Today marks International Women’s Day, a UN initiative which aims to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political success of women around the globe.
To celebrate the day, here are the inspiring stories of five females who have entered the record books for their amazing achievements.
Longest assisted journey across Antarctica on skis (female)
Over the course of one year, Stéphanie Gicquel (France) crossed the surface of chilling Antarctica at a total distance of 2,045 km (1270.7 miles) without the help of wind kites, motors or dogs.
Many who have attempted to do such incredible feats before have not succeeded.
In an interview, Stéphanie explained that the conditions of the isolated continent are the windiest, highest, driest and coldest on earth. Since the South Pole was reached for the first time in 1911, less than 10 explorers have attempted to ski across all of Antarctica, using only the strength of their arms and legs - and Stéphanie is one of them.
Many may wonder why she decided to trek in such horrendous conditions for such a long period of time, but the explorer undertook the challenge to share her enthusiasm for the world’s polar regions with others, even after breaking her shoulder months prior to the start of her journey.
Stéphanie's passion is admirable, and an element that undoubtedly led her to be so successful in her efforts.
Aside from being an amazing record title, the expedition raised more than 10,000 euros for Petits Princes, a French charity which aims to answer the wishes of sick children.
Kayla Itsines – multi fitness record holder
At the age 25, record holder Kayla Itsines has made a huge impact in the fitness world by helping women to achieve total body confidence.
The Australian author, personal trainer, and entrepreneur spearheads the empire of Bikini Body Guide, or BBG - a 12 week program to help women obtain their exercise goals in a healthy and safe way.
Kayla has a huge following, and is “fitspiration” to many around the globe.
During Guinness World Records Day 2016, Kayla and her fit followers gathered in Australia to break five mass participation fitness titles in an outdoor class.
Together, all women achieved Most people performing star jumping (2,192), Most people running in place simultaneously (2,195), Most people performing sit ups simultaneously (2,005), Most people performing lunges (2,146), and Most people performing squats (2,201).
Youngest woman with a full beard
Harnaam Kaur of Slough, UK stands as one of the most inspiring record-holders to date. An anti-bullying and body image activist, she has had a remarkable journey of self-appreciation after fighting years of criticism for her appearance.
At the age of 24 years and 282 days, Harnaam is the Youngest woman with a full beard, and has accepted the title after overcoming years of bullying.
Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, she has a condition that causes hair to grow on her face due to an abundance of testosterone. Harnaam once removed all her hair, but began to feel empowered once she let it grow and accepted her body.
She has gone on to become the first female with a beard to walk the runway at London Fashion Week and had her portrait was included in the celebrated photography series #Project60, showcasing the world's best beards.
With an optimistic and forward-thinking mindset, Harnaam states, “I never really understood what role I had to play in this world as a bearded lady. As the years have gone on I have realised that I was born to stand up proud as a woman who promotes body confidence with in both genders, I was born to show the world something else apart from the ‘societies norm,’ and I was born to help people become confident and comfortable within themselves.”
Oldest female astronaut
In late 2016, veteran astronaut Peggy Whitson launched into space at the age of 56, still eager to take on missions sparked from her passion for science.
With fellow space engineers, Thomas Pesquet (France) and Oleg Novitskiy (Russia), the trio arrived at the ISS in November of that year for a stay, and carried out scientific studies until the middle of 2017.
Peggy has had an adventurous career working as a US astronaut for NASA since 1996.
Throughout her long-term career Peggy has put her doctorate in biochemistry to good use, and is an incredible example of iconic women in science.
Most criminals positively identified due to the composites of one artist
Lois Gibson is known as the world's most successful forensic artist. After surviving her own criminal encounter with a serial rapist and murderer, Lois pledged to help others that were in a similar position to which she has found herself in, leading with her skills in portraiture.
As a forensic artist for the Houston Police Department in Texas, Lois has helped to positively identify 751 criminals and secure over 1,000 convictions - making her the record holder for the Most criminals positively identified due to the composites of one artist.
Many have come to the artist after becoming victims of often violent crimes, claiming they have no recollection of their assailant.
Passionate and dedicated to helping catch the perpetrators, Lois works to reconfigure the facial features of the felon from a book of human characteristics she hands victims, and has been hugely successful in her efforts over the course of her career. It’s no understatement that Lois has used her art to change lives, and she has continued doing so in more ways than just capturing lawbreakers.
For an exhibition called “Soul Survivors,” the selfless portrait artist also recreated portraits for individuals whose relatives had passed in the Holocaust.
She has also founded her own forensic drawing school, the Institute of Forensic Art, where she teaches on average 20 students the talent of drawing from audible cues and pieces of pictures, with the hopes that more artists will be utilised in police departments around the world.
This list contains just a few of our sensational women record holders. For more inspiration, watch the video below.