Inspiring Women, Then & Now

Jola Bufi


What does it mean to be a strong woman? Being a strong woman means you're no longer looking for validation from a society that will constantly tell you to be something else. It means defining your own strength, instead of adhering to a set of standards society has decided you need to follow. Although many women understand this idea today, women in the past were not as able - or sometimes not willing - to set themselves free from societal expectations, facing heavy oppression.

Florence Nightingale gave a whole new meaning to the nursing profession during the Crimean War and made a big change to other nurses’ outlook. In a similar manner, so did Marie Curie, the first female who was awarded the Nobel Prize, and who played a huge part in developing the first x-ray machine. Back then, it was unusual for women to be successful in any field other than in their domestic lives. These women, therefore, showed the world how women were - and are - just as intellectual, if not more, than men.

Women in the past also broke stereotypes, like the "dumb blonde." Marilyn Monroe, for instance, was not only a beauty of her time but a very influential advocate of civil rights. She often tried to stand up for others, believing that skin color should not be a deterrent to equal privilege. She used her platform to help raise others.

Although times have changed, we have come to see more and more influential women

taking over in many different areas.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of only three woman currently serving on the US Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg exercises influence over the laws that govern the United States. Like Justice O’Connor before her, Justice Ginsburg helps make the decisions of the highest court in the US, making her not only one of the most influential but also one of the most powerful women in the world.

In addition, Oprah Winfrey, rising from poverty to become the first African-American woman billionaire, is arguably the most influential woman in the world. Through book recommendations, philanthropic activities, human rights awareness, and political activity, Oprah touches the lives of many women - and men - around the world.

A strong woman is willing to find help or gain strength from herself. She does not let others define her. Despite how much times have changed, women continue to work hard, be themselves, and inspire those around them. We have seen many women in the past and in the present making a difference. Ten or twenty years from now, maybe you will be one of them too.