Life Lessons From Women in History That Inspire Me

International women’s month is now upon us and I want to take some time to reflect on the reasons why I love being a woman and the women that have helped build me up to be who I am today. The following list is of the women who have impacted how I perceive the world and have made me proud to be a woman myself.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn has such a natural grace and elegance to the way she carried herself and she is always a stand-out in film. Hepburn taught me that lasting beauty comes from within. Before Audrey Hepburn started her acting career, she grew up in Belgium and raised money for the Danish Resistance by dancing ballet for groups in secret. After her successful career as an actress and ultimately winning an EGOT: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award as one of only 14 people to do so, she became a UNICEF Ambassador. She was not only one of the most beautiful actresses of her time but also had such a beautiful heart for helping others. Hepburn famously says that “for beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

Mary Wollstonecraft

If you have never heard of Mary Wollstonecraft, well you should definitely change that. She was one of the first female writers of her time to promote feminism. She published many pieces of feminist literature including her most famous, The Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Not only is she already cool but she has a super cool daughter, Mary Shelley, who is credited with being the founder of the early Science Fiction genre starting with her most notable work Frankenstein. In a time where women were beholden to their husbands and had little to no rights, Wollstonecraft’s work states that "I do not wish [women] to have power over men; but over themselves."

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift may seem like a given for empowering women, but in recent years she has really inspired me to embrace my own uniqueness and grow to become more independent. Swift uses her platform now to speak out about what is important to her and also shows how important female friendships are in a time where we are often pitted against one another. Swift says that “other women who are killing it should motivate you, thrill you, challenge you, and inspire you rather than threaten you and make you feel like you’re immediately being compared to them.”     

Anne Frank

I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the experience put Anne’s life into perspective for me. As a young girl living in a time of fear and despair, Anne writes about living with hope and kindness in her heart. She taught me that hope is never lost and that seeing the best in people is always admirable. When Anne says, “think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy,” in her journal, I feel inspired to live each day out to the fullest and find the beauty in simplicity.

Serena Williams

As a tennis player myself, of course I am going to look up to one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Serena is a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with on the courts. She has won 39 Grand Slam titles in her career and has won four Olympic gold medals. She has taught me that pushing yourself to be the best you can be is not without its struggles and hardships but perseverance is important in reaching your goals. Williams talks about how “with a defeat, when you lose, you get up, you make it better, you try again. That’s what I do in life, when I get down, when I get sick, I don’t want to just stop. I keep going and I try to do more. Everyone always says never give up but you really have to take that to heart and really do never definitely give up. Keep trying.”

There are so many amazing women throughout history that have shaped the future and have made me proud to be a woman in this modern time. Taking their advice to heart is important to me, because of the values they each held and their authenticity in being themselves. I hope that this Women’s Month you can find the beauty and strength in the women around you and let that build you up.

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