March is a month of many things. It signifies the beginning of spring and a farewell to the bone-chilling winds of winter (or at least we like to think it does). By March, Girl Scout cookie season has been going strong for weeks. The "spring forward" clock change occurs. But one of my favorite things about March? It's Women's History Month.
Women's History Month is a reminder of our female heroes — both the ones who've made the history books and the unsung ladies who have made a difference for the men and women who would follow them. Recognizing women, past and present, in sports, STEM, the arts, medicine, and government reminds us of the impact that women can have. Women's History Month celebrates the innovations and accomplishments of women who have broken the myth that "women can't do that" — whatever the "that" may be.
Here's a list of women who have changed my world, and are inspiring me to go out and make a little history of my own.
Susan B. Anthony
I would be remiss if I did not include the woman who played such a pivotal role in women's suffrage, a woman who gave me the ability to vote for women who are now making a difference in our government.
"There shall never be another season of silence until women have the same rights men have on this green earth."
The first to earn a medical degree in the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell proved that women deserved the opportunity for higher education.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Notorious R.B.G., this amazing woman has been a champion for the advancement of gender equality and women's rights. She is a reminder to challenge the status quo.
"Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.
At 21, Malala and I are the same age. She is an advocate for education and human rights and is the youngest Nobel Peace laureate. She survived a gunshot wound from a gunman who targeted her for her activism. She is a reminder that women everywhere do not have the same access to education and basic human rights that I have; Malala reminds me of the Audre Lorde quote "I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own." Malala's legacy is that no one is ever too young to make a difference.
"We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced."
Rosie the Riveter
Not one woman in particular, yet Rosie the Riveter stood for everything that women during World War II stood for: courage, strength, and determination, as so many women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers, in industries that had previously been dominated by men.
"We can do it."
An incredible gymnast, sexual assault survivor, Aerie REAL model, author, and a leader, there are so so many reasons that Aly makes this list. But perhaps it is her courage, inner beauty, ferocity, and her fight to hold people accountable (whether it be Larry Nassar or U.S.A. Gymnastics) that makes her such an inspiration.
"I am no longer a victim. I am a survivor."
Austen proved that words have power and that the female voice need not be silenced. In many ways, the words she wrote centuries ago have more meaning now than ever. Austen is a reminder that a heroine does not need to be silent, submissive, and relenting to social duty, but rather, may have a voice and opinion of her very own.
"Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody."
Serena Williams often finds her place on lists of top athletes in the world, but it is her ability to overcome criticism of her physique and even more laughably her attire on the tennis court that gives her a place on this list. After catsuits were banned at the French Open, Williams donned a tutu for the U.S. Open and won. Williams proves that you can make a powerful statement without ever even opening your mouth, and that strength and femininity are not mutually exclusive. 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."
The first woman to own her own talk show, Oprah is an example that women make a difference when they speak up and shut down the opinions of anyone who has ever said that women talk too much.
"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams."
The first woman to run as a numbered entrant in the Boston Marathon, five years before women were officially allowed to do so. As she was running, a man tried to forcibly remove her from the race. She finished anyways (and she ran it again in 2017).
"Life is for participating, not for spectating."
Not just one of the most influential women in history, but rather one of the most impactful individuals, Parks took a stand for something she thought was wrong — and decades later inspires many to stand up for what they believe in.
"You must never be fearful of what you are doing when it is right."
If anyone is proof that a little positivity can change the world, Ellen is. She continues to remind us what a loving place the world has the potential to be.
"We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that."
J.K. Rowling has given the world a belief in magic, and the conviction that even if someone tells you no, that doesn't mean you won't try again, and better yet, that doesn't mean you won't succeed.
"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve."
As Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot has become a symbol of equality and female empowerment, showing girls that they too could be superheroes. Oh and in addition to acting she served two years in the Israel Defense Forces as a combat instructor, and she studied law and international relations at IDC Herzliva college
"I think women are amazing for being able to show what they feel. I admire women who do. I think it's a mistake when women cover their emotions to look tough. I say let's own who we are and use it as a strength."
My mother, sister, cousins, aunts, friends, classmates, teachers, and every woman who had made a personal impact on my life
These women have changed my world, just as much as every other woman on this list.