They are known, admired and a source of inspiration for many generations.
“They” are these women, as different as they are committed . None of their stories are alike, but each of them contributes to make things happen and build a better world . Feminists, activists for the environment, for equality for all or simply charismatic, they left their mark. Let's go straight away to discover these nine famous committed women , those who make you want to surpass yourself, these icons of yesterday, today and tomorrow .
These inspiring women of the 20th century who we do not forget
Simone de Beauvoir, feminism in words
Coming from a bourgeois family, Simone de Beauvoir grew up in a stable and wealthy environment. As a teenager, the ruin of her family disrupts her cozy cocoon and deteriorates the relationship between her parents. This vision of the couple will mark her and will certainly have a role in her desire to experience non-conformist romantic relationships .
At 15, the young girl from a good family knows what she wants: she will become a writer! The publication of “Second Sex”, a philosophical, existentialist and feminist essay, hit the headlines. This book details the condition of women after the Second World War.
Despite the criticism, this work was a real success and Simone de Beauvoir became the icon of emancipated women .
For the author, they have a role to play. By remaining passive and letting men develop sexism, they maintain their lives as submissive women.
“We are not born a woman, we become one. »
Rosa Parks, the daring gesture that counts
Rosa Parks grew up in the United States in Alabama, at a time when the Klu Klux Klan was active and interactions between black and white people were legally restricted. Despite the Jim Crow law stating “ separate but equal ”, equality has clearly not been achieved.
Her commitment against racial segregation began with her husband in 1940. She joined the Montgomery Voters League which helped people of color pass their voter registration test.
It continued in 1943 when she became the secretary of Edgar Nixon, leader of the NAACP ( National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ), an American organization for the defense of civil rights.
Then came this famous day of December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks was sitting on a bus when the driver asked her to move to give her seat to a white man. Tired of having to give in and submit once again, she refuses and is arrested. His lawyer, Edgar Nixon, seized the opportunity to make this act a fight against racial segregation.
Rosa Parks is not the first to refuse to obey. But her position as a stable and educated person helps to make her become the symbol of the fight against racial inequalities .
“If we give up, we become complacent about mistreatment, which makes it even more oppressive. »
Marie Curie, female science
Born in Warsaw in 1867, Maria Salomea Sklodowska became involved in her schooling at a very young age. At that time in Poland, higher education was prohibited for women, so she joined an underground university. At 24, she left to join her sister in Paris and enrolled at the Faculty of Science to study physics.
She met Pierre Curie with whom she married shortly after. The arrival of their first child fills the couple, but the young woman refuses to confine herself to the role of mother and wife.
The duo of scientists immerse themselves in the study of radioactivity. Their work is made public and has won several awards. The consecration took place in 1903, when Marie Curie, then aged 36, was awarded with her husband the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discoveries on the phenomenon of radiation. She becomes the first woman to receive such an award.
Marie Curie did not campaign for a cause or promote the status of women, but her position as a recognized physicist and chemist allowed many young girls to realize that science was not a discipline reserved for men .
“I have often been questioned, especially by women, about how I could reconcile family life and a scientific career. Well, it hasn't been easy. »
Simone Veil, a revolution for women
From her maiden name, Simone Jacob, the one we would associate much later with the women's liberation , lived her adolescence during the Second World War, under Nazi terror. A survivor of deportation to Auschwitz, she will keep the marks of the Shoah tattooed in her flesh and forever anchored in her mind.
In 1974, appointed by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, she became Minister of Health. November 26 of the same year marks a turning point for every woman. Her speech to the National Assembly for the decriminalization of abortion was a long fight that she ended up winning. The Veil law was promulgated 1 and a half months later. This is a revolution for women who can now have an abortion (voluntary termination of pregnancy) completely legally.
“My demand as a woman is that my difference be taken into account, that I am not forced to adapt to the male model. »
These famous committed women of the 21st century who are moving the world forward
Michelle Obama, the strength to believe that everything is possible
Coming from a very modest family, living in a neighborhood with a large mix of populations, Michelle Robinson is a very good student who spares no effort. She wants to be an example, to show that success does not depend on skin color or a full wallet.
Its first commitments concern diversity and access to care for the most disadvantaged .
In 2008, her husband, Barak Obama, was elected president of the United States. She becomes the first African-American First Lady. Despite her status, she wants to remember where she comes from and who she is.
She continues her committed actions and wishes to give little girls the strength to think that they can become what they want , regardless of their gender, skin color or social background.
“There are no limits to what we can achieve as women. »
Natalie Portman, from sexism to feminism
Natalie Portman found fame at a very young age. Barely a teenager, she entered the world of cinema.
She confided years later, during the Women's March 2018, that the first letter she received from a fan was an attack on her sexualized body. She will also denounce the sexism she suffered from professionals on the big screen.
Strongly motivated by highlighting women's work , she promotes microcredit to develop women's businesses in poor countries. In another atmosphere, she adorned herself with a Dior cape during the 92nd Oscars ceremony on which the names of unselected female directors were embroidered.
In parallel with her actions to promote women in their profession, she is engaged in the defense of animal rights .
“I wonder how people decided that women were supposed to shave their legs and armpits. »
Emma Watson, feminism is also a men's business
Generations Y and Z grew up with it. Little boys and girls followed the adventures of the brilliant Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter saga. But the young witch is now in her thirties committed to gender equality .
While many people defend feminism, Emma Watson approaches the issue from a different angle which aims to include men.
In 2014, during her speech presenting the He for She movement, she addressed men directly: “Gender equality is your problem too”. It highlights that they are locked in, just like women, in social norms that it would be good to break. With her impactful and engaging approach to inclusion, she rallies men alongside women to act together for gender equality .
“Both men and women should have the right to be sensitive, just as they should have the right to be strong. »
Kamala Harris, an ambitious and determined pioneer
Born to immigrant parents, Kamala Harris grew up in California influenced by their commitment to civil rights. From a very young age, she took part in it by participating in various events.
She entered Howard University, renowned for training the African-American elite. She is heading toward a career in law, convinced that the system must be changed from within. Her career took her to the position of prosecutor of San Francisco, then attorney general of California. She is the first black woman to hold such a position.
His ambition and determination are enhanced by an iron fist and a confidence that destabilizes some men.
In November 2020, the one nicknamed “the Obama girl” became the first woman of color elected vice-president of the United States . She is seen as a modern woman, promised to accomplish great things.
Defense of minorities, development of an inclusive society, fight against discrimination and police violence, ecological transition are some of its political commitments.
But she also calls for the empowerment of women . Indeed, she is aware that her election could only have been possible thanks to all these ladies of the past who “opened the way” for her. In her victory speech, she paid tribute to them and assured that she would not be the last.
“Our unity is our strength and our diversity is our power. We reject the myth of “us” versus “them”. We are in the same boat. »
Greta Thunberg, the voice of young people
Summer 2018, at the age of 15, a young Swedish environmental activist speaks and denounces the government's inaction on global warming . His message and his outspokenness attract attention. She initiated the Fridays for Future movement: going on strike from school every Friday as long as there are no concrete actions.
His call brings together millions of students around several school strikes for the climate .
The movement goes beyond Sweden. The young girl's commitment went around the world and was relayed by all the media. Greta Thunberg then becomes the voice of a new generation, the one who awakens consciences.
“No one is too small to make an impact and change the world. »