In such a short space and in limited time, this question is always going to be challenging for one person to answer. It also depends on how far back in time one is prepared to challenge one’s self to do this.
Conventionally, particularly with online publications and, in this case, blogs, writers and thought leaders generally take us back to the last century or, at best, the last two hundred years or so. Some are lucky in the sense that their nations and/or cultural gatherings are relatively young, so, of course, they can perhaps list great men and women with a lot more clarity for the benefit of others still foreign to their heritage.
But for me, where do I begin to tell a story about some of the greatest women (and there are plenty equally great men well worth mentioning too)? At what particular point in our human history do I begin? Fortunately, this challenging task is made a little lighter because, quite frankly, at this stage of my life, I cannot go back too far. In fact, I dare say I will have a hard time remembering many women from the first half of the last century. A much easier mission would confine me to the last twenty or so years because events and the women (and men) that helped shape them may still be fresh in my mind.
This post is slightly longer than most of the others I have written to date, but in saying that, I don’t think I’d be able to squeeze in too many prominent men and women. I could, however, go down the road of doing a little more internet research and simply compile for you a list of the most prominent women of history. One could go as far back in history as one chose to. This task, when you come to think of it, is actually quite easy. You simply type in your keywords and there you go. But don’t expect to be presented with the same names on a consistent basis. Invariably there will be some names which will keep on coming up because they are just that important or famous.
I try my best to be as unique and as innovative and original as possible with my own blog writing. I hope you have been enjoying it so far, by the way. So, fair to say, you are about to be presented with yet another list with familiar names popping up on your screen. I’ve decided to set myself yet another challenge for completing the rest of this blog post. I am not going to leave my seat until it is completed and published. One or two links may or may not be added. At this stage, I do not know, this is also entirely up to my editor who is very kindly hosting this website on my behalf.
It also allows me more time and space for me to prepare for my lessons. As I was saying, I was talking about a new challenge and not leaving my desk. It’s cluttered at the moment. There are piles of papers and a small box of CDs lying to one side. My USB stick is no-where to be seen. I have deliberately switched myself off from the internet. Also, I will not be getting up from my desk to go and look up a name that I suspect I may have misspelled or a fact that I may have miscued. In these closing lines, you be the teacher. And may I also speak on a first name basis. Firstly, I regard these great women as my friends, although most of them should be respected as mothers.
This is also convenient, because our cultural diversity challenges us with names not always easy to remember or spell correctly. I begin with the most recent figment of my worldly admiration for great women. Young Malala is not yet twenty. And yet she has already won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Forget, for a moment, what happened to her, but focus rather on what she continues to achieve on behalf of women and children from around the world. She is particularly prominent in advocating for the right to be educated, seeing as though there are still many countries in the world who do not allow women and their children to be educated properly.
It was not her original name to begin with, but she is known the world over as Mother Teresa. She has also won the Peace Prize. To many she is officially deified as a saint. All people who do good deeds for others, in my view, are saints, but anyway, look at what this remarkable woman achieved for the poorest of the poor, also known as the Untouchables, in India. Another Nobel Peace Prize winner is Suu Kyi who last year won yet another landslide election with her National League for Democracy in Myanmar. Finally, after many years of strife and incarceration, she and her political and social partners will be leading their multicultural Southeast jewel towards democracy.
Ellen should be regarded as Africa’s mother for the time being. I am still surprised that she is still Liberia’s president. She surely has one of the most difficult leadership positions in the world. But her compassionate leadership is making a difference to a nation which has been traumatized and burnt by many years of violent dictatorships and civil wars. Wangari is not just a mother of Africa; she is a mother of the earth. Her Nobel Prize was in recognition for the sterling work she did right up until her death, of improving our environment and reversing the tide of global warming and climate changed caused by man’s greed.
Time is running out again, I’m afraid, so there’s just enough room for one more famous woman, very much relevant to today’s times. A peace prize, let me just say this, is surely around the corner for German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.