We believe girls can learn lifelong skills from strong, courageous and fearless women role models. Role models teach them to fight for what’s right; to blaze past the boundaries that can too often hold them back; to believe in their own abilities and become the next generation of fearless women. After all, if they can see it, they can be it!
Girls can’t rule the world…until we show them how. The past year has given us many fearless women to look up to – problem-solvers, storytellers, innovators, and achievers. Now more than ever, girls need to see these role models; women who look just like them; who embody the qualities they want to emulate; who pave the way for unlimited future possibilities.
Join us in celebrating a few of these incredible women—from politics, STEM, film, and sports – and the qualities that make them such great role models.
Serena Williams is a force to be reckoned with in so many ways. She SLAYS on and off the court, and in our opinion, she’s the definition of a champ! On the court, Serena holds 39 major Grand Slam titles (the most of any active player in singles, doubles and mixed doubles combined, and 11 more than any male player in history). Not only that, Serena serves ace after ace as a committed philanthropist. She takes on persistent issues from education, inequality, and racism, to pay disparity and gun violence.
But before she could win titles in London, Paris, Melbourne and New York, she had to play her way out of Compton, where she faced many challenges to get to where she is today. She’s worked incredibly hard to be the “Greatest Female Athlete Ever.” Her strength comes not just from her physical prowess, but from her unrelenting drive to always do and be her very best.
She shows young girls and young women that no matter where you come from, you can go anywhere you want.
When Hidden Figures hit theaters last Christmas Day, it revealed a “shocking truth:” that not all NASA engineers are white men. Making box office history after grossing nearly $170 million domestically, the Oscar-nominated film shed a very bright light on the real African-American women mathematicians who helped NASA send the first men into space in the 60’s.
They faced pretty much every obstacle imaginable, but against the odds, they succeeded. Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson) calculated the trajectory for the May 5th, 1961, space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) became NASA’s first African-American female engineer and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) was the first African-American supervisor at NACA (now NASA) and one of few female supervisors.
These brilliant women showed girls to lean into their intelligence and not hide, no matter what gets in the way. They also taught girls to never let anything or anyone hold them back.
The Ghostbusters remake cranked up the volume on a long-standing Hollywood hot button topic: women’s roles in the film industry. Facing all manner of supernatural nemeses was less of a challenge than having Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones doing the ghost-busting. According to the New York Times, from 2007 through 2014, women made up only 30.2% of speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing fictional films. Even fewer women are directing big budget films.
If we all know just how important role models are for young girls, then why aren’t we seeing more female heroes in movies?
Girls need more of Rey, Wonder Woman and, yes, Ghostbusters! They need to see women BEING the heroes, both on and off the big screen. They need more characters to tell them they ain’t afraid of no ghosts, or any other obstacles people put in their way.
When we think of Princess Leia, we immediately think of her fighting spirit. We know her as a warrior princess who takes on the dark side and rises to the ranks while leading the rebel armies against the evil empire.
She taught girls that they can be more than just a princess. They can also be fighters, leaders and generals who inspire others to follow them. Carrie Fisher embodied the qualities of Princess Leia and in turn, she infused Leia with many of her own passionate qualities.
Fisher showed girls that even when someone tried to stereotype her, she had the strength to move beyond those constraints and grow into a trusted and respected leader.
As spring turned to summer last year, Simone Biles vaulted into our consciousness. When the Olympics began, the world became her stage and she OWNED it.
A bundle of energy from a young age, she bound from foster child to prodigy, to becoming a history-making Olympian. Drawing from a wellspring of determination, competitiveness and unwavering confidence, she became the most decorated American gymnast ever. She currently holds 14 world championship medals, four Olympic gold medals, and one bronze, and is also the first female gymnast to win three consecutive all-around titles at the world championships.
Her ability to stand on the narrowest of platforms and perform on the widest of stages continues to inspire so many girls to pursue their own paths with joy and confidence.
While Hillary Clinton didn’t become the next U.S. president, her campaign ignited women to stand up, march and make their voices heard. Across the U.S. (and around the globe), millions came out in over 600 cities, across 60 countries on all continents. People poured into streets to fight for a host of issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, racial equality, and much more.
Hillary and the subsequent women’s movement have made new heroes out of strong, intelligent women. Thousands of women did something they never imagined they’d do: run for office – at the Local, State and Federal level.
These historical events inspired young girls everywhere to believe that not only can a woman become the leader of the free world, but that sometime in the near future, a woman WILL become that leader. And the last great glass ceiling will forever be shattered.
So, Who Inspires You?
The fearless women we’ve talked about here are just a small sampling of the role models around the country and the world blazing trails and changing history. And not all of them are famous. In fact, far from it. So it’s time for you to tell us who inspires YOU!
Snap a photo (or video) with your role model’s name on a sheet of paper and tag it with #BeLikeHer. Share it on social and tell us why they inspire you!
Girls need role models from every walk of life, in every shape and color. They need to see more people like them showing them that anything IS possible. Whatever paths our girls choose, they need to know we’ve got their backs.