5 Influential Women Who Changed History
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Influential Women Who Changed History

The real celebrities aren’t necessarily the ones that we see in the magazines or on T.V. Little did you know, once upon a time there were a series of inspirational women who successfully changed history and left a legacy which we can all be empowered by.

Take a look at who we found and remember you too can follow in their footsteps and be a history maker!


Godmother of Rock & Roll – Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915- October 9, 1973)

rosetta tharpe

Is this really who influenced Elvis Presley? Yep, you sure got that right! Rosetta Tharpe was an incredible singer, song writer and world renowned for her skilled guitar playing.

In 1938, 23-year-old Rosetta recorded her first debut with Decca Records, expressing her gospel spirituality through many huge hits including ‘Rock Me’, ‘That’s All’, ‘My Man and I’, and ‘The Lonesome Road’. Yes you could say a star was born overnight (literally!).

After signing a seven year contract, the legendary Ms. Tharpe was one of the first gospel recording artists to heavily influence later Rock ‘n’ Roll superstars such as Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Her sound was a unique blend of early rock, acoustic and electric guitar combined with spiritual lyrics that touched the hearts of the masses. She soon became the first female gospel singer to be #2 on Race Records.

Rosetta’s vocal aesthetics influenced early beginnings of jazz and blues and her success continued through World War II as one of the two gospel artists to record for troops overseas.

Throughout the 1940’s Ms. Tharpe began her European Tour while composing with many different gospel quartets and became a global hit in the UK. So what can we learn? Ms. Tharpe’s music was clearly a massive influence and has certainly played a part in our Rock and Roll music experience today.

First Woman To Fly Solo Across The Atlantic – Amelia Earhart (July 24, 1897- July 2, 1937)

Amelia Earhart

If there’s anyone who truly believed that they could fly, it was Amelia! At the age of 23 Amelia saw her first air show and from this was inspired to fly. Shortly after, she earned her pilot’s license and pursued her dream of becoming an Aviation Pioneer; eventually becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. (You go girl!)

Completion of her journey attracted much media attention that worked to the advantage of furthering her career. Ms. Earhart was also an author, although this wasn’t a career that brought her much recognition she combined her talents to produce best-sellers about her flying experiences and encouraged other women to also pursue their dreams.

After flying across the Atlantic Ocean fly-girl Amelia became an advocate of Equal Rights for women and commercial aviation. For her next expedition she set out to become the first woman to fly around the globe.

After completing just over two-thirds of the journey, Amelia’s plane mysteriously vanished into the South Pacific; neither her, her navigator Fred Noonan or their plane was ever seen again!

Despite this unpredictable end to her career, we can certainly learn a huge deal from Amelia’s journey and that’s to follow our dreams and not be afraid of life’s challenges – she certainly wasn’t!

The Life Changer – Helen Bamber OBE (May 1, 1925)

Helen Bamber

Two words: selfless and amazing! Helen is a psychotherapist who at age 20 worked tirelessly to bring Holocaust survivors to recovery.

Ms Bamber has dedicated herself tirelessly to championing for human rights and opposing torture. In 1961, she helped to establish Amnesty International, a non-governmental organisation which focuses on human rights; with over 3 million members and supporters around the world, the organisation still remains successful today.

In 1985, Helen co-founded the Medical Foundation for Care of Victims of Torture where she provided therapeutic interaction for victims to address psychological damage that they had endured during the holocaust.

Over the years, Ms. Bamber continued her work at a Jewish Refugee Committee in England and stood on the Committee for the Care of Young Children from Concentration Camps. Over the next eight years she trained to work with disturbed young adults and children.

Helen is an exceptionally kind-hearted lady – there’s no question about it!  Just by donating and sacrificing her time alone she has saved and changed thousands of lives around the world. Her example definitely inspires us to take more time out to care for those who may be less fortunate than ourselves.

British Suffragist – Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett (June 11, 1847- August 5, 1929)

Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett

Millicent Garrett Fawcett sure had more than the fighting streak! Famously known for her work as a suffragist, Millicent was a tireless campaigner for women’s rights.

Ms Fawcett was deemed an inspiration to many as she fought to improve women’s opportunities and their chances of being entitled to higher education. In 1871 she co-founded Newnham College, Cambridge. Shortly after, Ms Fawcett was appointed President of the National Union of Suffrage Societies which she held for 19 years.

Millicent showed great courage as she wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in. Due to her determination to create social change, women today are able to have the opportunities they deserve, including the basic right to an education or a job.

Moral of the story? Anyone has the power to change something, you just need to believe in it enough.

First African-American Female Millionaire – Sarah Breedlove, a.k.a Madam C.J. Walker (December 23, 1867- May 25, 1919)

Madam C.J. Walker
Who said women have no place in business? Well Sarah Breedlove certainly proved this stereotype wrong. At the tender age of seven, Sarah became an orphan and had to grow up mentally from an early age. If that wasn’t bad enough, at age ten young Sarah became a slave and was married by 14!

Despite a tough childhood, Ms Breedlove showed that she was built not to break! She soon found her feet and became the first female self-made millionaire and entrepreneur in America (BOOM!). Ironically, her serendipitous fortune was developed from her personal condition of scalp disease, which was a common problem among women at this time.

Sarah turned her misfortune into her success by concocting a number of formulas full of home remedies for her hair loss problem. Eventually she discovered a winning mixture containing sulfur which led to healthier hair growth.

Ms. Breedlove then bought her treatment to market and was able to establish a headquarters and build a factory, where she created ranges of hair care products for women. She then trained and taught fellow Africa-American women how to start a business and become successful by attending conferences around the country.

What can we say? Sarah Breedlove is truly an inspiration for women everywhere. Not only was this history maker a great businesswoman but she was a selfless woman who fought for the rights of African-Americans. Sarah’s legacy has shown us that nothing in this life is impossible and most importantly you have the power to turn a negative situation into an opportunity!

(Photos via Tumblr / Flickr) 

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