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The Mirabal Sisters

While under the tyranny of a corrupt dictatorship, three brave sisters – Minerva, Patria and Maria Mirabal – set out to create a safe, just world for the people of the Dominican Republic. The Mirabal Sisters, who called themselves “Las Mariposas” (“The Butterflies”), resisted the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and participated in clandestine acts against his political reign. They were assassinated on his orders on November 25, 1960, which turned them into folk legends and symbols of the power of feminine resistance. November 25th was chosen as the International Day For The Elimination of Violence Against Women to commemorate the day of their assassination. These brave women grew up in a middle-class family on a farm in the Dominican Republic. They were intelligent, college-educated women who went on to marry and have families of their own, in addition to their political activities. Due in part to the influence of their…

Oprah Winfrey

There simply is no way to talk about women in media without talking about the incomparable Oprah Winfrey. Breaking every stereotype, Oprah Winfrey has seen an extraordinary rise from newscaster to talk show host to producer to media mogul. Often called the Queen of All Media, she’s also an actress and producer. A few of the firsts Miss Winfrey has achieved: only multi-billionaire African American woman youngest news anchor WLAC-TV in Nashville first black female news anchor at WLAC-TV Talk Show Host The Oprah Winfrey Show premiered in 1986. Originally styled along the lines of a tabloid talk show, Winfrey was instrumental in steering The Oprah Winfrey Show to more respected programming. The show began tackling topics like breast cancer and domestic violence and conducting A-list celebrity interviews. The Oprah Winfrey Show launched the careers of prominent guests including Dr. Phil McGraw and Iyanla Vanzant. Book Club Oprah’s Book Club…

Women’s Equality Day

The first petition for the national holiday, Women’s Equality Day, was made in 1971 when New York Congresswoman and Democratic Representative, Bella Abzug, successfully petitioned Congress to set August 26th aside as a designated holiday. August 26th was specifically selected to coincide with the 19th constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote. Women’s Equality Day further commemorates the Women’s Strike for Equality that was held on the same date in 1970, marking the 50th anniversary of the successful ratification of women’s suffrage. The first official celebration of Women’s Equality Day was held on August 26, 1973. Women’s Equality Day celebrates more than women’s right to cast their vote in all US governmental elections. It also celebrates the plethora of contributions women have made to society and to this country. In 1973, then President Richard Nixon stated, “The struggle for women’s suffrage, however, was only the first step toward…

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys, is a singer, songwriter, producer, and actress. Born in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, she is an only child of mixed racial heritage. Her mother is Italian, Scottish, and Irish, while her father is African American. Keys’ parents separated when she was a toddler and she was raised by her single mother. Determined to show her daughter a better life, Alicia’s mother enrolled her in music and dance classes. Her aptitude for classic music had her playing classic pieces by Beethoven and Chopin at the age of twelve. As a teen, she attended the prestigious Professional Performing Arts School, where she started writing songs at fourteen. She graduated as valedictorian of her class. Soon after her high school graduation, Keys briefly attended Columbia University. Soon after she resigned from the school to focus on her musical career, she met Jeff Robinson, who went on to become her manager. He introduced…

Susan Burton

Susan Burton is an amazing woman who proves that no matter what life throws your way, you can overcome it! She’s proof that it’s never too late to recreate yourself, improve your future, and create a life you’ll love living! Born and raised in the projects of East Los Angeles, her childhood was harrowing and full of challenges. She was further devastated in her young adulthood when her five-year-old son was accidentally struck and killed by a police car. Devastated by the loss of her son, Burton turned to drugs to alleviate her grief and was eventually arrested and convicted for her use of crack cocaine. She became addicted to crack cocaine while struggling through the grief process with no therapy in an underprivileged, disadvantaged community. Burton went on to spend most of the 1980s and 90s in and out of jail. She was arrested and confined to jail or…

Margaret H. Woodward

Margaret H. Woodward is a decorated member of the United States Air Force. Born in 1960, Woodward was raised in India and Pakistan, where her father was employed by the US Agency for International Development. Her family later relocated to California. She went on to graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering. She then attended Air Command and Staff College at Air University. Woodward went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Aviation Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. A great believer in education, she earned a second Master’s Degree in National Security Strategy from National War College. Woodward joined the US Air Force the year after obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree. She spent the majority of her military career refueling aircraft. While she was growing up in Pakistan, she dreamed of one day flying an aircraft. She was saddened an annoyed when…

Malala Yousafzai

The youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for the education of girls and women. In a culture where girls were at one time banned from attending school, Malala’s efforts at education reform for girls has become an international movement. Injuries she suffered in 2012 following an assassination attempt by a Taliban gunman, ignited an outpouring of support for Malala and her cause. Dubbed the most famous teenager in the world, she used the ensuing fame to become a rising activist for the education of women and girls. Her story is chronicled in the documentary, He Named Me Malala. Other notable achievements include: Named one of Time magazine’s Most Influential Global People from 2013 to 2015 Received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize in 2012 Was the co-recipient, along with Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 Of Sunni Muslim decent, Malala was named after…

Ronda Rousey

A September 2015 poll called her the Best Female Athlete Ever. Ronda Jean Rousey is a mixed martial artist, judoka, and actress. The Bronze Medal winner in the 2008 Summer Olympics, she was the first American woman to win a medal in the sport of judo. Her other achievements include: One-time UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Winner of twelve consecutive MMA fights The youngest of three girls, Rousey struggled with speech and language development as a child due to a condition called apraxia which affects speech and sound. Her family relocated from California to North Dakota so Ronda could receive more intense speech therapy at Minot State University. Struggling with the death by suicide of her father, Rousey endured many childhood difficulties.  Earning a GED after dropping out of high school, Rousey chose not to pursue a traditional line of work. She started studying Judo with her…

Joanne Liu – Doctors Without Borders

Dr. Joanne Liu is a Canadian pediatrician born in Quebec, Canada. Like many women, she was inspired in her youth to strive for great things. At the age of thirteen, Joanne read a book about Doctors Without Borders and began dreaming of one day joining their ranks. She spent her academic career working toward that dream. Taking her education very seriously, she excelled in high school and went on to obtain several degrees on the road to becoming a doctor. After graduating from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Liu trained in pediatric medicine at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine. She later trained in pediatric emergency care at Bellevue Hospital Center of the New York University School of Medicine. Working toward her dream to join Doctors Without Borders, she worked with Malian refugees in Mauritania. Dr. Liu also provided medical support after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake…

Yi So-Yeon

There’s not many South Korean women more inspirational than Yi So-Yeon. Growing up in a small town where most employment opportunities were involved in agriculture, generations before her were forbidden from learning to read and write in order to free up time to work the land. Her passion for engineering came from watching her dad performing DIY around the house and helping him with odd jobs. This inspired her to do very well at science and engineering at school, her performances earning her a place on the gifted program at her high school. It wasn’t long until she was granted a place at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology studying Mechanical Engineering and Biosystems at Ph.D level. At one point during her Ph.D, she presented at an international event in Japan, attended by over 40 countries and she was the only female! In 2006, So-Yeon become a finalist,…