If you have a daughter who is pre-teen or teen-aged, keeping them focused and motivated is difficult. With social media, cell phones and movie stars constantly in their face, school, sports and work can be less of a priority.
Introducing your daughter to some influential women of now and in history could help. Women have come a long way in the past 100 years, and influences during these times abound. Here we’ve come up with eight wonderful women who are excellent role models for the girls of today, soon to be women of tomorrow.
An internationally known activist for women, the youngest ever Nobel Peace prize winner, and an Islamic from Pakistan, Malala was shot by a Taliban member in 2012 for her outspoken ideas and beliefs. After being shot in the head, she miraculously survived and now lives in England. She does not proclaim to be a feminist, but instead fights against the suppression of women and the rights to education for children.
Most of us know about Maya Angelou’s accomplishments both in print and in the spoken word. What we don’t know is that before she became internationally famous, she was a fry cook, stripper and prostitute. She worked extremely hard for the rights of blacks, and has spoken in front of hundreds of thousands of people over the course of her life. She overcame many trials and tribulations throughout her life, and always persevered.
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
Miss Anderson was the first of many things for women. Born in London in 1836, as an adult she came to be the first Englishwoman to be a doctor and surgeon in England. The first dean of an English medical school, the first female doctor of medicine in France, the first female Mayor in Britain, the first woman to be elected to a school board, and the co-founder of the first all women-staffed hospital. Garrett complained about the boarding school she was sent to as a teen, stating that they severely lacked in the mathematics and science departments. It seems that she made up for that greatly later in life.
Not only is she the First Lady of the United States, she is also an accomplished lawyer and writer. She graduated from Princeton University and later Harvard Law School. She is the first black First Lady, and uses her position to advocate for healthy eating, exercise and education.
Coming from a very hard childhood, Winfrey brought herself up and out of poverty and is now the only black billionaire on the North American continent. She is seen by many as the most influential woman in the world, and has always been a generous philanthropist. She is best known for the Oprah Winfrey Show, which was syndicated for 26 years.
Aung San Suu Kyi
A prominent political figure in her home country of Burma, Suu Kyi was imprisoned under house arrest for 15 years until 2010. Although the opposing government in Burma might not agree with her ideas and actions, many other people and countries do. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she was the fourth person to ever be awarded citizenship in Canada by honor, and was awarded the highest medal the US gives; the Congressional Gold Medal. She hopes to run for president in Myanmar’s 2015 elections, but can only do saw if current laws are changed.
We all know her as Blossom from the same-titled 1990s TV show, but in real life Mayim is also a neuroscientist. She now plays a neuroscientist on the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory, but in between studied neuroscience at UCLA and got her doctorate and Ph.D. by 2007. She is a mom and divorcee. What is best about her is that she has pursued her career and educational dreams all while having the opportunity to solely be a movie star.
We love her for her excellent acting skills, humor and looks, but what is best about Jennifer is her brutal honesty. She’s humble and simple, and is always answering questions with quick wit and honesty. She seems to be a far cry from most Hollywood beauties, but with just as much skill and smarts.
Hundreds of other women have greatly influenced our society, and the world. Our list is just the start, and in twenty years there will be so many more to add to it. Maybe a first female president of the United States. It could even be your daughter!