Inspirational women around the world

March 8, 2017

- By Irina Rasskazova -

On the occasion of International Women's Day on March 8th we want to salute women from all over the world! This special date, that was officially recognized by United Nations in 1975, celebrates women's achievements in social, economic, cultural, and political spheres. By acknowledging women's role in the development of our society and telling success stories, we empower women and girls to protect their rights and realize their full potential.

This year's International Women's Day has a theme #BeBoldForChange, so we've decided to talk about courageous and spirited females that inspire us on a daily basis. And what a better way to reflect on this, than ask a diverse multinational community of MIT Spouses and Partners Connect? Our members, who came to MIT with their significant others from all parts of the world, have shared with us their own female role-models. Here is the list of iconic women that empower them and give strength, inspiration, and motivation to be a better versions of themselves.

Yuna Kim or "Queen Yuna"

The first female figure skater to win the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the Four Continents Championships and the Grand Prix Final. She was featured in TIME's 100 most influential people in 2010.

"Korea has never been strong in figure skating, so there was less support than in any other country for this field. However, Yuna Kim was not giving up even if she had to train in a poor environment. I think she is a very growth-oriented, hard working, and steady person. Also, she is very positive. These features made her very professional in what she is doing. She always pursues perfection, and she actually reaches it. Now she is contributing to society by inspiring people (no need to mention future figure skaters) and training juniors. She is also warm-hearted. She spends her fortune very wisely and generously. She is a very admirable female not only because of her accomplishments, but also because of her positive, constructive, and decent attitude."

MJ Lee, South Korea


Aziza Al-Yousef

Human Rights Activist & Leading Women's Rights Advocate

"I think Aziza Al-Yousef is an iconic woman. She is a prominent Female Rights Activist, who is leading a campaign to end male guardianship over women in Saudi Arabia. For instance, Saudi women need permission from their male guardian to travel, issue a passport, study, work, have a medical surgical procedure, get married, etc. Thousands of people signed a petition requesting to end male guardianship over women, and Aziza Al-Yousef personally hand-delivered the petition to the Royal Court back in September 2016. She, of course, does face opposition from conservatives who do not wish to see this change. The character traits of Aziza that appeals most to me is that she's confident, outspoken, and level-headed."

Nada Alamro, Saudi Arabia


Soong Ching-ling (Rosamonde)

Honorary President of the People's Republic of China (27 January 1893 - 29 May 1981)

"Soong Ching-ling, or Rosamonde according to her Christian name, spent her whole life fighting for women's and children's rights and free access to healthcare, education, as well as for the world peace, and other important causes. This way she has gained an impeccable reputation around the world. Her personality appeals to me beause she is strong and selfless."

Lizzy Yuan, China 


Sri Mulyani

Minister of Finance of Indonesia since 2016; she held the same post from 2005 to 2010 before joining the World Bank Group as Managing Director

"She is an intelligent and calm woman, and her hard effort to improve Indonesia's economy makes me amazed. One of her policies is giving many scholarships for Indonesian students in order to improve the system of education in Indonesia. The qualities that I admire most in her is that she is smart and assertive."

Lena Rahmidar, Indonesia


Yu Gwansun

Loyalist and patriot, young Korean Christian Independence Fighter 

"Yu Gwansun was an organizer of 'March 1st Independence Movement' against the Imperial Japanese colonial rule. Even though she was very young [16 or 19, according to different sources], she fought courageously. When speaking up and standing on our dignity in public was dangerous because of Japanese military police, she organized and led the crowd in cheering for independence. I am inspired by her character traits, and admiring her loyalty and courageousness."

Abigail Kim, South Korea


Las patronas

Humanitarians helping migrants for more than two decades

"Las patronas are a group of women living in a small Mexican village that are humanitarians. In 1995, two sisters went to buy milk and bread for their households, and on their way back they saw a train with migrants who did not eat for 4 days. So they gave all the food away. This situation made such a big impression on them that, with the help of their mother, they started preparing food and giving it away to as many migrants from Central America, that were travelling by train to Northern Mexico to get to the USA, as possible. To me, Las patronas represent the anonymous efforts of women making things happen despite having no resources, and doing good deed without expecting something in return."

Martha de la Vega, Mexico


Marie "KonMari" Kondo

Organizing consultant and the New York Times best-selling author, whose book 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up', sold over 7 million copies worldwide

"Marie Kondo was listed as one of the TIME's 100 most influential people. Her book inspired me and taught me how to organize my living space. It has changed me completely. Thanks to her method my understanding of tidying up my room is now also different. According to the book's introduction, the method is based on Japanese Values which includes the spirit of ZEN."

Yuriko Chigusa, Japan


Eun Young Choi

Christian Counselor

"Eun Young Choi made me be closer to God. Her life inspired me to dream. She helped me to raise up when I was getting through suffering. I admire her insight and a warm heart."

Sun Choi, South Korea


Petite Meller

Musician and artist who is not afraid to break the boundaries

"For me Petite Meller is an iconic woman. I choose her because I've recently fell in love with her and her music, which is wild and dreamy. She possess qualities that I admire such as being bold, brave, able to follow her wildest dreams without fitting / falling to conventions. Her most inspiring character traits to me are courage, creativity, boldness, and patience."

Timna Churges Golan, Israel