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10 Outstanding Women Who Make Me Proud to be a Woman

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Poly chapter.

The green month of March has many important milestones: St. Patrick’s Day, my birthday, Daylight Savings, occasionally Easter, and of course, the entire month is Women’s History Month! As Beyoncé said, girls run this world, but even with her lyrics encouraging us, finding words to encompass all women is difficult. We are all amazing without different qualities— some are leaders, others are supporters, some can cook and bake the BEST foods known to humankind while others write the most beautiful novels of all time. Regardless, we are all daughters worthy of all good things in this world. Whether you’re a career woman or homemaker, in a relationship or single, and “girly-girl” or “tomboy,”you mke the world go round! Here are ten women whose contributions to our society make me proud to be a woman.

  1. Henrietta Lacks: If you are a biology major, a future doctor, or have studied history, you have probably heard of Mrs. Lacks. While being treated for cervical cancer, scientists and doctors stole her “immortal” cells without asking for consent from her or her family. They even shared her medical records and her name publicly! As a Black woman, the medical system exploited her, but now it is important to honor her legacy. Now, her HeLa cells are used to study growing cancer cells without testing living humans. It is important to remember her legacy, both of the systemic oppression Black women face and also as the reason why one day there will be a cure for cancer.
  2. Rosalind Franklin: We all have DNA, that is something we’ve learned since elementary school, but there was a time when it was practically a mystery. The discovery of DNA’s shape was originally attributed to James Watson and Francis Crick, but this is because they stole Rosalind Franklin’s work. She is the reason we know about the double helix, but yet the two men were awarded the Nobel Prize for this monumental moment in science. While Franklin’s voice was suppressed, we must spread the truth– that women in STEM are important and heroic!
  3. Dolores Huerta: We all know Caesar Chavez and his incredible activism for farm laborers but equally important are Huerta’s contributions to laborers. She too was a strong activist and fought tirelessly for grape workers as she helped organize the Delano Grape Strike in 1965. She even co-founded United Farmworkers Association alongside Chavez! It seems we often only honor Chavez’s activism, and while it is important to remember his accomplishments, Huerta was equally significant in the fight for equal and civil rights. In fact, without her, who knows if the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975 would have been passed as she played a significant role is advocating for this act. Overall, she is a monumental woman whose legacy is essential to remember— women can do anything when we speak up and fight!
  4. Anna May Wong: If you love film or are obsessed with old Hollywood, you definitely have heard the name Anna May Wong. She was the first Chinese-American (and rumored bisexual) actress starlet. Even as she faced immense racism, she challenged stereotypes and opened the door in Hollywood for Asian-American actors today. Regardless of being a world-famous star, she spoke multiple languages fluently such as English, Cantonese, French, and German, but she also was the first Asian-American woman to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  5. Kamala Harris: Whether or not you agree with her political views, Harris will always be a modern trailblazer. Never before in America has a woman been the Vice President of our country, and on top of that she is the first Black and South Asian-American as well. Even though politics is a very sensitive topic for many people, there is no denying that she has preserved through the face of racism and bigotry to hold one of the most important political positions in the US.
  6. Marsha P. Johnson: An ICON! She was the face of Transgender Rights and we as a society owe her, and other Black Trans people, a multitude of thanks because they not only helped others find freedom in expressing themselves but also helped to improve our country. When everyone has rights, then we ALL will live a peaceful and happy life. Johnson’s quest for justice and rights is still a mission seen today, but without her trailblazing prowess, we as a country would have much more intolerant views. Not only did she speak out on gender and sexuality, but also on mental health. We are still fighting the good fight, but without her, we would have much farther to go. With her legacy, we must acknowledge the ever-changing nature of gender and uplift ALL of our fellow cis, trans, or women-identifying people.
  7. Marilyn Monroe: While the gorgeous Monroe’s name is probably the most well-known household name, she was much more than a pretty face. She experienced many traumas in her life, especially during her childhood, and yet she overcame her struggles and went on to become the legendary starlet we know today. She fought for gender equality, even though many people assumed her to be a dumb blonde. Today, there are many movies based on her life, yet none of them seem very accurate. While she may seem more like a myth and a real person, her unjust experiences in Hollywood led to many changes for the better. She shows that all women are beautiful, no matter their background.
  8. Career Women: While I focused on individual women for the first 7 examples, here I want to talk about groups of women, especially female nurses and female teachers. Nurses not only save lives but also support their patients. I remember watching a video where a woman, who used to need a wheelchair to move went to visit her old nurse. In the video, the nurse says hi, excited to see her ex-patient, but then the wheelchair woman stands up and walks to her nurse. The nurse screams and hugs her patient so hard that I can feel the love through the screen. There were definitely tears of joy! Next, a shoutout to teachers! Good teachers are the reason we have doctors, engineers, artists, and any other career. Regardless of not being paid enough, teachers remain dedicated to their students, supporting them in all ways possible. I’ve been lucky enough to have amazing teachers and as a Liberal Studies Major, I have shadowed amazing female teachers who empower me to become an educator. Regardless of the career, we need women employees who give wonderful ideas and change lives.
  9.  Female Homemakers: Women don’t need to have a paid career to be important and needed. We need homemakers— and while some people may disagree with me, this is an incredibly necessary job! It’s not easy planning and prepping to keep tiny humans alive! Without homemakers/stay-at-home moms, many families would have a difficult time finding child care and living a fulfilling life. I think we all remember putting our mothers, grandmas, aunts, and other female guardians through the wringer.
  10. Moms— specifically my mom: I am such a momma’s girl and for that, I am so lucky. My mom is my best friend… the person I wanted to talk to every day about everything. If you’re as fortunate as me, you also have a loving mom who supports you in all aspects of your life. My mom gives me the best advice and always uplifts me. She is my role model— I aspire to live a successful life like her. While I have big shoes to fill, I know my mom will always be here for me.

Women, no matter their size, appearance, career, race, or sexual orientation,  have always been moving the world forward. I hope you feel inspired and know that you too are bound for greatness! Just look to the women who inspire you!

Emma Emigh

Cal Poly '26

Emma is a English and Liberal Studies major at Cal Poly SLO. She loves tennis (both playing and watching), reading any books she can find, and hanging out with her cat, Pepper. She hopes to teach high school English one day, and you can find her either volunteering in a classroom or hiking.