Imagine a woman's existence was only to breed, cook, and obey her husband! No right to vote, no right to abortion, no right to leave the country. The ‘real’ Handmaid’s Tale!
While in many parts of the world gender inequality and abuse are still a devastating reality, women in the West are slowly closing the gender gap in today’s society. True, now modern women need to juggle work and motherhood, but at least they have the financial independence to leave an abusive relationship and report a marital crime without fear of being stoned to death.
Women’s rights are not a gift, though. They are a result of the struggle against sexism, violence, and the pain that women endured throughout the past. Civil rights leaders, suffragettes, and scientists: women all over the world had to stand against injustice to be treated as humans, not pests. Therefore, little girls need to know that women can handle more than Barbie dolls and pink unicorns.
So, mamas, isn’t naming your little baby girl after a powerful female figure a great way to honor all women that fought for us? Since choosing a baby name is a very important step for parents, let’s have a look at 18 of the most empowering names and the strengths behind them.
Rosa is a beautiful floral name. It’s a Latin name that means Rose. However, women can have thorns.
Rosa Parks is an example of a strong and rare black rose. She is a symbol of dignity against racial segregation. In 1955, Rosa Parks – a poor black woman, refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus. This simple act that took place in Montgomery, Alabama changed history - it helped the leaders of the American black community initiate the civil rights movement in the US. Rosa was convicted of violating the law, but many supported her. Thousands of people, led by Martin Luther King Jr., stood against the government to show that - black or white, men or women – all people are equal.
Other variations of the name are Rosabelle, Rosalia, and Rosaleen.
Winnie is another powerful name that moms-to-be should consider for their little baby girl.
Winnie Madikezala-Mandela is a South African activist who led the African National Congress Women’s League. She was also the beautiful wife of Nelson Mandela. Winnie was one of the leading figures against the apartheid system, which existed between 1948 and 1991. As we know, this system supported racial segregation and discrimination. Winnie was a powerful figure, so she was detained in front of her daughters and sent to prison. She spent 491 in detention and had two trials. The reason – she was black and a woman. Note that at the time Nelson Mandela had been in jail for more than seven years. In her book 491 Days: Prison Number 1323/69, she describes the horror and humiliation she had to endure to stand up for her beliefs and faith.
Marie is also a wonderful name that’s a great addition to our list. It’s a Hebrew name, which means Wished for child and Rebellion. True, Maries are rebels.
Marie Curie is a pure example. Although we take education for granted, in the past people couldn't afford to go to school (and still, in many parts of the world education is a gift). Marie was poor but wanted to become a teacher to be independent. Her passion for knowledge led her to Paris where she indulged in physics and maths. With her husband, Pierre Curie, Marie started her research on radioactivity and discovered two elements – radium and polonium, which changed psychics and medicine.
Let’s not forget that Marie’s original name was Maria. Maria is also a beautiful name - spiritual and gentle. Other variations of the name Marie are Mary, Miriam, Mariabella, and Mariana.
Margaret - another lovely name on our list. It derives from the Greek Margarites, which means Pearl. Beautiful, precious and shiny.
For sure, Margaret Hilda Thatcher had a shining personality. We have to admit, though, that as a British Conservative Party politician, Margaret Thatcher was a controversial figure. However, Margaret Thatcher was one of the most powerful British prime ministers, she was in power between 1979 and 1990. In fact, she was the first woman prime minister in Europe who managed to juggle family life and politics. Known as the Iron Lady who changed the British economy, Margaret Thatcher became one of the most notable leaders since Winston Churchill.
Margaret is a name with strong meaning behind it. But don’t be scared: some cute nicknames are Mae, Maggie, Mamie, Marge, and even Peggy.
Elizabeth is another powerful name. It’s a Biblical name that comes from the Hebrew name Elisheba, which means Oath of God and God is satisfaction.
But don’t get us wrong. Little girls called Elizabeth are not quiet and fearful at all. In fact, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the most active American suffragists who was fighting for women’s rights and equality. Stanton was a writer and strategists who even with two daughters and five sons managed to be an active member of society. She organized the 1848 Seneca Falls convention, which was the first women’s rights convention. Stanton was also involved in the creation of the Woman’s Bible, which was a book that challenged traditions, religion and gender roles in society.
Let’s not forget that Elizabeth is also the name of our beloved Queen of England.
Victoria is another royal name that spreads powerful vibes. Pure victory! So, mamas, Victoria is a great name for your little baby girl.
Queen Victoria was one of the most notable queens of Great Britain who was in power between 1837 and 1901. In fact, after Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria was the second longest reign of Britain in history. She managed to survive several attacks and inspired by her deep love towards her husband Albert, Queen Victoria became a powerful ruler. Although Queen Victoria was also a controversial political figure, the fact that a whole Empire had a woman for a queen is of huge significance for women all over the world. Her rule led to various improvements in science and industry. What’s more, she initiated the building of the famous London underground - the oldest metro system in the world.
Isabella is also a wonderful name for a baby princess. Not a princess who’s waiting in her tower – but a girl fighting dragons and competing with kings. Isabella is a Hebrew name, which means Devoted to God.
In fact, Queen Isabella I of Castile was really devoted to God. Queen Isabella I of Castile and her husband King Ferdinand II of Aragon, known as the Catholic Monarchs, liberated Spain from the Ottomans who invaded Spain. Queen Isabella is also notorious for reviving the Spanish Inquisition – a brutal and evil step she had to take to protect her country.
However, we should recognize the role Isabella played in the discovery of the New World. The Catholic Monarchs believed in Christopher Columbus and sponsored all his voyages. As we know, in 1492 Columbus reached the Americas.
Susan is another name all moms-to-be should consider for their little baby girl. The name means Graceful lily. Sounds gentle, right?
Well, Susan B. Anthony is one of the most famous bearers of this name, and she was more than brave. One of the most powerful suffragettes, Susan was an active speaker and activist. In fact, she worked closely with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Susan believed in women’s rights and devoted her whole life to the cause she was passionate about. Something that helped women - all of us - vote and work today. What’s more, Susan was so empowering that her image was put on a US dollar coin in the 20th century.
Other variations of the name are Susanne and Sue. According to the numerological meaning of the name, little girls called Susan are loving, active, and creative.
Emmeline is a beautiful name for a sweet baby girl. It’s a common name in Germany and France. It comes from the Old French Ameline, which derives from the Old German word 'amal'. 'Amal' translates as Labor and the name means Hardworking.
Emmeline Pankhurst was definitely a hardworking woman. She and her daughters Christabel Pankhurst and Sylvia Pankhurst were famous British suffragettes. Emmeline was a leader of the radical wing of the British suffrage movement and was a leading figure in the creation of the Women's Social and Political Union. Emmeline was not afraid to confront laws, men and social inequality to help women become equal members of life and society. As a mother, she showed her own daughters what women were capable of doing. And all moms need to teach their daughters that girls are powerful.
Sappho is one of the most exotic names on our list. It comes from the Greek word Sappheiros, which means Sapphire. A precious gemstone, typically blue –free and open like the ocean and the skies.
Sappho is one of the inspiring women on our list who changed history. Sappho or Psappha was the name of the famous 7th-century BC poetess. She was born on the island Lesbos, Greece. She was a great poetess, and in fact, she was known as "the Poetess." Note that Homer was known as "the Poet." Plato even called Sappho "the tenth Muse." Sappho wrote mainly about love and women, so she became also known for her 'unusual' sexual preferences. Although she had a daughter, it was believed that Sappho loved women. In fact, the word 'lesbian' comes from the name of the island where Sappho lived - Lesbos.
Joan is another empowering name, which means Gift from God.
In fact, Joan of Arc, one of the most famous bearers of this lovely name, believed that God had chosen her to help her country and strengthen their faith in God. Joan was a poor French girl... who led France to victory in the long and devastating war between France and England. Joan was just a girl, but she convinced the French prince to let her lead the French army to the city of Orleans. However, Joan was captured, accused of witchcraft and heresy and burned at the stake in 1431. She died at the age of 19. However, her bravery and tragic death are still a symbol of France and the French unity. Joan was canonized in 1920 and is still known as the Maid of Orleans.
Teresa is another spiritual name. It’s Greek and means Reap. "Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy."
Mother Teresa is a symbol of peace, harmony, and love. She was a Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to helping people erase racial and social differences and live in balance. She was serving the poor and inspired many world leaders and charity volunteers. In fact, Mother Teresa spent many years in Calcutta, India, which is one of the most populated and dangerous places across the globe. In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 2016, she was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, Saint Teresa changed history and showed that universal love is all we need.
So, isn’t Teresa a lovely name for your caring girl?
Harriet is another beautiful name. Usually, Harriet is the female version of Harry (from Henry). Just like the charming Prince Henry. Harriet means the Ruler of the house.
Harriet Tubman was definitely a significant ruler. She was a strong advocate in the women’s suffrage movement. Note that the women’s suffrage in the US was achieved in 1920. Harriet Tubman worked with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Canton, and Lucretia Mott. Perhaps the most amazing fact is that Harriet was not only a woman but a black woman. Which means she had to fight not only sexism but racism. In fact, she had to fight for her own freedom and the abolition of slavery in general. Not surprisingly, Harriet Tubman was actively involved in the rights of all African-American women. Simply because Harriet believed that all people are equal.
Florence is another lovely name with some floral scent.
Florence Nightingale is a famous bearer of the name. Florence was a British nurse who built the foundations of modern nursing. She was known as the Lady with the Lamp. Florence was put in charge of nursing British soldiers in Turkey during the Crimean War, so the night shifts she would take earned her the name the Lady with the Lamp. She believed in the importance of nursing education, so she established the first nursing school. The school was named after her - the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. Florence was also educating midwives. In 1907, Florence became the first woman awarded the Order of Merit.
Note that Florence is also an Arthurian Legend baby boy name, which means Son of Gawain.
Coco is a sweet and playful name for a baby girl.
The iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel is a famous bearer of this name. Why do we talk about fashion when so far, we’ve been trying to empower women in politics and science, you might ask! Simply because what Coco Chanel did was extraordinary. Although she grew up in an orphanage in France, she learned to sew and managed to open her own clothes shop. After that, Coco launched her first perfume (in 1920). Coco Chanel and her little black dress became iconic for women worldwide. Note that the main goal was to make clothes more comfortable for women. So, although the world of fashion is still reserved mainly for male designers, Coco is a name that will always draw directions and empower women.
Eva is a beautiful name. It means Living one and it’s the Latin form of the Hebrew name Eve. As we know from the Bible, Eve was the first woman.
Eva Peron is a famous bearer of the name. She was the second wife of the Argentine president Juan Peron. Eva was not a typical First Lady, though. She became a powerful political leader, loved by the nation. As Eva’s family and cheating father struggled financially, Eva became passionate about the social situation in her country. Thus, as a presidential wife, she fought for the poor. Not surprisingly, Eva was loved by the masses. She used to call people Los Descamisados, the Shirtless Ones, to attract the attention towards the people in need.
Therefore, Eva will be a great match for a caring girl.
Benazir is another exotic and feminine name on our empowering baby list. The name contains a lot of powerful vibes, for sure.
Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister of Pakistan (between 1988 and 1990). She was the first woman to lead a Muslim country, which is of huge significance for religions all over the world. Benazir Bhutto was the daughter of the first democratically elected prime minister in Pakistan - Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Unfortunately, her father was killed by the military regime of General Zia-ul Haq. In fact, Benazir’s career was always disrupted by the military. Nevertheless, Benazir fought for equality, social justice, and peace. Sadly, Benazir Bhutto was murdered in 2007 by a suicide bomber employed by the Pakistani Taliban. Still, Benazir is a symbol of female power and love.
Grace is also a great choice for moms who want to show their daughters that women can change history. The word 'grace' comes from the Latin 'gratia', which means God's favor.
One of the most famous bearers of this beautiful name is the American actress Grace Kelly. It seemed that Grace had it all - she was a famous and talented actress living the life in Hollywood. However, she left her acting career behind and followed her heart. She married Prince Rainier III of Monaco and became Princess Grace of Monaco. She was not only beautiful but smart and caring Princess. The nation loved her, and in fact, there is a beautiful park in Monaco named after her.
Grace Kelly shows that women can be powerful: and the catalyst of their power is Love.
Sources: History.com, biography.com, poetryfoundation.com, thoughtco.com, biographyonline.net, sheknows.com