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12 Best Female Role Models Everyone Should Look Up To

12 Best Female Role Models Everyone Should Look Up To

In the modern world, female role models are both in plentiful supply and yet hard to pin down as ‘role models.’ Women with influence and power have the ability to transform a generation, as do their male counterparts, but are often placed at either end of the spectrum. These powerful, influential women are either put on pedestals as impossibly perfect paragons or are seen as bad influences, the corrupting moral forces in society. Bajan singer Rihanna has even gone on record to distance herself from the pressures of being a female role model.

However, female role models the world over are so varied and unique that decrying one woman for not being a role model in fact ensures she becomes one by virtue of being different, of going against the norms and challenging perceptions of femininity and feminism in equal measure. So, if you’re interested in looking for some female role models who inspire, challenge, and influence the way our world works, here are 12 of the best women that you could look to as female role models.

1. Sylvia Plath

Author, writer.

lifehackwomen-sylviaplath

    Sylvia might seem to be an unlikely candidate in the realm of female role models, but she was brave and bold enough to put her innermost thoughts and feelings out there for the world to hear and understand. ‘The Bell Jar’ was a stunning, semi-autobiographical novel about mental illness, a taboo subject in those days, and Plath’s timeless poetry resonates long after her passing.

    2. Beyonce Knowles-Carter

    Singer, actress.

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    lifehackwomen-beyonce

      One of the modern day examples of a woman who can do it all and run the world, Beyonce really is one of the best role models a young woman could have. She’s driven, talented, intelligent, focused, and someone who keeps on pushing herself harder. She’s also managing to juggle the pressures of being a mother and wife and has had a decade-long string of successful solo hits and albums. Beyonce is clearly running things on her own terms.

      3. Audrey Hepburn

      Actress, singer, humanitarian.

      lifehackwomen-audreyhepburn

        One of Hollywood’s most beloved and iconic actresses, Audrey Hepburn is revered for both her acting skills and her philanthropic efforts as a UNICEF ambassador following her unofficial retirement from acting, making her one of the most notable female role models. With a life devoted to kindness and compassion, Audrey devoted herself to being a mother, a wife, and a humanitarian, something admirable and inspirational.

        4. Aung San Suu Kyi

        Activist, politican.

        lifehackwomen-aungsansuukyi

          The world’s most famous living political activist, Aung San Suu Kyi gained international fame and recognition when she campaigned for democracy in Burma, earning herself a spot amongst the great female role models. Suu Kyi lead the National League for Democracy for many years and gained huge global respect and praise for her continued stance, despite being a  political prisoner under house arrest for over 20 years before her release. Suu Kyi is planning to run for President in her native Burma in 2015, and if she does, it will be a massive victory for one of life’s superb female role models.

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          5. Katharine Hepburn

          Actress.

          lifehackwomen-katharinehepburn

            A tremendously independent, innovative and astounding actress, Katharine Hepburn has remained one of the greatest actresses of all time, with her imposing, charming on-screen persona and her formidable life off screen equally iconic. She was fiercely individual, bisexual, assertive and confident. She was amongst the first to wear trousers on screen, and managed to mastermind her own comeback following a period of box office flops and losses, creating her most iconic roles and coming back on top. As Bogart might quip…what a dame!

            6. Malala Yousifazi

            Activist.

            lifehackwomen-malalayousufzai

              A young woman who survived an attempt on her life and who is now an outspoken advocate of female rights and female education in the Middle East, Malala Yousifazi is the textbook-perfect example of a role model for young women and with good reason. Since moving to the UK to live and work, she has bravely spoken in the United Nations and continues to fight for girls to get an education in all corners of the globe, making her a perfect example of a female role model.

              7. Margaret Cavendish

              Scientist, author.

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              lifehackwomen-margaretcavendish

                The name Margaret Cavendish might not strike the same spark of recognition as Mary Shelley or H.G Wells, but she is undoubtedly worth of being one of history’s top female role models. This is largely due to her status as a duchess who published work under her own name, as both an author and as a scientist with a strong focus and regard for natural sciences. Cavendish is regarded as the mother of science fiction, one of the first to write a full-length story in the genre, as well as creating perhaps the first true Utopian sci-fi novel in ‘The Blazing World’. She also stood her ground against prominent philosophers of the time and published journals of innovative scientific research. Cavendish might have been a duchess, but she was also a brilliant mind and one worthy of recognition and respect.

                8. Maya Angelou

                Poet, author.

                lifehackwomen-mayaangelou

                  One of the world’s greatest poets and a beloved friend of the Obamas and Oprah alike, Maya Angelou is one of the most important examples of fantastic female role models. Quietly powerful, strong, and forceful, Angelou changed a generation and subsequent generations with her poetry and writing, speaking from a lifetime full of highs and lows, and with a quiet, warm spirituality that has made her a go-to heroine and poet for all.

                  9. Elizabeth Garret Anderson

                  Physician, feminist.

                  lifehackwomen-elizabethgarretanderson

                    The rather wonderfully titled Elizabeth Garret Anderson was the first female surgeon and physician in the United Kingdom. Anderson didn’t just stop there, however. She became the first female medical doctor in France, the first woman to be a dean of a British medical school, the first British female mayor, and a co-founder of a hospital staffed by women. If Elizabeth Garret Anderson isn’t your definition of a female role model, then I don’t know what is!

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                    10. Michelle Obama

                    Lawyer, advocate, First Lady of the United States.

                    lifehackwomen-michelleobama

                      Michelle Obama is one of the most powerful women in the world and thankfully uses it to wonderful effect, helping to change a nation for the better and focusing on programs and projects around the world, such as anti-obesity initiatives and pushes for women to received education around the globe. A fashion icon, a devoted mother, and an accomplished lawyer and writer, Michelle has the world in the palm of her hand. Plus she’s married to some powerful guy.

                      11. Emma Thompson

                      Actress, screenwriter, human rights advocate.

                      lifehackwomen-emmathompson

                        English actress Emma Thompson has in recent years become one of the most beloved and talented actresses of any generation, transforming from her roots as a comedic junior into an Oscar-winning thespian and proving her strength, versatility and likeability as an actress and as a screenwriter (both of which have won her Oscars). She’s also unashamedly goofy and naturally funny – whether it’s photobombing Lupita Nyong’o or throwing her painful shoes aside in a drunken role of announcing an award winner to raucous applause, Emma has more than earned her stripes as an actress, and also as a role model.

                        12. Oprah Winfrey

                        Philanthropist, humanitarian, businesswoman, actress.

                        lifehackwomen-oprah

                          Last but certainly not least, philanthropist, actress and all-round global presence Oprah Winfrey has endured and survived a tumultuous life, rising to become the most influential and powerful woman on television today, with her own hugely successful network and a worldwide following that stretches into millions. She also uses her network as a platform for improving the wellbeing of her viewers and strives to have a positive, meaningful effect in the world. Nobody does it better.

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                          Chris Haigh

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                          Last Updated on July 3, 2020

                          30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

                          30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

                          In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

                          1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

                          Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

                          2. Focus on your breath

                          Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

                          3. Get organized and purge old items

                          A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

                          4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

                          Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

                          5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

                          Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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                          6. Smile more

                          Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

                          7. Don’t worry about the future

                          As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

                          8. Eat real food

                          The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

                          9. Choose being happy over being right

                          Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

                          10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

                          Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

                          11. Make use of filtering features on social media

                          You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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                          12. Get comfortable with silence

                          When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

                          13. Listen to understand, not to respond

                          So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

                          14. Put your troubles in a bubble

                          Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

                          15. Speak more slowly

                          Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

                          16. Don’t procrastinate

                          Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

                          17. Buy a coloring book

                          Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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                          18. Prioritize yourself

                          You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

                          19. Forgive others

                          Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

                          20. Check your expectations

                          Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

                          21. Engage in active play

                          Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

                          22. Stop criticizing yourself

                          The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

                          23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

                          Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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                          24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

                          Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

                          25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

                          Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

                          26. Manage your money

                          Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

                          27. Stop trying to control everything

                          Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

                          28. Practice affirmations

                          Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

                          29. Get up before sunrise

                          Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

                          30. Be yourself

                          Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

                          Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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