Powerful women who inspire our youth to #ChooseToChallenge
Happy International Women’s Day! The theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge, so today we are highlighting and celebrating strong women who have paved the way for all the girls after them by challenging the status quo, particularly in male-dominated industries. We hope your daughters feel empowered by the examples these women have set so they can figure out how they #ChooseToChallenge the world and themselves.
Here are some of the women who broke the glass ceiling in…
Former California Senator Kamala Harris challenged how it’s “always been done” by becoming the very first female Vice President of the United States earlier this year: “While I may be the first woman in this office. I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” However, she wouldn’t have been able to do it without the women before her, either.
Hattie Caraway became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1932: “I am going to fight for my place in the sun.” Madeleine Albright became the first female Secretary of State in 1997: “[T]here seems to be enough room in the world for mediocre men, but not for mediocre women, and we really have to work very, very hard.”
Former First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, became the first female presidential nominee of a major U.S. party in 2016: “It is past time for women to take their rightful place, side by side with men, in the rooms where the fates of peoples . . . are decided.”
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
Ann Preston is one of the biggest names when it comes to fighting for women’s rights to join a medical profession in the 1800s; she opened and became the first female dean of a medical school in the United States: “Wherever it is proper to introduce women as patients, there also is it but just … for women to appear as physicians and students.”
Speaking of firsts, Karen Uhlenbeck became the very first woman to win the Abel Prize (the “Nobel Prize of math”) only in 2019: “I am aware of the fact that I am a role model for young women in mathematics. It’s hard to be a role model, however, because what you really need to do is show students how imperfect people can be and still succeed . . . I may be a wonderful mathematician and famous because of it, but I’m also very human.”
She also said the culture of the math community and harsh societal pressures negatively affect the advancement of women in math. This is the case not only in math but also in science. Katalin Karikó studied the therapeutic benefits of mRNA, insisting it could be used to fight disease, but no one would support her research. She was doubted and even demoted, but eventually she prevailed: her discovery became the basis of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Madam C.J. Walker was born to former slaves but created an African-American hair care business that made her one of the first women to become self-made millionaires in the United States: “I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide employment to hundreds of women of my race.”
A famous name in fashion, Coco Chanel started by selling only women’s hats, moved on to create the first perfume (Chanel No. 5) to be sold worldwide, and ended with a fashion empire worth more than $160 million by the time she died: “My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.”
Sheryl Sandberg received her MBA from Harvard, wrote the best-selling book Lean In to help women personally and professionally, and as COO helped Facebook go from a $56 million loss in 2008 to $18.5 billion profit in 2019: “When you look at successful women, they have other women who have supported them, and they’ve gotten to where they are because of those women.”
Chloe Kim is a champion snowboarder who became the youngest gold medalist at the 2015 X Games, the first woman to participate in the halfpipe at the 2016 U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, the first woman ever to land back-to-back 1080s (three full revolutions in midair), and the youngest female gold medalist on the course when she won at the 2018 Olympics: “The one thing I learned is to just give everything a shot. You don’t want to live in regret.”
World-renowned tennis player Serena Williams won more Grand Slam singles titles (23 total) than any other woman or man: “The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.”
Katie Sowers achieved many firsts, one of which includes being the first woman in NFL history, as the offensive assistant of the San Francisco 49ers, to coach in a Super Bowl: “Being the first female in the Super Bowl, it’s surreal . . . even though I’m the first, the most important thing is I’m not the last and we continue to grow it.”
The glass ceiling can use even more cracks! Help your daughter join the ranks of these amazing women to change the world for the better. Education is one key aspect of achieving success, and we don’t mean just by getting good grades at school. We at JEI teach all of our students to pursue lifelong learning with curiosity and seek constant growth.
Let us help your child soar toward their infinite potential through our personalized learning programs. With the JEI Self-Learning MethodⓇ, they can land on whatever career path they wish, whether their dream is to become the coach of a national team or the next President of the United States. Call us today at (877) JEI-MATH or visit a JEI Learning Center near you.
Lastly, how will your child #ChooseToChallenge? Let us know with the #ChooseToChallenge pose on social media. Make sure to use the hashtag and tag us @jeilearningcenter on Instagram or @jeiglobal on Twitter!