Today on International Women's Day , I have picked 10 women from the past and present who have made women proud and are a role model to thousands of women from across the globe. I felt this was an apt way to write my 50th post today. Take a look
Indira Gandhi India's only female Prime Minister till date and the world's all time longest serving Prime Minister, having served for a total15 years. She started her political career in 1950s as her father Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru's unofficial personal Assistant.
She was instrumental in bringing the Green Revolution, whereby India's chronic food shortages were transformed into surplus production of wheat, rice, cotton and milk. Post Operation Blue Star in Amritsar, she was assassinated.She brought about a reduction in poverty from 65% to 45%. Literacy increased by 30%. and Food Production increased by 250% during her tenure.
Cleopatra 69 BC to 30 BC An ancient Greek queen and last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. As Pharaoh she consummated her liaison with Julius Ceaser that solidified her
grip on the throne. She later married Marc Antony.
After losing the Battle of Actium, like her husband she committed suicide by killing herself by a bite of cobra.She was a most magnetic and seductive women whose beauty and beauty secrets are legendary. It is believed that she bathed with goat's milk and honey and used herbs extensively as part of her beauty regime
Mother Teresa She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkota in 1950. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. She won the Noble peace prize in 1979, and India's Bharat Ratna in 1980.
Her mission spread all over the world with 610 centers and 123 countries.
Albania's International airport has been named after her as this was her native country. In 2009 the Mother Teresa Memorial house was opened in her Hometown Skopje in Republic of Macedonia.
Sonia Gandhi Six years after assassination of her husband Rajiv Gandhi, she joined Indian Congress party in 1997. A year later she was elected the President of INC, Indian national Congress, a post she heads till date.
She has been elected the world's third most powerful woman, TIME's 100 most influential people in the world by a segment of voters. When the country objected to her reign of becoming Prime Minister, she resigned gracefully and opted to support the Congress without the post.
Kiran Bedi A social activist and a retired IPS Officer. In 1972 she became the first woman to join the IPS. She was the Host of the popular TV show 'Aap Ki Kachhari'.
She founded two NGOs, Navjyoti and India Vision foundation. She was instrumental in bringing reforms in Tihar jail for better life of the prisoners. She has been honored with several Indian awards and the Magsaysay Award.
Hillary Clinton A lawyer by profession, she became the first lady when her husband Bill Clinton became the President in 1993. She was the first First Lady to hold a Post Graduate degree and to have her own professional career up till the time of entering the White House.
When the Monica Lewinsky scandal happened, though privately furious at Bill, as a true life companion she issued a public statement reaffirming her commitment to their marriage. She lost the Presidential candidature to President Barack Obama , but now serves as the 67th U S Secretary of State under him.
Her Excellency Smt Pratibha Patil She is the 12th and first woman President of India. She won the Presidential election in July 2007, defeating her nearest rival by over 30,000 votes.
She has set up several Philanthropist organizations.
She started her professional care as a Practicing lawyer at Jalgaon District Court in Maharashtra and worked on various social activities especially upliftment of poor women
Kalpana Chawla Indian American astronaut, originally from Karnal, Haryana, India. A Doctorate in Aerospace Engineering, she started working with NASA in 1988. She joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1995. She was the first Indian born woman to fly in space in 1997. She died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster on Feb 1, 2003.
She has been awarded by NASA for her contribution.
At least 30, 000 school children and citizens joined hands to make a 36.4 km long human chain to support the demand of Kalpana Chawla Medical College in her hometown Karnal.
The girl's hostel in her Alma Mater, Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh, has been named after her.
Oprah Winfrey American TV Host, actress, producer and Philanthropist, best known for her 'Oprah Winfrey Talk Show', which has become the highest rated program of its kind in history. She has been ranked the richest African American woman of 20th century, the greatest Black Philanthropist in American history, and is considered the most influential woman in the world.
She has given an estimated $303 million in Charity. Among her several awards is the Bob
Hope Humanitarian Award in 2002.
Anjolie Ela Menon A leading contemporary female artist. Her paintings are displayed in several Museums across the world. She was awarded Padma Shree in 2000. She first sold her paintings at the age of 15.
At 18, she held her solo exhibition with 53 paintings in a variety of styles. Her creative brilliance won her a French government scholarship in Paris.
During this time she extensively traveled in Europe and West Asia studying the art forms. She also paints murals and has represented India abroad.
The list is eclectic, but each of these 10 women have shown the world what women are capable of achieving. Women often termed as fragile have more endurance, resilience and courage as they live their entire life for their loved ones, quite often not giving themselves the due recognition. From the rural world to the urban world women have contributed immensely to society and will continue to do so as long as humanity lives. I salute the spirit of women.
So lets sit back and enjoy today's celebration of womanhood. I leave you with an apt quote:
"You gain strength, courage and confidence with each experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself , " I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along". You must do the thing you think you cannot do ." -- Eleanor Roosevelt .
Let us all salute the spirit of women. Happy women's Day!!