March is special not only for the first signs of warmer weather ahead, but it’s also the month that applauds women who are blazing trails, making differences in their communities, all while inspiring girls to become the next generation of leaders.
March 8 marks International Women’s Day each year on the calendar and we have been celebrating Women’s History Month each March since Congress first declared it back in 1987. However, ties to the month of March and the fight for women’s rights are rooted even further back in history.
There have been so many women throughout the years who have paved the way for gender equality for girls and women in leadership positions. Think, Louisa May Alcott, Susan B. Anthony, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks and Sandra Day O’Connor. There are countless others.
Just this past year, in fact, young girls witnessed Kamala Harris, the first female U.S. vice president, sworn into theOval office and Super Bowl LV highlighted three more women who pioneered history. and two women -- Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust – became the first women assistant coaches to win a Super Bowl title.
There have been many other women who have shattered the glass ceiling and challenged inequality all while inspiring girls across the globe to heed their calls and find their own voices.
Here is a round-up of some of the most influential women for young girls (and boys!) to look up to:
Gorman was the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. In January 2021, at age 22 she delivered her poem "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden.
Malala is a young Pakistani Human Rights Activist who fights for the rights of girls and women to receive an education. She risked her life for the cause -The Taliban even shot her, but she lived to tell her story and change history.
At age 15 Thunberg – TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year and an avid and vocal environmentalist, she decided to start speaking her voice to fight for policy to combat the pressing issue of global climate change. She currently leads a global community of youth committed to climate change.
Australian Jessica Watson became the youngest person at age 16 to sail solo and unassisted, around the world in 210 days in 2010 on her boat named the Pink Lady. In 2011, Watson was named Young Australian of the Year.
At age 11, Kim – considered to be one of the best female skaters of all time – became the youngest Korean skater to complete the five different triple jumps. One of the highest paid athletes at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Kim donated her prize money to help relief efforts in Haiti, after the nation suffered a catastrophic earthquake.
Brooke Boney is an Gamilaroi journalist. Boney is currently an entertainment reporter on the Nine Network's breakfast program Today. She is committed to providing more positive role models for young Indigenous kids by increasing the visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the media.
Famously known as the author of the Harry Potter series. Rowling’s creative genius not only made her the most highly paid author in 2017, but also made her an advocate of women and girls in need. As a single mother, she worked as a teacher in Edinburgh finishing the manuscript for the first Harry Potter book in any spare time she could find.
Dr. Mae Jemison
From 1983-1985, Mae volunteered in the U.S. Peace Corps. As a medical officer, she oversaw everyone’s health. She also worked in the Center for Disease Control, focusing on curing illness. While in college, Mae noticed inequality between herself and the white male students, so she joined the Black Students Union and ended up leading them and campaigning for women and minorities to be treated as equally capable students. In 1992, she flew on the 50th shuttle flight as a mission specialist as the first African American in space, spending eight days and nights in space.
Obiageli (Oby) Ezekwesili took to social media and urged people to take action against kidnappers of 276 female students who were taken from their homes in Nigera by a violent religious sect who believed that women should not be educated. Her hashtag campaign #BringBackOurGirls brought the crimes of Boko Haram to light and she was awarded the Forbes Woman Africa Social Influencer award for her important work.
March and Women’s History Month highlights the voices and actions of powerful females across the Globe inspiring young girls everywhere to believe that they, too can succeed at whatever they set their minds to.
For information about how Oak Knoll is inspiring the next generation of female changemakers, visit: https://www.oakknoll.org/upper-school/admissions/why-all-girls-education/.