All About Kids
Strong Women In History That Can Inspire Our Girls
These strong women made history and our daughters ought to know these women.
A lot of our daughters are named after these strong women. We gave them their names to inspire our daughters and to hope that they’ll be the same. While we still adhere to certain naming traditions, it hasn’t stopped us from choosing these names. So for some of us who are expecting daughters this year or want to inspire their daughters, here are some strong women who can inspire them.
1. Hurrem Sultana
Considered prominent but also highly controversial, Hurrem Sultana played a big role in the Ottoman empire’s politics alongside Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Her story is quite an inspiring one as she was born in Ruthenia (now modern-day Ukraine) under the name Roxelana and was originally brought in as a slave. But she made her mark in history as a slave who rose to royalty when Sultan Suleiman made her his legal wife — an act completely unheard of during the Ottoman era and was the first to receive the title Haseki Sultan (which means Imperial Consort).
Currently, there’s a series known as Magnificent Century that retells the life of Hurrem Sultana and Suleiman the Magnificent. However, these series are to be taken with a grain of salt as some scenes might be dramatized.
2. Kosem Sultana
Originally named Anastacia, she was renamed Kosem by Sultan Ahmed when she demonstrated her skills as a statesman. Even after the sultan passed away, she continued to run the empire and protect the dynasty as she promised. She even had the support of the Janissaries (the army of that time) and upon her death, the empire mourned for her for 3 days, lighting candles for her soul until Topkapi palace closed down.
Magnificent Century: Kosem, a Turkish series, opened for a new season this time featuring Kosem and her rise to power.
3. Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great made Russia a powerful country after overthrowing her husband and cousin, Peter the III. Also known as Russia’s longest-ruling female leader, she served as the last Empress Regnant of Russia. Because of the many developments, she even had an era named after her: the Catherinian Era. Many say that her reign brought modernization, enlightenment, and progress to Russia. There’s a show about her known as The Great with Elle Fanning playing Catherine.
4. Florence Nightingale
It takes nerves of steel to constantly heal soldiers coming back from the battlefield. Florence Nightingale did not have the strength of a ruler but rather that of a healer. Despite the smell and scent of corpses, she continued to heal soldiers even performing some of the surgeries herself in dire straits. Her exploits and achievements in nursing prompted many to declare her birthday International Nurses Day and crown her as the Mother of Modern Nursing.
5. Saint Jeanne D’Arc
Often spelled as Joan, Jeanne D’Arc is the celebrated Maiden of Orleans who led France to its victory. As a commander, she led armies to victory during the 100 years war or the one known as the War of the Roses. Her presence on the battlefield inspired even the French ruling body (who didn’t think they’d win at that time) to continue the fight. Although purely a figurehead, Saint Jeanne D’Arc inspired and she didn’t even have to kill anyone to do it.
6. Marie Curie
Marie Curie’s strength lay in her brilliance as a physicist. We all know her name but she was one of the very few women to teach as a professor in a European university. During her time, that was rare. Her discovery of Radium eventually led to her and her husband winning the Noble Prize together. She also pioneered the study of radioactivity which sadly led to her shortened lifespan.
7. Gabriela Silang
In the Philippines, Gabriela Silang has been hailed as the model for strong women everywhere. She personally went into battle, taking over for her husband after he was assassinated. She even became Diego Silang’s aide which ruffled a few feathers among the followers. Her leadership and military prowess led to her being crowned as the “Joan of Arc of Ilocandia” and even is seen as a symbol for female-run political parties today.
8. Nakano Takeko
Towards the end of the Sengoku Era, Nakano Takeko served as the commander of the female warriors known as the onna-bugeisha. Although there were gender restrictions, it didn’t stop her from leading a fully female-run army known as the Joshitai to fight against the other incoming enemies. She took down a great number of soldiers, even making sure that her sister, Yuko, was the one who beheaded her before she died. That way, the enemies couldn’t gloat. Her head was then buried in the roots of a pine tree in the temple Aizu Bangemachi. Today, there’s a monument to immortalize her achievements.
A lot of strong women ran the world!
Our daughters have their modern-day heroes but strong women didn’t just pop out of anywhere recently. They consistently fought on even in the past, even with little records showing their skill. However, that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. These strong women changed the course of history whether it’s through military skill or political maneuvers, inspiring women after that they too can do the same.