Girls need role models. Girls need to see real-life role models that represent gender and racial diversity who are excelling in STEM, in the arts, in public service… and in everyday life.
We need girls, women, boys, and men to stand up, speak up and challenge the gender, racial, cultural and immigrant stereotypes that have rendered so many courageous women invisible.
Here are my 5 fave girls from age 11 to 18 who have achieved role model status:
Mo’ne Davis – the first girls to throw a Little League World Series shutout. She also earned the 2014 Sports Kid of the Year award in Sports Illustrated. The empowering image of Mo’ne Davis for African-American girls and girls of color is priceless.
Katniss Everdeen – The fearless hero of The Hunger Games has made archery coll for girls. Heroes in Hollywood impact our culture worldwide. Did you know Geena Davis was a women’s Olympics archery team semi-finalist?
Malala Yousafzai – Malala, the Pakistani girl who stood up for educating females is also the youngest Noble Prize laureate, first displayed her extraordinary courage and character in the BBC blog she wrote (at age 11) about the Taliban threat to close down schools educating girls. She followed this up with publicly advocating for children’s right to education because it is a human right. I get tingles just writing about Malala! This kind of courage is humbling and awe-inspiring so she heads up my personal list.
“The Flying Monkeys” – 6 Girl Scouts, ages 12 to 13, from Ames, Iowa who won the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award for a prosthetic device designed for a 3-year-old born without fingers on her right hand enabling her to write. The $20,000 reward was used to get their U.S. Patent in Washington, D.C. where the girls were honored.
Vinnie Ream – The 18-year-old was the first female and youngest artist to ever receive a Congressional commission for a statue. Her true-to-life marble figure of President Abraham Lincoln in the U.S. Capitol rotunda is stunning. Learn more about her here.
Laws can be legislated but hearts are changed one person at a time. Title IX and Civil Right’s legislation are only as powerful as we make them in the everyday face to face interactions based on a foundation of respect for everyone’s dignity and rights.