Update: In honor of Women's Equality Day, we're sharing this slideshow on 16 history-making women you've probably never heard of. Ahead, a look at the barriers they broke in supporting rights for all women.
This story was originally published on March 8, 2016.
It’s a pretty great time to be a woman. A lot remains to be done to support women’s rights around the world, but more women now have access to education, economic opportunities, and leadership roles than ever before.
This progress is thanks to many generations of brave and brilliant women who shaped the course of history. So why don't the names of these history-making women roll off of our tongues as easily as those of history-making men? In school, we rightfully learn to celebrate Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr., but we rarely hear about the work of women like Grace Hopper or Cecilia Payne.
Women like Hopper, Payne and many others had to push back against the social norms of their day, breaking down the barriers of what society thought women could do. They were often excluded and marginalized along the way. Some of them were even demonized for making choices that would have been seen as commonplace for men. In the face of these huge challenges, they still managed to make groundbreaking discoveries, advocate for human rights and change the world. To be clear, none of these women were perfect, and many of them had notable flaws, but there is still plenty to celebrate in their remarkable lives.
We owe it to these hardworking women to start repairing these gaps in our history and raising our voices about their amazing accomplishments. To celebrate International Women's Day, Refinery29 has compiled a list of the under-recognized women you absolutely should know about.
Women accounted for only 13% of the directors on the 700 top grossing films in 2014 — and only 7% of the top 250 films. Refinery29 wants to change this by giving 12 female directors a chance to claim their power. Our message to Hollywood? You can't win without women. Watch new films every month on Refinery29.com/Shatterbox and Comcast Watchable.