Women's History Month: 5 Trailblazers You Need To Know
March is Women’s History Month and we’re celebrating by sharing the stories of amazing female game changers and barrier breakers. For so long women’s stories have been left out of history, and that’s why raising the visibility of the female rule breakers is so important for telling the whole story of history. Here are some women who are earned their place in history.
The Trailblazer: Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)
Georgia is an American painter who broke the rules of restrictive form, creating her own rules with a unique personal style. Known as “The Mother of American Modernism,” she lived in New Mexico and was inspired by its landscape. Her oil paintings interpreted nature with vibrant feminine energy. By 1977, Georgia’s contribution to the evolution of American Art was recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Trailblazer: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
“I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling reality of wishful illusions,” said author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. She influenced famous writers such as Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou, penned American classics such as Their Eyes Were Watching God, and was dubbed “The Queen of Harlem Renaissance.” She was a writer of plays, poetry, fieldwork in folklore culture, fiction, and opinion-pieces. Her work collected and interpreted African American and Caribbean human experiences. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the New York Writers Hall of Fame.
The Trailblazer: Amelia Earhart (1897-1939)
This rebel heart was an American aviator who created many firsts, including being the first person ever to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S., and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia Earhart was also an author, and a member of the National Women’s Party supporting the early Equal Rights Amendment (which is still not national law today!). In 1937, Amelia was declared lost at sea, but her disappearance remains a mystery. She is a a boundary breaker whose bravery and adventurous spirit lives on.
The Trailblazer: Sally Ride (1951-2012)
Astronaut, engineer and physicist Sally Ride was the third woman in space, and the first American woman in space, when she joined the Challenger shuttle mission in 1983. She beat out 1,000 other applicants to score a spot in NASA’s astronaut training program, and continued as an university professor of physics and the director of the California Space Institute at the University of California when she left NASA. Not only did she go where no woman had gone before, she she helped other girls to do the same by starting Sally Ride Science in 2001, which created educational programs and products to inspire more girls to get into STEAM.
The Trailblazer: Josephine Baker (1906-1975)
American-born French entertainer and activist Josephine Baker was best known as a dancer, but also for assisting the French Resistance during World War II. Back in the U.S. she refused to perform for segregated audiences and was an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement. She also adopted 12 children from around the world, called the “Rainbow Children,” because she “believed in equality for all, no matter what nationality, religion or race they were of.” She was the one official female speaker at the March on Washington in 1963.
Let these women of yesterday inspire you today, and let’s look to their examples to continue being bold, brave, and pushing for progress. For more inspirational women, see:
In Her Words: On the Basis of Sex, RBG And Pushing for Equality in 2019
Shooting For Greatness: Female Leaders on How to Change The Game
Take 5: Why Lifting Up Female Entrepreneurs Will Be a Win for Us All