Women who helped changed the World

By Sara Allen.

International Women's Day is a great way to learn more, celebrate and recognise some amazing people and stories that are completely inspiring!

Every day people that worked with determination for positive change; taking on injustice, challenging the norms, overcoming brick walls and working tirelessly to help make a difference.

Below are just a few Stories of Women that were life-savers and change-makers in their time.

Dr Catherine Hamlin

Dr Catherine Hamlin and her husband Dr Reg Hamlin founded medical centers in Ethiopia and dedicated their lives to providing treatment to the most marginalised women who had suffered from obstetric fistula; an internal injury that can occur when giving birth which when left untreated leaves women suffering life long problems and ostracised from their community.

You can read more about their amazing work and the lives they have helped over 60years of dedication to the women of Ethiopia: https://hamlin.org.au/

Dr. Wangari Maathai

Born in Kenya 1940, Wangari Maathai was the first East or Central African woman to obtain a doctorate degree. First attaining her Biological Sciences and Masters of Science degrees in the USA and then her Ph.D from the University of Nairobi, teaching Veterinary anatomy and later becoming the Department Chair and Professor in 1976.

An active environmentalist and political activist she founded the green belt movement, a community initiative that helped empower women through education and environmental stewardship.

The Green Belt Movement assisted women in planting more than 20 million trees on their farms helping to conserve the natural environment and improve quality of life.

Dr. Wangari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work, becoming the first African woman and first environmentalist to receive the prize.



Irena Sendlerowa

Irena Sendlerowa was a social worker in Warsaw, who lead a children’s rescue group to smuggle Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.

The team came up with inventive ways to sneak children safely out, like being hidden under an ambulance stretcher, or taken out through the sewer pipes or packed in cases and trunks.

The hope was that one day the children could be reunited with their parents, so Irena kept meticulous records, which she hid on small pieces of paper in glass jars and buried them in a friends garden.

Rescued children were given false papers and placed with Polish families. Records show that she was able to save nearly 2,500 children from certain death under the Nazis.



Raden Adjeng Kartini

Born in 1879, Raden Adjeng Kartini was a Javanese noblewoman best known for her work in the area of women's rights for native Indonesians.

A young Raden attended a Dutch school but at 12 years old her father prohibited her from continuing her studies because of the tradition - a noble girl was not allowed to have a higher education, they had to be secluded. As as result of this experience she become isolated and was intent to see change for future generations of Javanese girls.

After her early marriage and with the support of her new Husband she set about planning her own school for Javanese girls and with the help of the Dutch Government the first one opened in 1903.

Kartini regularly corresponded with numerous Dutch officials and local Government representatives with the goal to bring about change and further the cause of Javanese women's emancipation from oppressive laws and traditions. One of her correspondents, Jacques H. Abendanon, published a collection of Kartini's letters, entitled "From Darkness to Light: Thoughts About and on Behalf of the Javanese People."

In Indonesia, Kartini Day is still celebrated annually on Kartini's birthday. Every school from kindergarten to high school level celebrates Kartini Day by having a flag ceremony and singing the Ibu Kartini song. Kindergarten and elementary schools usually have special events like poem reading competitions, drawing competitions, modeling competitions. To read more:



Simply amazing women!