As women in the 21st century, we often look to successful women for inspiration. Success in a patriarchal world is a struggle, but women who have already made it can act as our flashlight in the dark. These strong female role models fight against social constraints in order to make more room in the world for us. Learning more about women like Serena Williams and Emma Watson can inspire us to be the best women we can possibly be.
1. “I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills.” - Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg, the current COO of Facebook, epitomizes the definition of a successful woman. She plays a large role in the function of one of the largest social media platforms on the market. Not only has she proven that women have the capability of working well in the business world, but also that they can do it successfully.
2.“Since I don’t look like every other girl, it takes a while to be okay with that. To be different. But different is good.” - Serena Williams
Serena Williams, a world famous athlete, has often been criticized for her body. People view her body as one that is not congruent with the ideal female body. Rather than conforming to these social views, she fights in order to prove that women’s bodies fall on a spectrum, rather than having a single ideal form. She proves on a daily basis that her body is indeed that of a woman - a strong woman.
3. “I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls.” - Malala Yousafzai
After being threatened by the Taliban and being shot in the head, Malala Yousafzai continues to stand up fearlessly for women’s education. It has been proven that 62 million girls around the world lack an education. Malala has inspired girls all over the world to fight for their right for education as, according to her, it is our most powerful weapon.
4. “Young girls are told you have to be the delicate princess. Hermione taught them that you can be the warrior.” - Emma Watson
Esteemed actress and established feminist Emma Watson is working to transform women’s role in society. After working with internationally based organizations like the United Nations, she created worldwide movements like #HeForShe to inspire more people to stand up for women’s equality.
5. “Being a healthy woman isn’t about getting on a scale or measuring your waistline. We need to start focusing on what matters - on how we feel, and how we feel about ourselves.” - Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama, a prestigious lawyer and the First Lady of the United States, constantly inspires women around the world to be more accepting of themselves. She has been known to appear on public platforms in order to promote women’s health and equality.
6. “A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman.” - Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates, a businesswoman and philanthropist, advocates for better family planning methods. She is determined to make the transition for women with families into the business world as easy as possible.
7. “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” - Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton herself has revolutionized the world of politics as the first woman running for President of the United States. She constantly broadens the societal scope of a woman’s capabilities, as she furthers her political campaigns and fights for equality.
8. “I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’” - Mindy Kaling
Known for her moving books and hilarious TV show The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling is a great role model for young girls. She is extremely body positive and acts as an equalizer for women in the business world. On her hit TV show, she acts as an OBGYN with her colleagues, all of which are men. Nevertheless, she acts beautifully and carries herself with the utmost confidence, which is something very admirable about her.
9. “It is not always about your outer beauty. It’s not always about the new, hottest beauty products and the beauty trends. I know that’s why I sit here and what I talk about on my [Youtube] channel, but that’s because it’s a beauty channel. At the end of the day, I am fully aware that these are not the things that matter in life.” - Jacyln Hill
Jacyln Hill runs an extremely successful beauty channel on YouTube, where she does makeup tutorials and discusses new beauty trends. No matter how many videos she makes, she stays grounded and talks about what is really important in life. She works to better the self-esteem of the young girls watching her videos.
10. “I call myself a feminist when people ask if I am, and of course I am ‘cause it’s about equality, so I hope everyone is. You know you’re working in a patriarchal society when the word feminism has a weird connotation.” - Ellen Page
Ellen Page is an esteemed actress who speaks freely to the press. She is a great role model for women struggling with their sexuality and identity. She came out as gay and identified as feminist a few years ago. She stands strong in front of the press and battles any negativity thrown towards her with grace.