Influential women from various industries who go before us teach us that a world without women is a world that is dry as dust. These women also inspired us to dream big and change the world even in little ways.

These daring women all made a difference, from overcoming hardships, blazing trails, and breaking records. All of them acted to increase our safety, freedom, and prosperity.

Get to know more about these women world-changers and their powerful investments below:

1.Jane Addams: Pioneer for Social Change

Jane Addams sacrificed motherhood and marriage in order to fulfill a lifetime commitment to social change. She was a settlement house founder, suffragist, and peace activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1881, she and her friend, Ellen Gates Starr, journeyed to England, where they were inspired by a facility to help the poor. Eight years later, they moved into an old house called Hull-House, and it served as a place for immigrants of various communities. Addams may not be a lawyer, but she fought to help shape social legislation, including abolishing child labor, recognizing labor unions, establishing juvenile courts, ensuring safe working conditions, and more. Her lifelong contributions continue to impact the world today.

2. Rosalind Franklin: Revealed DNA’s Structure

At 15, Rosalind Franklin decided to become a scientist. Despite her father’s protests, she enrolled in college and received her degree in chemistry. She spent several years studying X-ray techniques and went on to lead a research team to study the DNA structure. Take note, this was during a time when women were not even allowed to eat in their school’s cafeteria.

Sadly, Maurice Wilkins betrayed Franklin when he showed scientists Francis Crick and James Watson her ground-breaking DNA X-ray image called Photo 51. Photo 51 enabled the three male scientists to determine the DNA structure, leading them to win the Nobel Prize in 1962.

3.Chien-Shiung Wu: Disproved a 30-year Old Law of Nature

Chien-Shiung Wu was recruited to Columbia University from her native China as part of the Manhattan Project. In 1943, she worked as a senior scientist on the atom bomb and conducted research on uranium enrichment and radiation detection.

By the following decade, Wu was approached by two physicists, Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee, who sought help in disproving the law of conservation of parity. Using the isotope cobalt-60, Wu proved that the laws of nature were not always identical or symmetrical, disproving the prior law that had been acknowledged for more than 30 years. Despite her investments and key contribution to the discovery, only Lee and Yang were given the Nobel Prize in 1957.

 4.Hedy Lamarr: Invented Tech Behind Wi-Fi

Hedy Lamarr was more than just a popular actress in Hollywood, she was also an inventor. Along with avant-garde musician and inventor George Antheil, Lamarr developed a technique for disguising radio transmissions. It was a new method of “frequency hopping.”

The duo’s “Secret Communication System” was created in order to battle Nazis during World War II, but unfortunately, the U.S. Navy ignored their findings. Fast forward to years later, other inventors found out how ground-breaking their work was. We have to give Lamarr credit for inventing a communication system that served as a precursor to wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

5.Sojourner Truth: A Voice that Changed a Nation

Born into slavery, Sojourner Truth escaped to liberty with her infant daughter in 1826. With a powerful voice that was driven by conviction, Truth was a passionate women’s rights activist and abolitionist. Among her flooring legacies include speaking on emancipation, women’s rights, segregation, governmental action, and more.

The substance of her language brought lasting impact, and her best-known speech was “Ain’t I a Woman?” which she delivered in 1851. When she passed away in 1883, her funeral in Michigan was the largest people back then had ever seen, a testimony to how her courage touched so many around her.