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Rosa Parks' mug shot after being arrested for not giving up her seat to a white passenger

Rosa Parks' mug shot after being arrested for not giving up her seat to a white passenger

iwdToday is International Women’s Day. The day, which has been observed since the early 1900s on the 5th March, marks the economic, political and social achievements of women.

I thought I’d come up with a list of my top 5 women (excluding moi) with brief reasons why I think they are truly inspirational:

1. Rosa Parks (African American civil rights activist)- On December 1st 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama (USA), aged 42, she refused to give up her seat to a white man on the bus. This sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her resistance to racial segregation made her an international icon. Strong, black female.

2. Aung San Suu Kyi – she is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient who has devoted her life to the non-violent struggle for democracy in Burma. She founded the National League for Democracy in 1988 and in 1990 her party won a landslide victory in the general election but she was denied power and placed under house arrest. She survived an assassination attempt in 2003.

‘It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it’ – Aung San Suu Kyi

3. Annie Lennox (Music Artist)- This soul sister is famous for being an Academy Award-winning artist and in the musical duo the Eurythmics. But the reason she’s on my list is because of the political and social work she has done. She (and Dave Stewart) gave all the profits of the 1999’s “Peacetour” for the Eurythmics album Peace, to Amnesty International and Greenpeace.  As a response to the conflict in Gaza, she lead the anti-war rally in London in January this year. She recently celebrated the 1st anniversary of the SING campaign- an organisation to help end HIV/AIDS in Africa.

4. Oprah Winfrey (Journalist/broadcaster/ media mogul)- This self-made billionnairess has a media empire that is a force to be reckoned with. She even got her own channel- the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) – that will make its broadcast debut early this year. What she has achieved throughout her life, and the struggles she has overcome is truly applaudable. The sky is the limit for for Ms O .

5. Zadie Smith (Novelist)- Born and Bred in Brent, North London, this former jazz singer and journalist, caused an intese bidding war among publishers for her first novel White Teeth (2000) before it was even finished being written- the book was a bestseller. To date, she has written three novels- the quality of which have made her one of Britain’s most highly acclaimed young authors.