The inequality between men and women is still an ongoing battle but it's because of strong women that the divide is slowly getting smaller and empowered women are emerging more and more to show what we can do. Here we have a few inspirational women that have championed change, through grit, determination and hard graft. 

Elizabeth Blackwell

Born in Bristol, Elizabeth Blackwell is still one of Bristol's most influential women. She was the first female to qualify as a doctor in America and the first woman to have her name entered in the British General Medical Council’s medical register in 1859. She was instrumental in campaigning for change, for acceptance of women into the medical world and was devoted to bringing around change to improve the health care system by introducing innovative schemes and awareness surrounding healthcare. She was the pioneer for women in the medical profession and many were encouraged by her and followed in her footsteps; In 1881, there were only 25 female doctors registered in England and Wales but by 1911 there were 495 registered!

Jane Goodall

Jane challenged the meaning of what it is to be human, through her observations of chimpanzees in the 1960s she bought to the forefront the behaviour she had witnessed while observing chimpanzees in Tanzania. She challenged many of the scientific theories held at the time and opened the eyes of the scientific community to the interactions between chimpanzees and how this changed the outlook on what it is to be human. Her work was a stepping stone into the  acceptance of women into the scientific community as well as going on to be a renowned conservationist and ethnologist and still campaigns for change and awareness surrounding these issues. You may recognise her animated depiction as Jane in the film Tarzan. 

Lesley Patterson

Lesley is a 3 times world champion triathlete, an amazing feat of discipline and determination as it is, however, she didn't stop there. Lesley has now become a BAFTA winning scriptwriter for her adaptation of 'all quiet on the western front'. Quite a change in vocation but Lesley had a dream to become a scriptwriter and her determination to do so is beyond admiral, it is inspirational. She faced 16 years in LA chasing the dream and pitching her idea to anyone who would listen, ploughing all her time and money into her dream. She was then told she needed to raise $10,000 to keep the rights to the film adaptation, still she was determined on the dream even when faced with the prospect of raising $10,000. In what seems a serendipitous turn, there was the opportunity to raise that exact amount of money from a triathlon prize money. She trained hard, determined to win the money, however on the eve of the triathlon she fell from her bike and broke her shoulder. Did this stop her? No. She entered the triathlon and won the prize money. She went on to complete her dream, and her film adaptation is now on Netflix and she has one a BAFTA for the adaptation. 

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline was instrumental in the suffragettes movement, she fought for women's rights throughout her life and brought about drastic change for women's rights. The movement secured complete voting equality after a 40 year campaign and she was an inspirational figure to many women. The suffragettes used many tactics to prevail, wanting to make their point loud and clear and as forcibly as possible as they were tired of the slow progression for women's rights. 

Pearl S Buck 

Pearl was the first American woman to be awarded both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes for literature. Quite the achievement. She was awarded the Nobel prize in 1938 for her portrayal of Chinese peasant life.  She was raised in China and was fluent in both Chinese and English, when she returned to the US she worked towards civil rights and women's right and write many articles that were published in journals such as Crisis, the journal of the NAACP, and Opportunity, the magazine of the Urban league. On top of this she also founded the east and west association which bought about a change in cultural understanding between the Asia and the west. In 1949 Pearl set out to established Welcome House, the first international, inter-racial adoption agency as she was disgusted that at the time Asian and mixed-race children were considered unadoptable. 

These women knew their minds and knew their worth and fought to be heard and acknowledged. They are inspirations to us all, and these are just a tiny, tiny sample of great women, past and present, and we know there are many more to come.