TOP 5...LEADING LADIES, by Ruby Granger
@_rubygranger joins us once more with her most inspirational female figures…
In light of the MeToo and TimesUp movements of the last year, female empowerment has become increasingly noticeable in the media and public eye. I wanted to share some inspirational women with you - people who have led real change over the last century and whose names should feature in more history books than they do!
HELEN KELLER - At the age of just two, Helen Keller lost both her sight and hearing; however, despite this, she learnt to read and write in Braille, touch lip read and speak and, in 1904, she became the first deafblind person to achieve a Bachelor of Arts degree. Keller’s continued determination despite her setbacks can inspire us all to realise our own potential. Aside from these personal successes, however, Keller has also become something of a symbol in the disabled community. In her later life, she was an active member in the campaign for the rights of people with disabilities and her work in this field has changed public perceptions today.
RENI EDDO-LODGE - Perhaps most famous for her book, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge speaks out about, and openly challenges, the racial problems which persist, even in the UK, and is one of the leading female activists in this area.
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT - Eleanor Roosevelt is one of, - if not the -, most notable first ladies in history. As well as caring for her husband, (who developed polio before his first term), Eleanor was politically involved in Franklin’s presidency in a way that no other woman had been before. She had her own newspaper column, held conferences and spoke at public events. Eleanor became a voice for women all over the country and also a participant in human rights campaigns, including the rights of African-American citizens and refugees from the second world war.
ROSA PARKS - It would be a crime not to include her on this list! Famously and historically, Parks refused to give up her seat for a white person on a bus, at an oppressive time in American history, when this was considered the socially acceptable thing to do. Standing her ground and sparking the bus boycotts of the 1950s, her bravery in opposing the system remains inspirational. In an interview, Parks once said “each must live their lives as a model for others”, and she can indeed teach us to stand up for what is right and what we believe in.
ELLEN DEGENERES - In my opinion, the infamous and hilarious talk show host, Ellen Degeneres, is one of the most inspirational women on television. In 2006, she came out as gay on live television, (the very first woman to do this!), and faced massive discrimination as a consequence: her show was cancelled and she was dropped by her agent. She said, and I quote, that “it felt like I had hit rock bottom”. However, today, Degeneres continues to help to de-stigmatise lesbianism in her openness on television, and this has led a change in media presentation.