six generous ladies from modern history...

By Bethan Walker | 8 March 2012

Today is International Women’s Day, an opportunity to remember the achievements of women throughout history and to commit to those women around the world whose rights are not yet protected.

To mark this occasion we take a look at six great ladies from the past who took generosity to the extreme in their devotion to sharing money, skills and time with others, in ways which left an indelible mark on the world.

1. Florence Nightingale 1820 - 1910

Florence Nightingale came to be known as “The Lady with the Lamp” and was instrumental in founding the modern nursing profession. Florence Nightingale is most famous for her contributions to counteract the horrors faced by injured soldiers in the Crimean War. With her dedicated team of nurses, she greatly improved the conditions and substantially reduced the mortality rate. Nightingale's theories, published in 'Notes on Nursing' (1860), were hugely influential with many practices still in existence today.

2. Emmeline Pankhurst 1858 - 1928

Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women’s Franchise League in 1889, followed by the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1905 and fought tirelessly for Women’s Suffrage in Britain. The tactics Pankhurst used for drawing attention to the moment led to imprisonment many times. In 1913, fellow WSPU member Emily Davison was killed when she threw herself under the king's horse at the Derby as a protest at the continued failure to grant women the right to vote. Breakthrough came when, in March 1918, women over the age of 30 were granted the right to vote. It wasn’t until 1928 that women were given the same voting rights as men in the United Kingdom.

3. Helena Rubinstein 1870 - 1965

Helena Rubinstein formed one of the world’s first cosmetic companies in the world. Born in Poland, Rubenstein emigrated to Australia and opened her first beauty salon in 1902 with just $1,500. Her business became extremely successful and in her later years she used her enormous wealth to support charities in the field of education, art and health.

4. Helen Keller 1880 - 1968

At the age of 19 months Helen became deaf and blind but, with the help of her teacher Anne Sullivan, broke through her isolation and went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She is remembered as campaigning tirelessly for people with disabilities.

5. Mother Teresa 1910 - 1997

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Macedonia and, at the age of eighteen, left home and joined a community of nuns with missions in India. Mother Teresa personally cared for 1000's of sick and dying people in Calcutta. She was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979 and famously said;“It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving."

6. Rosa Parks 1913 - 2005

On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks became famous for refusing a bus drivers order to give her seat up for a white passenger. Rosa went on to become a civil rights activist and named the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement” by the U.S. Congress. After her death on October 24, 2005, city officials in Montgomery and Detroit informed that the front seats of their city buses would be reserved with black ribbons to honour the life and death of Rosa Parks.

Posted by Bethan Walker

Bethan is a marketing and communications executive at Stewardship. She is on a quest to find lemon tart perfection and can be easily bribed by chocolate. Bethan has worked in marketing for over four years and now enjoys working in the Not-for-profit sector having previously worked in Professional Services. Follow Bethan on Twitter: @bettewalkr

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