Women who have changed the world in the last century.

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In honor of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women’s right to vote in the United States, Tekk.tv looks back at further impressive female progress around the world in the last century.

From the first woman to reach out into space to activists who gathered alone or in groups for a record-breaking women’s march, women have set records and forged paths forward against all odds.

1. equality in sport
Texas (1973)
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Considered one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time,
Billie Jean King has won the number 1 spot in the world rankings six times and 39 Grand Slam titles. Her crusade for equal pay won the world’s largest tennis audience – over 90 million – when she defeated the “self-proclaimed chauvinist” Bobby Riggs in the “battle of the sexes” at the Houston Astrodome.

2. mother of civil rights
Alabama (1955)

Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat in Montgomery, Alabama, and sit in the back seat of a segregated bus ignited one of the largest social resistance movements in history. The Montgomery bus boycott was the igniting event that sparked the U.S. civil rights movement.

3rd March of Women
Washington, D.C. (2017)

The women’s march of 21 January 2017 broke records and sparked a modern protest movement. About half a million protesters marched in Washington, D.C., for legislation and policies to protect women’s rights, and the movement spread to more than 500 other marches in the United States and 81 other countries.

4. pioneer of aviation
Newfoundland, Canada to Northern Ireland (1932)

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly non-stop and solo across the Atlantic. A few years later, in 1937, she disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe; theories about her mysterious disappearance are still valid.

5. the head of state
Iceland (1980)

The Icelandic politician Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the first woman to be directly elected president. Her 16-year presidency was also the longest of all elected female heads of state.

6th Nobel Peace Prize
Kenya (2004)

Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmental activist, was the first African woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. The pioneering ecologist founded a grassroots movement aimed at empowering rural women’s groups to protect nature and improve their quality of life, which led to the largest tree planting campaigns in Africa.

7. freedom to drive
Saudia Arabia (2017)

After years of campaigns by women’s rights activists and a tough fight against the opposition, women in Saudia Arabia – the only country in the world where female drivers are banned – regained the freedom to drive legally. Activists hope that this change will pave the way for further progress on women’s rights in the kingdom.

8th woman in space
Russia (1963)

The Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to travel into space and orbit the Earth 48 times in almost 3 days. Although she recorded only one trip, Tereshkova still claims to be the only woman to go into space alone, and the youngest at 26.

9. summit ascents
Nepal (1975)

Junko Tabei was the first woman to climb Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. The Japanese mountaineer reached peaks in 76 different countries and was also the first woman to climb the “Seven Summits”, the highest mountain on every continent.

10th pioneers of climate change
Antarctica (2016)

The largest all-female expedition to Antarctica to date attempted to raise awareness of Antarctica and increase the proportion of women in top scientific positions. The journey home
Mission 76 female scientists sent out to observe first-hand the effects of climate change on the southernmost continent.

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