Whether it is our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, or aunts, we all have strong women who have influenced us in our lives. These women have taught us valuable lessons, given us memorable advice, and have guided us through tough times. I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the strong guidance and influence from my mom and grandmother. Often times, we can also be motivated by historical women. March is known as “Women’s History Month,” a time to celebrate these powerful inspirational women and pass on their wisdom to the next generations. Let’s start by taking a look at some women in history who have impacted others and the lessons we can pass on.
Maya Angelou: A poet, singer, writer, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou stood up against racial prejudices and discrimination. In her works, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she wove her life experiences, tackled hard subjects and taught how to be a strong person to many people. In addition, this book made history as being the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman and helped show others how to use literature to overcome racism and traumatic events.
Malala Yousafzai: Growing up, Malala was educated in an all-girls school in her village in Pakistan. This experience inspired her to speak out about women’s rights and a woman’s right to education. However, her voices made her a target for the Taliban. At the age of 15, a gunman shot her in the head, but thankfully, she survived and continues to tell her story throughout the world. Two years later, in 2014, Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize, making her the youngest recipient ever. She has been quoted as saying, “I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is the story of many girls.”
Marie Curie: In order to raise strong women, it is imperative that girls see women who have succeeded in their passions and interests. Marie Curie changed the history of science with her discovery of radium and polonium, and development of a portable X-ray machine in a male-dominated field. She also won two Nobel Prizes, in chemistry and physics. Marie Curie still holds the title of the only person to receive two Nobel Peace Prizes in two different sciences.
Knowing, being, and raising strong women can have a different meaning to everyone, based on their life, experiences, and values, and that is okay. First, determine what being a strong woman looks like for you. Think about how you want to mentor your daughters or other young girls in your life. Then, model that behavior. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and go after your goals, big or small. Other ways to be a strong woman include making sure you take care of yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally, as well as facing your fears while still realizing mistakes are a part of growing. Focus on the positives about yourself, those around you, and your life, have a sense of humor, and understand that you are more important than your flaws and appearance. The future looks brighter for women, and one thing is for sure, no matter how you look at it, all women are strong women in one way or another.