There is nothing like the story of a strong, smart and ground-breaking women to get your little one to set the bar high. From an iconic 15-year-old author to a daring pilot to a (maybe??) first woman president of the United States, these five females all changed the course of history as we know it, and our kids should know about it.
She wrote one of the world’s best selling books at the age of 13, and that wasn’t even her greatest accomplishment. Frank was a young Jewish girl forced to flee from her home in Germany and go into hiding from the Nazis. While she and her family lived in secrecy in an attic in Amsterdam, Frank wrote regularly in her diary, telling the story of one of the most horrific times in history through the eyes of a teenaged girl. It was published after her death in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15. The diary served as a unique eye-witness account of life during Holocaust (mass murder of approximately six million Jews during World War II) and it became one of the world’s most read books.
This iconic woman reached for the skies, literally. She had a love affair with flying from an early age, and eventually worked and saved up enough money to take flying lessons. At the age of 25, she was the 16th woman ever to be issued a pilot’s license. She had several notable flights, becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, as well as the first person to fly over both the Atlantic and Pacific. In 1937 she embarked upon her lifelong dream of flying across the world, however, her flight went missing on that trip and she was never seen again.
Kids today might see nothing strange about a woman being on the verge of being the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, but it would be a first, and a huge deal for a country that still struggles with professional and political arenas dominated by men. But ceiling-cracking work started decades ago: After becoming the first lady of Arkansas in 1983 and then the United States in 1993, Hillary Clinton has been a powerful force in US politics ever since. She was the first ‘first lady’ to be a candidate in elected office in 1999 (in the race for New York Senator, which she won and served for two terms). She has won numerous awards for her work concerning women, health and children. And check back a year from now—we very well may be calling her the first “Ms. President.”
Because sometimes saying “no” changes the world (teach this one carefully, parents). Also know as “the first lady of civil rights”, Rosa Parks was a pioneer of civil rights in a racially segregated Alabama in 1950s. In 1955, Parks, a black woman, refused to give away her seat to a white passenger in a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, despite the bus driver’s orders to do so. Her brave and rebellious act sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which crippled the state capital’s public transport system and inspired others to demand civil right for African Americans.
Billy Jean King
Billie Jean King is a US tennis legend and the winner of 20 Wimbledon titles. One of her most famous matches is a 1973 game played against Bobby Riggs, who had made a statement that men were superior athletes. She challenged him to “The Battle of the Sexes” in which the winner would take home a $100,000 prize. King won the match, the money and continued to fight for women’s equality on and off the court.
Who are some other inspiring women that our kids should know about? Tell us in the comments below.