This is our time to rise and actualize! As women lead the way through an authentic expression of who we are, by leveraging feminine virtues instead of burying them, we will create a more integrated world where the best of the masculine and the feminine work in harmony. At Emerging Women Live you’ll hear from some of the most fantastic women visioneers of our time. These are women who are not afraid to be themselves as they take creative risks or launch BIG ideas into the world.
This post celebrates some of the most brilliant, courageous, authentic women trailblazers of the 20th century. These women’s wisdom inspire and motive us to move forward and continue to challenge the conventional.
1. “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”― Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971) was the only fashion designer to appear on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. She completely revolutionized the fashion industry by freeing women of corsets and introducing a more comfortable, casual chic look. Her signature scent, Chanel No. 5, has become an iconic product.
2. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.”― Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart (1897–1937) was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Her courage and willpower opened the skies to other women. She was also a best-selling author, and she was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. She was also a member of the National Woman’s Party, and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1937 while attempting to become the first person to fly around the world, Earhart’s plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.
3. “Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” ― Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald (1918–1996) is considered one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. Over the course of her 59-year recording career, she sold 40 million copies of her 70-plus albums, winning countless awards and commendations, including honorary doctorates at Yale and Dartmouth, the National Medal of Arts, and 13 Grammy Awards, including one in 1967 for Lifetime Achievement. In 1979 she was given a Kennedy Center Award for her lifetime in the performing arts.
4. “I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth – and truth rewarded me.” ― Simone de Beauvoir
Simone de Beauvoir (1908 – 1986) was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist, and social theorist. In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir published The Second Sex, which quickly became a feminist classic, inspiring women of the 1950s and 1960s to examine their role in culture. In the chapter “Woman: Myth and Reality” of The Second Sex, Beauvoir argued that men had made women the “Other” in society by putting a false aura of “mystery” around them. She argued that men used this as an excuse not to understand women or their problems and not to help them, and that this stereotyping was always done in societies by the group higher in the hierarchy to the group lower in the hierarchy.
Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. On December 1, 1955, an unknown seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. This brave woman, Rosa Parks, was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance, but her act of defiance marked the beginning of the modern civil rights movement in the United States and ultimately lead to the end of legal segregation in America. Her courage made her an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere.
6. “I feel there is something unexplored about women that only a woman can explore.” ― Georgia O’Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887 –1986) was a prominent woman painter. Georgia O’Keeffe prevailed in a what was a long time a man’s world, and became a key figure in the American Modern Art. In 1962, O’Keeffe was elected to the fifty-member American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1966. In 1970, when she was 83 years old, a retrospective exhibition of her work was held at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The New York critics and collectors recognized her as an artist ahead of her time. Her work hangs today in museums and private collections around the world.
Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941) was an English writer, and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. Woolf is a key figure in the modernist literary movement. She is best known for her writings between World War I and World War II including the 1929 essay, “A Room of One’s Own,” and novels Mrs. Dalloway and Orlando. In her work she examined the difficulties that female writers and intellectuals face because men hold disproportionate legal and economic power and the future of women in education and society.
8. “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from 1933 to 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office. She was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention. As a champion of human rights, she strove to further women’s causes as well as the causes of black people, poor people, and the unemployed. She served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Later she chaired the John F. Kennedy administration’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women.
9. “True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” ― Helen Keller
Helen Keller (1880–1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. A childhood disease left Helen deaf, mute, and blind. Her story became popular through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. Keller campaigned for women’s suffrage and labor rights. She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971. Keller wrote a total of 12 published books and several articles.
10. “Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.” ― Margaret Sanger
Margaret Sanger (1879–1966) was an American birth control activist, sex educator, and nurse. Sanger popularized the term birth control, opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established organizations that evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger’s efforts contributed to several judicial cases that helped legalize contraception in the United States. Sanger is regarded as a leading figure in the battle for American women’s rights.
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