If you didn’t know, March is Women’s History Month. There is no better way to empower your child than to give them examples of others that have made great contributions to our modern society. Capture the powerful spirit of Women’s History Month with these 6 women that changed history.
You cannot discuss female icons without mentioning Amelia Earhart. It takes courage, determination, and talent to take a machine into the sky. Amelia Earhart possessed those traits and more. She was the 16th woman to be issued an aviator’s license and is best known for being the first female aviator to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean, a 15-hour flight. Earhart wrote a book about her transatlantic experience. She also became the first aviator to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. She became famous in her lifetime. Her life came to a tragic end when she mysteriously disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean while trying to fly around the world from the equator. Her body was never found and was legally declared dead two years later. To this day, the mystery remains unsolved – although there are several theories speculating on her mysterious disappearance.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony helped lead the women’s suffrage movement. In 1869, Anthony, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, established the National Woman Suffrage Association aimed at persuading others to support the woman’s right to vote. In 1872, Anthony illegally voted in the presidential election. As a result, she was arrested and fined, but she never paid the fine. She became famous for founding the Suffrage movement. Anthony also was involved in the abolitionist movement and fought to end slavery. Anthony never saw her goal realized as women did not have the right to vote until 14 years after her death in 1922.
A civil rights activist best known for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger inn 1955. The police arrested Parks at the scene. After her trial, the Montgomery Bus Boycott ensued which lasted for 381 days. In her autobiography she explained what her refusal meant, “[p]eople always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” Her refusal and subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols in the Civil Rights Movement in the fight against racial segregation.
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
Best known for her poetry and memoirs, Angelou used her voice to advocate for civil rights. Angelou’s best known work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was the first non-fiction best-seller by an African American woman. The memoir chronicled her early life and adulthood. Angelou also broke grounds in Hollywood as she became the first African-American woman to have her screenplay Georgia, Georgia produced. She also published several collections of poetry. Fun fact? In her early adulthood, she became the first female cable car conductor – albeit she held the job briefly. She recently died in May, 2014. President Barack Obama paid tribute to her with a statement “[Angelou] had the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children; that we all have something to offer.”
Annie Oakley was an American sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. She began shooting as a teenager and earned enough money to pay off her mother’s mortgage. She married Frank Butler, another sharpshooter. Together they joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. They delighted audiences with their shooting tricks. Oakley shot from long distances and even shot distant targets while looking into a mirror. In one of her tricks she shot off the end of a cigarette held in her husband’s lips. In another, she shot holes through cards thrown in the air before they landed.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, affectionately known in popular culture as the Notorious R.B.G., is a supreme court justice appointed by President Clinton in 1993. She is the second female justice to be confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. On the Supreme Court, she is known for her caution, moderation, and restraint. However, she is equally known for her stinging and forceful dissents, such as in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. In Ledbetter, where the Supreme Court held that workers cannot sue their employers over unequal pay caused by discrimination that occurred years earlier. RBG read her dissent from the bench, an unusual and rare practice. She said. “[i]n our view, the court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way women can be victims of pay discrimination.” She is a strong advocate of gender equality, workers’ rights, and the separation of church and state. She discusses her views outside the courtroom as well. She famously discussed her abortion views in a 2009 New York Times interview saying that “[t]he basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman.”
Studying history – with all of its captivating stories, morals, and powerful women – will inspire both you and your child as you both embrace the spirit of women’s history month. Enjoy celebrating women’s history month with your child!
Want more inspiration? Check out Women’s Suffrage 101.