It has been said that women have paved the way for future generations to have access to meaningful opportunities today, and that is undeniably true. Women have had a long past of fighting for what they believed in and the rights they deserved. Countless inspirational and headstrong females have allowed us to have the rights and opportunities that we do today, and in honor of March being Women’s History Month, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some Trailblazing women.
Paving the way for African American women today, Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown founded the Palmer Memorial Institute in 1902 which was an African American school that succeeded through its unique and individualized curriculum. North Carolina Historic Sites says, “Dr. Brown was the founder and leader of the school for more than 50 years, and was inspired by her mentor Alice Freeman Palmer, who prompted her to follow her dreams and create such strong educational opportunities for women of color”.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg completely changed the dynamics of our Justice System as she was one of the first females to serve on the Supreme Court. Before that, according to History.com, she became the first female tenured professor all while fighting for women’s equality through being the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. She gained her passion from the loss of her mother, who instilled independence and strength within her. Ginsberg’s memory continues to be lived on, as our society is making changes in the way women are treated and looked at.
Ever since she was young, Jane Goodall had been fighting for an equal chance against males. Goodall had such a passion for species conservation, and her passions led her to Tanzania to join in the fight for Chimpanzee protections According to National Geographic, Goodall was extremely intelligent and she showed that throughout her work, and the way she communicated with the animals. This set her apart from others, which allowed her to change the way women were seen in the field of conservation.
Another incredible story of someone paving the way for women of color is Gwendolyn Brooks. She is one of the most highly regarded, influential, and widely read poets of the twentieth century. She encouraged other African American women that anything is possible, as she was the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize, and also the first woman of color to be a poetry consultant to the Library of Congress according to the Poetry Foundation.
Women in STEM is a new concept for our modern American society, and it is something that deserves to be recognized. According to Lemelson-MIT, Valerie Thomas had a passion for science, specifically image illusions at an early age. She began at NASA as a mathematical and data analyst and soon started managing the development of NASA’s image processing systems. Right after, she created an illusion transmitter which produces optical illusions. Scientists are still studying her work to determine if it can be used for healthcare purposes. Valerie is proof that women do have a place in STEM.
Due to everything these women have done for the world and us, it is important for us to give back and continue building on their legacy, which is why honoring Women’s History Month is so significant. Our Foundation’s mission is to support and challenge women to be the best version of themselves and we believe this is made possible by lifting each other up and celebrating the accomplishments of the women who paved the way before us.
For me personally, I have had many trailblazers in my life that have made a positive impact. The two that stand out the most would be my grandmother and aunt. I was raised by my grandmother, and she has made me who I am today. She has fought many battles herself, but she has stayed strong for our family. She has instilled in me at a young age the importance of being resilient, and standing up for what matters the most. I grew up with my aunt by my side and she was, and still is, one of my biggest role models. She has helped me grow throughout the years by challenging me to be myself and live with confidence. These two women have made a large impact in my life, and I am so grateful to have them in my life, helping me along the way.
Blog post contributed by: Libbie Lawson – Pass the Torch for Women Intern