One resource which we love is our Inspirational Women resource, honouring the many courageous women who stepped forward to fight inequality and to champion causes for the benefit of society. Their work to break down barriers has allowed future generations of women to pass through without (as much) resistance and continue to inspire us today.
"All that separates, whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome."
Kate Sheppard was the driving force behind the women's suffrage movement in New Zealand, travelling all over the country to promote the idea that women should be given a voice in local elections. As a result, New Zealand became the first country to establish universal suffrage.
DAME WHINA COOPER
"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept."
Dame Whina Cooper dedicated her life to fighting for Māori land rights and improving living conditions for Māori women. Her strength and eloquence left a lasting impression on the country, with the press dubbing her "Mother of the Nation".
"Girls can do anything. We can do anything and we expect to be treated as equals."
In 1999, Helen Clark became New Zealand’s first elected woman prime minister. By 2008, Clark had become the fifth longest-serving PM Leaving NZ politics she focused her attention to international matters, becoming the leader of the United Nations Development Programme from 2009 to 2017.
"Every flyer who ventures across oceans to distant lands is a potential explorer; in his or her breast burns the same fire that urged adventurers of old to set forth in their sailing-ships for foreign land."
Jean Batten was the manifestation of triumph and hope against the odds through the dark days of the Depression became the best-known New Zealander of the 1930s, internationally, by making a number of record-breaking solo flights across the world. She made the first-ever solo flight from England to New Zealand in 1936.
"I hate wars and violence but if they come then I don't see why we women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas."
Nancy Wake, better known as the ‘White Mouse’, was the most decorated WWII servicewoman on the Allies’ side. She was also on the Gestapo’s most-wanted list – in fact, her code name was inspired by her ability to dodge her enemies.
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."
The name Helen Keller is known around the world as a symbol of courage in the face of overwhelming odds, yet she was much more than a symbol. She was a woman of luminous intelligence, high ambition and great accomplishment who devoted her life to helping others.
"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."
Marie Curie changed the world not once but twice. She founded the new science of radioactivity – even the word was invented by her – and her discoveries launched effective cures for cancer. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.
"The world is full of good people.If you can’t find one be one."
Poor, marginalised, small in stature, and a woman, she had the makings of obscurity, but these were features that did not define her spirit or her message. Her love and compassion gained earned her a Noble Peace Prize, and touched the hearts of everyday men and women around the world—forcing the world to reexamine their own priorities, hearts, and minds.
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
For Anne’s thirteenth birthday, she received a red plaid notebook with a metal lock from her father. While in hiding, Anne eloquently constructed a narrative of her life as a Jewish teenager during the Holocaust. Diary of a Young Girl has become a historical and creative icon for the world and has been a gift and an inspiration to countless individuals.
"I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.
Malala Yousafzai is a young activist who campaigns loudly and effectively for the right of women to earn an education. Unperturbed by an assassination attempt on her life by the Taliban, the now 20 year old young woman speaks around the world on behalf of subjugated women and girls.
"I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free... so other people would be also free
In 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American living in Montgomery, Alabama, challenged the race segregation that existed in parts of the US by refusing to give up her seat on a bus so that a white person could sit down. Her protest was supported by many other African Americans and sparked the civil rights movement which, in the 1960s, eventually won equal rights.
"As long as women consent to be unjustly governed, they will be"
A charismatic leader and powerful orator, Pankhurst roused thousands of women to demand, rather than ask politely, for their democratic right in a mass movement that has been unparalleled in British history. Always in the thick of the struggle, she endured 13 imprisonments, her name and cause becoming known throughout the world.
"That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show."
Born in the early 19th century, Ada Lovelace had a fascination with science and mathematics that defied the expectations of her class and gender at the time. After being introduced at the age of 17 to inventor Charles Babbage,she is now regarded as one of the most important figures in the early history of the computer.