12 Inspiring Women from History Brought to Life with Deep Nostalgia™

This week, we celebrate International Women’s Day: a day to honor women past, present, and future and remember how the courage, intelligence, and grit of women throughout history have brought us to where we are today.

Using MyHeritage’s new photo feature, Deep Nostalgia™, we animated the faces of some of the greatest women in history from all over the world. Watching these powerful women in motion helps us feel more connected to them, and moves us to follow their example and pursue our beliefs and dreams.

1. Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart, born July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas, was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo. She broke many other records as a pilot and adventurer. Tragically, she disappeared while attempting to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe on an airplane.

In the animation, she looks as though she’s squinting in the sunlight, contemplating her next adventure in the sky.

2. Marie Curie

Marie Curie, born in Warsaw, Poland, on November 7, 1867, was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win it twice, and the only person so far to win it for her work in two different scientific fields. She coined the term “radioactivity”, and discovered the elements of polonium (which she named after her native country) and radium. She literally gave her life for science: she died in 1934 at age 66 from aplastic anemia, which she developed as a result of her extended exposure to radiation during her work.

3. Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is most well-known for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, when the driver demanded that she and three other Black passengers give their seats to white passengers. Her case brought international attention to the unfairness of segregation laws, and she devoted the rest of her life to fighting racism and discrimination. The U.S. Congress has named her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”

Rosa passed away in November of 2005 at the age of 92. Her quiet, humble dignity and strength are still an inspiration to people all over the world.

4. Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu, born February 13, 1879 in Hyderabad, India, was a poet and political activist and an important figure in India’s struggle for independence. In 1925, she was appointed President of the Indian National Congress, and in 1947 she became the first woman to hold the office of Governor India. Her poetry was renowned for its colorful imagery and lyrical quality; Mahatma Gandhi called her the “Nightingale of India.”

5. Helvi Sipilä 

Helvi Sipilä, born on May 5, 1915, was appointed the first-ever female Assistant-Secretary of the U.N. in 1972, when 97% of the senior management in the U.N. was dominated by men. She was the organizer of the first World Conference on Women in 1975, and is credited as a major influence on the decision to establish the Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in 1976. She was also the first-ever female candidate for presidency in Finland.

6. Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson was a brilliant mathematician without whom the first U.S. crewed space flights would not have been possible. She calculated the trajectory for the space flight that took the first-ever American astronaut into space as well as that of Apollo 11, the first craft to land on the moon. Before John Glenn, the first American to enter orbit, went on his mission, he insisted that Katherine verify the calculations performed by the digital computers NASA had just started using in place of human computers. Katherine’s work was also pivotal in getting the crew of Apollo 13 safely back to earth after one of its oxygen tanks failed. Katherine passed away just last year at the ripe old age of 101.

7. Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, was a true pioneer for human’s rights and women’s rights. She completely redefined the role of First Lady, turning the role into a platform for political activism in its own right rather than simply supporting the President. Eleanor was outspoken on civil rights and sometimes even publicly disagreed with her husband’s policies. She was also pivotal in the U.S.’s role in the United Nations, becoming its first delegate, serving as the first chair of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, and overseeing the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She is remembered with great respect throughout the world.

8. Frida Kahlo

Painter and political icon Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico. During most of her life, her work was overshadowed by that of her husband, who was also a painter, and she was recognized mainly as his eccentric wife. However, starting in the 1970s, her work gained recognition, and she became known not only as one of Latin America’s most important artists, but also as an icon for multiple political movements, including feminism, LGBTQ+ activism, and the Chicano movement.

She is particularly known for her surrealist self-portraits full of symbolism. Perhaps she would have gotten a kick out of this animation of her photo.

9. Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria on November 9, 1914, was not just a pretty face. While most of her career was dominated by Hollywood as an actress and film producer, Hedy was also an inventor, and the frequency-hopping spread spectrum system she developed with a friend to prevent the jamming of torpedo guidance systems was the precursor to technologies that later gave us Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

10. Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale, born May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy, is known as the founder of modern nursing. After managing and training nurses during the Crimean War, she founded the first secular nursing school and laid the foundations for nursing as a skilled profession. She was also a statistician who created novel ways to present data graphically, making that data more accessible to laypeople. Though some claim she rejected germ theory, she understood the connection between sanitation and better health outcomes, and her implementation of proper sanitation made hospitals far safer and more likely to support patients’ recovery.

11. Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi, born November 19, 1917 in Allahabad, India, was the third Prime Minister of India and was the first — and so far only — female prime minister. The daughter of prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, she was the second-longest-serving PM after her father. She was a controversial figure, as she presided over a state of emergency to quell a revolution during which civil liberties were suspended and the press was censored. She also led India in a war against Pakistan and increased India’s prominence on the world stage. Though there is criticism of her policies, there is no doubt that she was a powerful figure who left a significant mark on world history.

12. Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda was a Portuguese-born Brazilian dancer, singer, and actress who was the first South American to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is particularly known for her signature fruit hat.

Who are the inspiring women in your own family history? You can use Deep Nostalgia™ to animate their photos, too! Try Deep Nostalgia™ now to bring the photos of your powerful female ancestors to life.


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  • EnigMAA

    March 15, 2021

    I have One picture of a Family member…

  • Linda Smith

    March 15, 2021

    Wow, the technicians who created this are wonderful! Those of us doing family genealogy work so appreciate their efforts to bring to life people that we have never been able to meet. Thanks so much!