher  (1925-2013) : Known as the ‘Iron Lady’, Margaret Thatcher was one of Britain’s longest-serving Prime Ministers, from 1979 to 1990. Her time in charge saw privatisation of state-owned industries, huge tax cuts and high unemployment.

8. Indira Gandhi  (1917-1984) : Daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister after British rule, Indira Gandhi was elected India’s Prime Minister in 1966. Her controversial time in charge saw recession, famine, the detonation of the nation’s first atomic bomb, a corruption scandal and a civil war in neighboring Pakistan that, under her guidance, led to the creation of a new state, Bangladesh, before she was assassinated in 1984.

7. Rosa Parks  (1913-2005) : On December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her arrest set in motion the Montgomery bus boycott and kicked off America’s civil rights movement.

6. Mother Teresa  (1910-1997) : Born Agnes Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in the Ottoman Empire, Mother Teresa made her way to Kolkata, India in 1929. She eventually built up a network of 4,000 nuns worldwide running orphanages and AIDS hospices. She opposed birth control and abortion, but she won the Nobel Peace Prize and will probably become a Catholic saint.

5. Coco Chanel  (1883-1971) : Coco Chanel revolutionized women’s fashion in the early 20th century by introducing a looser, more comfortable silhouette that freed women from the corsets and frills that then dominated the apparel industry.

4. Virginia Woolf  (1882-1941) : Virginia Woolf was a novelist and critic who highlighted the oppressed position of women in the early 20th century. Her innovative work inspired generations of writers. She suffered from extreme depression, which ultimately led to her suicide in 1941.

3. Margaret Sanger  (1879-1966) : As a nurse on New York City’s impoverished Lower East Side, Margaret Sanger spent much of her time treating women who were injured during botched illegal abortions. As a result of this, she became convinced that contraceptive control was women’s primary avenue to freedom and out of poverty. Though she was born when contraception was illegal, by the time of her death, at 81, Sanger had founded the American Birth Control League — later known as Planned Parenthood — and masterminded the research and funding for the first FDA-approved oral contraceptive, Enovid.

2. Marie Curie  (1867-1934) : Marie Curie was a scientist who discovered polonium and radium and founded the concept of radiology to treat cancer patients. In 1903, she was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize.

1. Jane Addams  (1860-1935) : Jane Addams was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She was a social worker who ran a pioneering residence for 25 women which was visited by 2,000 people a week.