Beyonce said it best (doesn’t she always?). Wonder Woman made a huge comeback this year. We all know exactly who Elle Woods is. Women really are an undeniable force to be reckoned with.
An unfortunate side of history has shown us how our society has labeled women as a secondary class. Yet, history has also shown us that there have been (and continue to be) remarkable female individuals who have paved their own unique ways through history. During this year’s Women’s History Month, we’d like to take time to acknowledge some of these inspiring women.
Not enough can be said about this courageous Pakistani activist and hero. You probably heard her name virally celebrated across the news outlets when she was shot in 2012 by a Taliban member, for rebelling against an oppressive and sexist regime that did not believe in educating females. Malala openly advocated for girls’ education in her community after the Taliban started to bomb schools created for females. Despite almost being assassinated, Malala has continued her efforts to educate other women and men in her community.
Malala was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. She will always be remembered as a hero in both the eastern and western parts of the world.
Greta Thunberg is best known for her work supporting the environment. This activist has challenged world leaders to take action against climate change, including former U.S. President Donald Trump. At the age of only 15, Greta started to lead a school protest outside the Swedish Parliament that demanded active climate change. Greta organized a school climate strike called Fridays for Future. Her famous speech, “How dare you,” has been widely recognized by her community and the media.
Greta is so powerful that her influence has been referred to as the “Greta effect” in newspapers and on social media. Her achievements led her to become the youngest Time Person of the Year. Forbes magazine previously included her in their list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
This internationally acclaimed attorney, philanthropist, and human rights activist is so much more than arm candy for Hollywood Actor, George Clooney. One of her most notable achievements was representing the nation of Armenia in its battle for recognition of the Armenian Genocide imposed by Turkey’s government. Her clients also include various corporations across the globe that wanted justice and fair regulations from their nation’s government. In 2015, Amal advocated for women’s rights against sexual and physical abuse in high conflict zones.
During her time at NYU, Amal received the Jack J. Katz Memorial Award. This award goes to the student who exhibits the most proficiency in the entertainment law field.
Amanda Gorman is our nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate. An inspiring young woman who serves as a role model for females and aspiring poets everywhere. Her poetry advocates for social injustices around the globe. Her writing has gotten her invitations by the Obama White House administration, and to perform for Malala Yousafzai. She has also written a piece for The New York Times. She most recently performed her piece “The Hill We Climb” during President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which earned her global applause and praise.
One of her most significant accomplishments includes receiving the Poets and Writers Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award. Through her words, this heroic female has the ability to change the world.
Michelle Obama represented America proudly when she stepped into office as the first African American first lady. She’s also a practiced lawyer, writer and philanthropist. While serving as the first lady, Michelle advocated for various issues such as education, poverty and inequity among our nation, as well as promoted the values of healthy eating and exercise among children and young adults. She created the Let’s Move Campaign, which aimed to reduce childhood obesity in children.
Through her four main initiatives, she has become a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education.
Maya Angelou is one of the most influential scholars in American history. She is well known for her best-selling novel, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” where she openly talks about her experience with sexual abuse. The book became banned from schools at the time due to its controversial topic and nature. Even today, its content is considered highly contested and often is argued over whether it should be taught in classrooms or not. Maya Angelou was a fervent activist of the Civil Rights Movement.
The women on this list are an inspiration to people everywhere. They are especially wonderful role models for young female students. Most of these individuals originated from hard-working middle class families, and relied on their passion to help others to take them far in life. Their accomplishments show young students that you can pursue your dreams if you are dedicated to your cause.
It’s important to remember that a lot of these women have acted in courageous ways, that their societies deemed “inappropriate.” Their actions show all of us to speak our truths and stand up for what we believe is right—no matter how society may react. Equal recognition of women still have a long way to go in our world today. The swiftest path to progress starts by recognizing the work of honorary women who came before us.