Around half of the world’s population is of the female gender, and we can take pride in saying that women are surging ahead in all fields of profession. Although there still is a considerable wage gap between men and women, it has been drastically decreasing over the years. To celebrate women’s history month, we bring to light 7 out of many modern-day inspirational women.
Maria Sharapova is one of the most inspirational women in the world. Her name has been buzzing right now since the announcement of her retirement from professional tennis on 26th February 2020.
She had been ranked world No. 1 in singles by the World Tennis Association (WTA) on 5 separate occasions throughout her career. She is the only woman of Russian origin to hold a career Grand Slam. Sharapova has been an inspiration to young women and girls ever since she became the world No. 1 back in August 2005, just at the age of 18. She has then gone on to win 5 Grand Slam titles – two at the French Open and once each at Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open. She has won 36 singles titles in total.
Apart from tennis, Maria Sharapova has had a fashionable career in modelling as well, featuring in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She has also been the face of several huge brands such as Nike, Prince, Canon and Cole Haan. She has been a United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador as well.
Even though Sharapova has retired, she’s still an inspiration to all girls and women because she will always be one of the greatest legends of tennis.
‘How dare you?’ are 3 words said by this teenage Swedish environmental activist, which shook the world and made a lot of people open their eyes towards climate change. Greta Thunberg said these words at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in North America. She had gone on to say that the humans of this generation are polluting the earth and leaving it for the upcoming generation who would have to suffer the consequences.
She has been one of the youngest and most inspirational women out there, making everyone realize that they’re ruining the planet for future generations. Ever since her rise in popularity, she has gone on to spread her message through various summits, talk shows. She has been included in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people. She has been named as the TIME person of the year 2019, making her the youngest to claim that honour.
Lilly Singh A.K.A ||Superwoman|| is a Canadian YouTuber, talk show host, comedian, writer and an actress. Yeah, that list there is inspiration enough! She initially gained huge popularity through her YouTube channel ||Superwoman|| where most of her funny videos would include scenes from an Indian household, where all the characters would be played by herself!
By 2016, she released her first film- a documentary entitled ‘A Trip to Unicorn Island’. In 2017, she released her first book ‘How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life which topped the New York Times Best-Seller list. In the same year, Forbes ranked her 10th in the list of highest-paid YouTube stars.
As of now, Lilly Singh is a popular host of her own talk show ‘A Little Late with Lilly Singh’. She is the only openly LGBTQ+ person being bisexual, as well as the first person of Indian descent, hosting an American major broadcast network late-night talk show. She has been one of the most inspirational women for girls and women in India and the US alike.
J K Rowling
We are all huge fans of, or at least have heard of the Harry Potter series of books and movies. J K Rowling, who has lived a ‘rags to riches’ life literally, is an inspiration to us all. Until the publication of her first novel ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, her seven years prior to that saw the death of her mother, birth of her first child, divorce from her first husband, and relative poverty.
Rowling has always had a ‘never give up’ mentality. She is also one of the most generous women on the planet. She is the first author to gain billionaire status, which she lost since she gave away much of her earnings to charity. In 2007, TIME Magazine named her has as the runner-up for Person of the Year, noting the social, moral and political inspiration she has given all her fans. In 2010, one of Britains leading magazines named Rowling as the “Most Influential Woman” in all of Britain.
After the Harry Potter series, J K Rowling has been popular because of her crime fiction series- ‘Cormoran Strikes’.
Kalpana Chalwa (March 17, 1962 – February 1, 2003) was an Indian-American astronaut, engineer, and the first woman of Indian descent to go to space. We always say “Reach to the stars”. In Chawla’s case, she actually did reach closer to the stars that almost all of us by going to space.
She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. Because of her success in NASA and her space missions, she has been recognized through many honours and recognitions. On February of 2003, the Prime Minister of India announced that the first of the meteorological series of satellites, “MetSat-1”, launched by India on September 12, 2002, was renamed “Kalpana-1”.
Kalpana Chawla passed away in 2003, along with 6 other crew members in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. She has been a huge inspiration to everyone in the world of science and technology.
The first woman to become the MD and CEO of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in India. She was hand-picked to become a valuable part of its leadership team. With the main agenda to set up the NSE to provide a fully automated, screen-based trading system.
In the late 1980s, Ramkrishna was involved in the drafting of the legislative framework of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the country’s capital market regulator.
She claimed the title of the woman of the year in the Business Leadership Awards by the Forbes magazine and was also ranked 17th in the list of top global women business leaders by Fortune magazine, USA. She is the 2nd most powerful businesswoman in India in this list.
Indian society does not give the freedom for many women to shoot for the stars and conquer their dreams. But, Richa Kar, the former owner of Zivame, defied all odds and became one of the greatest entrepreneurs in India. Zivame is India’s first online lingerie store, which provided an easy way for women to buy lingerie online.
Kar had a lot of obstacles though. She did not have the support of her parents when she wanted to start the brand. Her parents figured that their daughter selling lingerie online would end up with their family being ashamed in front of society. A lot of people criticized and made fun of her as well.
But Kar did not give up. Despite all the criticism, Zivame started getting a great response from its buyers. Fast forward to today, Zivame’s valuation is more than Rs. 681 crores. There will always be people to make fun of you and criticize you on every decision you take. Your success depends on how you react to them.