From fighting for the right to vote to inventing brake pads, women throughout history have done it all. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on 10 modern day amazing female role models who shatter social norms and rise above challenges to shape our world in incredible ways.
While modern technology is advancing at a faster pace than ever, the gap between the number of males and females in technology-based careers is huge. Reshma Saujani seeks to educate and inspire young women who want to pursue a career in computer science. She established Girls Who Code in 2012, and the organization has now reached more than 40,000 young girls in all 50 states.
As the first African-American First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama advocated for countless causes and groups, including women’s rights, the fight against obesity, and more, during her time in the White House. She handled the high-pressure role of First Lady with dignity and grace, and still serves as a wonderful female role model for those who dream of making a difference.
In another field dominated by men—engineering—Ellen Ochoa has risen to the top. She was the first Hispanic woman to enter space and during her time at NASA, she logged more than 950 hours in space. She now directs the prestigious Johnson Space Center.
Nearly ten years ago, Lilly Ledbetter took a stand against unequal pay after learning that she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts at Goodyear, even after decades of experience. She filed a lawsuit that ultimately led to the passing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
Best known as the renowned British author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling is a pioneer in the world of modern literature. As a highly successful author and businesswoman, she now uses her international acclaim to raise awareness for various causes including multiple sclerosis research and social deprivation.
Indra Nooyi remains one of the few female CEOs of a Fortune 500 company. She was born in India and is now the CEO and fearless leader of PepsiCo. Nooyi’s strategy to change the direction of PepsiCo’s growth has led to huge success within the company, and massive positive change in the food and drink industry as a whole.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the second female justice of the Supreme Court in 1993, but even before that she was making history. She experienced discrimination based on her gender and Jewish heritage during the early days of her career and has since used her position and influence to move women’s rights forward.
Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai began writing about her life during a Taliban occupation before she had even turned 13. After rising to prominence as a supporter of education for women in Pakistan, Yousafzai survived an assassination attempt on her life. In 2014, she became the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. She continues to fight for the education of women and children in her country and her work has grown into an international movement.
Mississippi native Oprah Winfrey brought an entirely new and unique style to media and journalism. In 1986, she became the first black female host of a nationally syndicated daily talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. She never shied away from discussing difficult or controversial topics and her hard-fought success opened the door for many other African American women to become prominent voices in journalism. Winfrey has since used her fame and fortune to sponsor charitable programs, including girls’ education in South Africa and relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The Women in Your Own Life!
Look around! There are amazing women in every corner of the world. They’re mothers, inventors, aunts, business owners, leaders, sisters, doctors, teachers, and more! Regardless of their formal role or job title, women everywhere are hard at work making the world a better place. Some of them are in the spotlight, while others work quietly in the shadows. Both can be shining examples!
No matter where we’re from or who we are, we all know amazing women. This month, we challenge you to shine a light on the women who have made a difference in your life. Tell us in a comment below: who do you salute during Women’s History Month?
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