On March 8th, International Women’s Day, Google’s logo was a swirling vignette of illustrated women working as teachers, painters, astronauts, chemists, athletes, and musicians. But that was only for one day—and a 23 hour day at that. So if you want to celebrate the accomplishments of awesome women for more than a day, March is also Women’s History Month. Here are some womyn that deserve a shout-out for continuously being inspirations.
Malala Yousafzai—Pakistani education activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at age 17. She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate and is an advocate for free speech and women’s rights, authoring books, blogs, and speeches describing her fight for an education. In 2012, as she gained more recognition for her outspoken writing, she also became a target for assassination and was shot in the face by a Taliban gunman. She is famous for describing her story as not a unique one, but one shared by many, many girls—that’s what makes it important.
Sandra Day O’Connor—first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. She was nominated by President Ronald Reagon in 1981 and had a unanimous confirmation, supported by conservatives and liberals alike. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Obama and remains a close friend to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now the oldest serving justice on the court. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, has garnered many awards including the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, and was given an honorary doctoral degree from Yale University.
J.K. Rowling—author of the Harry Potter series and first female novelist to become a billionaire. Rowling went from an unemployed, single mother living on welfare to a best-selling author of one of the most beloved young adult series of all time. She has openly talked about struggling with depression and how writing the series started as an attempt to come to terms with her rough childhood. By the way, yeah, she was on Forbes’ Billionaire list in 2004. However, her donations to charity made such a large dent in her fortune that she was bumped down to millionaire status.
Condoleezza Rice—first African-American woman to serve as national security advisor as well as Secretary of State. She has degrees in both International Studies and Political Science. Rice was the first woman to serve as a provost of Stanford University and, after her term as Secretary of State finished, returned to Stanford as a professor of Political Science.
Kathryn Bigelow—the first woman to win an oscar for achievement in directing. Bigelow’s film, The Hurt Locker, a low-budget movie about the Iraq war, won best picture and best original screenplay at the 2010 Academy Awards. That same year, Avatar came out, a movie directed by Bigelow’s ex-husband which coincidentally was competing with The Hurt Locker in all the same categories. Unfortunately for James Cameron, Avatar turned out to be more like a Pocahontas rip-off/live-action Spurf movie than true oscar material, and Bigelow won. Way to woman up.
Ida B. Wells—journalist, author, feminist, civil rights activist and pioneer for black women’s rights during the Reconstruction Era. Wells was a pioneer of African-American journalism, writing articles on lynching, interracial relationships, and women’s rights. She was a co-owner and editor for her own newspaper and was active in the women’s suffrage movement.
Happy Womyn’s Herstory Month!