Women really can do it all!
Captain Sarah Cudd has been in the Army for five years and recently competed for her Expert Field Medical Badge. Alongside 239 contenders, Cudd w…ent through grueling drills and tests in order to bring herself to this point. Traveling across 12 miles all while shouldering a 35-pound backpack and a five-pound weapon, Cudd found herself on the ground "five feet from failure" while her comrades fervently cheered her on.
Cudd managed to hunch over and make her way across the line, earning her the coveted badge. As one of 46 people to taste success, Cudd stumbled right into the role of a female hero. But Cudd isn't the only female hero that's been celebrated by women all over the world.
From the time of Cleopatra to the present, women have continually been pushing boundaries and surpassing expectations with their intelligence and fearlessness. Women such as Mary Wollstonecraft and Malala Yousafzai gave voices to women that didn't have any of their own. When situations seem almost unbearable, remember that these incredible women were trailblazers in an entirely different field.
To battle gender inequality in Hollywood, Ephron took a stand for women everywhere. As a journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer, and director, she was in a prime position to introduce change. She served as the screenwriter for "When Harry Met Sally," which shaped her career and positioned her in a place of power where she was able to show just how much women can do in comparison to men. "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim," was a line from one of her best speeches, which secured her name in history. Ephron continues to remind women everywhere that if it hasn't been done before, then it's your turn to do it.
These five sisters have left their mark on the New York City Police Department, following in one another's footsteps as high-ranking officers. With a deputy chief, captain, sergeants, and then a retired sergeant in their ranks, these girls have had their hands in a little bit of everything. One of the sisters even earned the title of the first African-American female commanding officer in her precinct, which is no small feat. They hold a deep love of public service and plan to continue helping people while exemplifying the motto that if you have big dreams then you can be big.
Mary Wollstonecraft was the pioneer for women's rights. She penned "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" in 1792, which sent England into a tailspin. Wollstonecraft ignited a flame when she called for the equality of men and women, decreed that men were not superior creatures, and insisted that women should have the same rights as men. She did face a rather serious rebuttal from the public, with people completely ignoring her publication, but she kept campaigning forward with her platform and eventually her words were heard, shaping the modern fight for women's rights into what it is today.
Dr. Hamlin has spent most of her days residing in Ethiopia where she's completely changed postpartum care, specifically in a childbirth injury called obstetric fistula. In poorer countries, women who have a difficult labor and delivery can experience a tear in the birth canal which leaves them incontinent. It's a rather easy fix in modern hospitals, but such repairs are fairly nonexistent in this region. In 1974, Dr. Hamlin founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital where she performed free surgeries to thousands of women in need. Her selflessness for these women continues to this day and reaffirms the necessity for global female care.
Tereshkova broke down quite the barrier for women in the Soviet Union. While working as a textile worker, she dreamed of traveling to space; she ended up doing just that. As the first woman to travel into space, she orbited the Earth 48 times, breaking the record for number of orbits and flight times performed by every man before her. If that wasn't impressive enough, she did all of this when she was only 26 years old. If you ever thought age was holding you back, look to Tereshkova and her ceaseless desire to do something great, and you'll know that's false.
Known everywhere simply as Malala, she was the subject of headlines in 2012 when a group of gunmen in Pakistan boarded her school bus and shot her three times in the head. To add insult to horrendous injury, the act was completely premeditated in retribution for speaking up for her female peers and explaining the importance for female education. Her story traveled the newswires and "Time" magazine subsequently listed her as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World." She continues to travel the world reiterating the necessity of giving fair education opportunities to every woman that wants them.
Neetu's story is something that'll stop you dead in your tracks. Sold as a child bride at 13 years old, she was divorced, remarried, and eventually gave birth to twins when she was only 14. However, she's beyond thankful for this turn of events, continually attributing her success as a wrestler to her husband. He gave her the courage and confidence to get in the ring, which has now drastically changed the view her village of Bedwa has on all of its women. At 21 years old, she's a rising athlete, continually exemplifying dedication and hard work.
Rumors and legends have been around regarding Cleopatra for centuries, but there's one thing that people know for sure—she is a woman in history who continues to fascinate the world. A strong ruler, she represented the importance of female wit and charm. It's been said that Cleopatra was a gorgeous woman, but history books tell a different story. Winning Antony and Caesar, she performed her magic with intellect and personality, as opposed to her striking looks. Cleopatra made it clear that she'd never bow to a male figure, and she maintained her independence till her untimely death.
Misty Copeland's legacy is filled with amazing accomplishments. Despite being named the first black female principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, her success as a dancer was quite the surprise. Growing up in a poor family, she couldn't even attend proper lessons until she was 13 years old, at which point she became a devoted pupil. Now her talent transcends the stage and is present in a Barbie doll as well. The Misty Copeland Barbie varies from the traditional figurines, boasting muscles, fuller lips, and a pronounced nose. This doll serves two purposes: it ignores gender norms, and it also symbolizes the upward mobility women are able to find within themselves.
Frida Kahlo is quite the study. She lived through several traumatic incidents, including one that left her crippled and unable to reproduce. Instead of internalizing her anger and sadness, she projected her emotions onto canvas through her various works of art. Some find her work disturbing, but she maintained that she was only revealing the inner female struggle that so many women repress. Kahlo continues to serve as a reminder to women that your voice and actions can be heard in many ways, whether it's on an artistic, political, or social platform.