Women are phenomenal, special beings and we should never forget that. With grace, beauty, courage and determination women seem to do the impossible time and again.

We conquer adversity and rise above pain and misfortune, often beyond what was ever thought possible – and we do it with a healthy dose of kindness and compassion.

I think that in today’s day and age women conquer and excel every day, as we fight for recognition, for equal rights and to have a voice. We fight for a place at the boardroom table, and sometimes we need to fight for recognition at home too, all the while raising children, pulling double duty and trying to find ourselves in the process.

We are surrounded by so many phenomenal women present and past, that it is an impossible task to put together a list of the most inspiring. But in honour of woman’s month, I want to try and pick some famous women that inspired from the world over.

So, for Woman’s month this month, let’s raise a delicate champagne glass to some of the beautiful women that inspired us over the years. There are many, but below is a tribute to some of my favourite female icons, celebrities and role-models that inspire me to believe anything is possible. Their respective quotes also present pearls of wisdom that easily can be pinned up on a fridge or bedroom mirror as a daily reminder to find your inner strength and push on.

These icons of female gusto don’t only inspire, they were known for standing up for what they believed in, they spoke their minds, believed in their own potential and above all, remained kindly courageous in the face of adversity.  Who comes to mind first for you? 

Frida Kahlo

“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.” Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954)

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist known for her self-portraits. She contracted polio as a child and endured a lot of bullying in her younger years because of it. Then, at the age of 18, she was involved in a horrible bus accident. She sustained terrible injuries including a dislocated shoulder, and multiple fractures of her spine, foot, pelvis, collarbone, and ribs. She nearly lost her life and had to undergo over 30 surgeries over a sustained period of time. Throw into the mix a turbulent marriage to a womaniser and it is clear that Frida was one courageous human being that through her exceptional art, managed to turn her pain into beauty. A true icon of strength and resilience.

Mother Teresa

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love” – Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997)

Mother Teresa, loved where few would consider to tread. She was also called St. Teresa of Calcutta and was the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to the poor, and particularly the destitute of India. She dedicated her life to caring for the homeless and the dying in the slums of Calcutta and was the recipient of numerous honours, including the 1979 Nobel Prize for Peace. A true earth-bound angel that focused on alleviating other’s pain with love and kindness.


A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want” – Madonna (Born 1958)

A quote about knowing what you want that truly resonates with me. If we do not know what it is that we are after and we do not voice that desire to others, how is it possible to receive it?

Madonna is an American singer, songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. She rose to fame in the early eighties and rebelled against the norm from the beginning. Although sometimes controversial, she perfected the art of reinventing herself almost effortlessly time and again. She had the courage to be herself and to be comfortable with challenging the norm.

Born Louise Ciccone, in Michigan in the United States, she shot to stardom quickly and mesmerised to a level of acclaim that was nearly unprecedented for a woman in entertainment at the time. She was not shy to speak where others kept quiet and confidently flaunted her sexuality and sometimes jaw-dropping, flamboyant sense of style, just to make a statement.

Princess Diana

“Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.” – Princess Diana (1961-1997)

Someone that needs no introduction is Diana, Princess of Wales, the People’s Princess or fondly remembered as England’s rose. She was born Diana Frances Spencer in 1961 in Norfolk, England. Diana was only 20 when she became the first wife of Prince Charles and had a shy, loving demeanour that earned her the nickname “Shy Di”. The British monarchy was not a safe place for her, yet she became one of the most loved members of the royal family to date.

Despite tragically passing away at the age of only 36, Princess Diana is remembered as a loving mother, a caring humanitarian, and a style icon who rose above many hardships and was always willing to meet with people, regardless of their age or background.

Amelia Earhart

Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?” Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)

Amelia Mary Earhart was an American aviation pioneer, lecturer, poet and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organisation for female pilots.  Her dream of becoming a pilot was laden with obstacles and in the pursuit thereof she was discouraged by even her own family.

Amelia Earhart passionately believed that woman should follow their dreams and that they had to be fearless in a man’s world. She achieved almost celebrity status because of her achievements and courage but sadly lost her life doing what she loved best, soaring in the skies. Her death remains a tragic mystery that to this day never have been solved.

Coco Chanel

“A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous.” – Coco Chanel (1883-1971)

The founder of the iconic Chanel Brand, Coco Chanel was a French designer, a fearless businesswoman and apparently a Nazi collaborator. She was credited in the post-World War I era with changing the face of fashion as she was the driving force that set women free from the “corseted silhouette” and popularizing a casual chic as the feminine standard of style. 

Coco Chanel famously lived her life according to her own rules and had a strong opinion on almost everything. Her musings on elegance and life are as timeless as her classic legacy. She is still regarded today by many as one of the most influential women of all time.

JK Rowling

“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” J.K Rowling (1965)

British screenwriter and author Joanne Kathleen Rowling, (born near Bristol, England), created the epic Harry Potter children’s book series. She wanted to be a writer since childhood and often tried to get her attempts published but nothing much ever came of it. Divorced at an early age and literally kicked out on the streets, she had to survive on state benefits, being a single parent to her small daughter. Living in a confined apartment with her daughter and with no job or money she became depressed and even contemplated suicide. When Rowling finished her first copy of “The Philosopher’s Stone ”, she spent over a year trying to get a publisher. It was rejected by no less than 12 major publishing houses. Eventually, a quite small publisher, Bloomsbury agreed to take the book on, although they advised her to continue her training as a teacher because “writers of children’s books don’t tend to get very well paid”. Today, the global Harry Potter brand is estimated to be worth £7 billion.

Audrey Hebpburn

“You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.” – Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993)

Audrey Hepburn was famous for her memorable movie roles in the 1950s and 1960s but also for her wisdom and compassion. She was not only an accomplished actress, but also a humanitarian who spent the latter part of her life helping underprivileged children and mothers across the globe through UNICEF.

Marie Curie

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie (1867-1934)

Marie Curie was born Maria Skłodowska in Warsaw, Poland and grew up in a poor household as the youngest of 5 siblings.  She is known for her contributions to Physics and for playing a major role in finding treatments for cancer.

At the time, in a world dominated by men, it was hard to study – which she did in secret. It was even harder to be accepted by the academic fraternity of men. Beating the odds, she became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in two different categories being physics and chemistry — and the first woman to obtain a PhD degree from a French University.

Along with her husband, Pierre Curie, her research led to the further development of X-rays and the establishment of the field of radiation therapy for cancer. Due to the prolonged exposure to radiation, Marie Curie contracted leukaemia and died in 1934, but she remains a role model and an inspiration for women in the scientific field to this day.

The world is filled with amazing woman making the way for generations to come on a daily basis. These women were courageous and beautiful, but they were also human. All of them had to overcome major obstacles, rise up in times of hardship and carry on when it seemed impossible. And they also had their flaws. Just like us.

This post is an ode to all women young and old, facing the odds every day and finding the strength and courage to keep on moving forward.

We see you. You are beautiful gracious, phenomenal and courageous! Go rise above life and leave your legacy.

4 Replies to “Beautiful, gracious, phenomenal women that inspire”

  1. Thank you Hannah, I enjoyed your article of women that inspired.
    My personal favourite is the amazing Amelia Earhart. Its true that “Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it.” I find that my dreams up to now had boundaries. That needs to change during woman’s month 2020. Does it even matter that no one will ever know our courageous efforts in the face of our own adversity – up to now Amelia Earhart’s greatest and final achievement is still touching woman’s hearts but is still American aviation’s greatest secret.

  2. Hannah, it is so true – women are strong. I only realised late in life how strong I am. Beautiful article.. Well written.

    1. Hi Patsy. Thank you for your kind words! I am so glad that you realized your strength and worth! Thanks for spending time on Finding Forward!

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