LIFESTYLE

10 Women Who Shaped The 20th Century (PICTURES)

30/09/2013 08:58 BST | Updated 26/02/2014 09:59 GMT

The modern female lifestyle imperative known as 'having it all' has become a cursed nuisance for most women; and those who appear to juggle a full-time job, childcare, most of the housework, and a social life, while looking blissfully relaxed, tend to be viewed with suspicion rather than admiration.

Yet, considering how hard women have worked throughout the 20th century to earn the right to exercise control over every area of their lives, it makes sense that few of us are quite sure which ball it's now safe to drop, without letting the side down.

Rewind 100 years and women could not vote, had no right to receive equal pay and could not legally have an abortion.

suffragettes

Suffragette Christabel Pankhurst in a Polling Booth during the General Election of December 1918.

While researching her book The Woman’s House, broadcast journalist Jenni Murray was surprised to learn that even in the year she was born (1950), “there there was no equal access to education”.

"The 1944 Education Act established the principle of free education for all from primary to secondary, but at eleven plus there were quotas for admission to grammar school," she writes for the BBC.

“Too many girls had been passing the exam and education authorities had decided to limit numbers. The quotas persisted in Birmingham and Northern Ireland until the late eighties when the High Court ruled them discriminatory.”

Such glimpses of recent modern history remind us that women's rights have not always been human rights.

Editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group Arianna Huffington recently stated that it's time for both men and women to redefine their successes beyond old-fashioned, patriarchal parameters.

“When I talk about this being the third revolution, the first being the vote, the second being work equality, the third is about redefining success and the world in which we are competing."

Arianna wants to create a Third Metric, which redefines success beyond money and power.

“There are a million ways to live your life. No matter what the world says or the cultural expectations, live your own life. So many people lead other people's perceptions of success. They don't notice they are miserable because they think they are successful.”

Here's a list of more women who have helped shape the world we live in.

10 Women Who Shaped The 20th Century