The month of March is celebrated worldwide as Women’s History Month, with March 8 marking International Women’s Day. During this month of celebration, we honor the often-unrecognized contributions of women to the fields of medicine, technology, literature, politics, art, history, fashion, and education. Many artists and public figures dedicate the month to sketching and writing short bios of their favorite lady heroes to bring light to the unsung heroes of women’s work. Here are a few to begin your month on the right foot.
Malala Yousafzai: The youngest winner of the highly-coveted Nobel Peace Prize, Malala made global headlines when she was shot in the face by members of the Taliban attempting to keep her from obtaining an education. Today, the Oxford student is a fierce advocate for women of all ethnicities and religious to receive an education that provides them information on global history, mathematics, literature, and writing. She also advocates for better refugee inclusion and ensuring proper care and education for those who had to flee their homes for economic, political, or other reasons.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A celebrated Nigerian novelist, lyricst, and author, Chimamanda has long been lauded one of the foremost voices on African feminism in the modern age. She’s been called today’s Chinua Achebe because of her perspicacity into modern femininity and the intersection of tradition, Blackness, and womanhood. Chimamanda has been featured on the smash-hit Beyonce song “Flawless” for her spoken word piece on the meaning of feminism and continues to this day to champion the cause of social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink: Mink was a Japanese-American US Politician from Hawaii who championed education initiatives during the Bush administration, specifically for young children and women. Among her work are the Early Childhood Education Act and the Women’s Educational Equity Act, both of which sought to ensure that there was adequate funding and management of both important benchmarks of the nation’s education system. Mink also introduced the landmark Title IX of the Higher Education Act. Under Title IX, education institutions that receive federal aid are prohibited from sex discrimination in their spending on activities, including sports. The title also requires that issues pertaining to sexual harassment or assault be handled with the highest importance.
Ibtihaj Muhammad: This US fencer has made important strides for Muslim girls everywhere. Muhammad, who fences foil, observes Hijab both on and off the fencing strip and has forwarded the inclusion of conservative dress in both sports and high fashion. In interviews, Muhammad recounts the bullying and teasing she received as a youth and how she hopes the combination of her athleticism and proud faith will inspire other young Muslim and Black girls to push on, no matter what. Recently, the Olympian has partnered with Mattel to create a hijab-wearing Barbie.