This International Women’s Day we look back to recognize five incredibly inspirational women and their contribution to the world we live in today. Time and again women have made remarkable contributions that have shaped history; some saved lives, some stirred a revolution, and some made their voices heard. We’re in no doubt this world could look very different today if it weren’t for these five wonder women.

Emmeline Pankhurst: English Women’s Rights Activist (1858-1928)

A political activist named as one of the “100 Most Important People of the 20th Century” by TIME in 1999, Emmeline Pankhurst campaigned for women’s voting rights before and after WW1. She led the British Suffragette movement and was arrested multiple times for her demonstrations. When the war began in 1914, Emmeline and her fellow activists put their militant activities on hold to support the government and their country.  In 1918, her dream came to fruition – women were given the right to vote if they were above the age of 30 (with several other restrictions). But, her persistence and faith, fueled a movement that made a lasting impact on women forever.

Coco Chanel: Fashion Designer (1883-1971)

If it weren’t for Coco Chanel, we might all still be walking around in corsets. Chanel revolutionized the world of fashion forever by spurning contemporary styles and designing clothing that women had never worn before. Chanel turned men’s workwear trousers into a staple item in a lady’s wardrobe and was also the first to create a suit for women. Borrowing from men’s fashion, Chanel created her iconic tweed style suits that gave women the perfect outfit and confidence to build their careers in a male-dominated world. And where would we be if Chanel hadn’t reinvented the LBD? Taking an item previously reserved for funerals and workers, Chanel turned the simple LBD into one of the most exciting things a woman could wear.

Rosa Parks: American Civil Rights Activist (1913 – 2005)

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Popularly known as the “The First Lady of Civil Rights” for her courageous refusal to offer up her seat on a bus to a white man in 1955, she was then arrested for doing so. Parks’ actions made a political statement, ignited retaliation and led to the Montgomery bus boycott, led by Martin Luther King Jr. This was a turning point in racial equality history. Her behavior sparked commitment in others to protest for justice and strive for fair treatment for all.

Marie Curie: Chemist and Physicist (1867 – 1934)

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The first person to be awarded two Nobel Prizes, Marie Curie was a pioneer in radioactivity research. Her work included developing the theory of radioactivity and being the first to discover polonium, so named after her native country Poland, and radium. Her research paved the way for groundbreaking discoveries in medical sciences and cures for diseases. During World War I Curie set up France’s first radiology center, drove an ambulance that she had equipped with x-ray apparatus to aid battlefield surgeons, and is estimated to have saved over 1 million wounded soldiers with her X-ray units.

Audrey Hepburn: Actress and Humanitarian (1929 – 1993)

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Renowned for her striking looks and impressive acting skills, Hepburn spent the last decade of her life aiding children in third world countries. Having grown up in a war-torn Holland and after experiencing starvation firsthand during her youth, she could identify with people’s sufferings. Hepburn used her fame to draw attention towards many worthy causes and was a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, with whom she visited many countries around the world, including her last trip to Somalia just four months before her death. She raised issues around education for all children, poor health standards in developing countries, poverty, slavery and human trafficking, and inspired other influential women in the industry to help the underprivileged.

These five incredible women left lasting legacies; to vote for what we choose, to be treated as equals, to wear what we want, to be taken seriously in male-dominated fields, and lastly to use our voices for what we believe in. Exercise your right to dress the way you want! Shop from thousands of brands and get Cash Back on every purchase.

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