March 8th is International Women’s Day, and it is an excellent opportunity to celebrate important women in all areas, including politics, science, business, and sports, and to pay special tribute to the important women in your life.
This year, Kamala Harris has been the source of many conversations about women in politics and positions of power and how groundbreaking this past election was. Watching the Inauguration with my daughters was a very special moment and one that we will always remember.
As part of our International Women’s Day celebration, we decided to read some books about her inspiring story and her career journey leading up to her election as Vice President. Also included are empowering stories of activism and perseverance.
- Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, by Meena Harris
- Who is Kamala Harris? by Kirsten Anderson
- Superheroes are Everywhere by Kamala Harris
- There is a Girl Headed to the White House by Dr. Jasmine G. Killiebrew
- Kamala Harris Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes
Other areas we recognized and discussed are important strides women have made in business, literature, sports, and STEM, particularly those that highlight the importance of gender equality.
For example, in business, we discussed how more women hold higher positions than men. We also discussed this article about powerful female CEOs, and it was interesting to learn about the background, diversity, and ages (many relatively young) of these women: “From Bumble to YouTube: How the world’s most powerful female CEOs built their empires.”
For literature, we chose to focus on Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate. Of course, this choice stemmed from her inspiring performance at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration. My daughters and I took a break from our day to listen to her empowering words and beautiful delivery and took more time to read and listen to her inaugural poem.
In sports, we chose to read some of Megan Rapinoe’s memoir “One Life” and discuss her accomplishments and activism and work to highlight the importance of gender equality.
Next on our list to celebrate International Women’s Day, we discussed the important role of women in the science and health care field this year in the fight against COVID-19. We discussed two articles: the first is a news article entitled “From Politics to the Pandemic: How Women Changed the Course of 2020” that highlights that a large percentage of health care workers are women who are working hard on the front lines to fight against this disease. Another article from April 2020 highlights the important work of women grassroots organizers in African communities to spread knowledge about the prevention of the disease: “Lessons from African Feminists Mobilizing Against COVID-19.”
Here is a list of books about important and inspiring women that my family particularly enjoyed:
1. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli
2. Rad American Women AZ: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries by Kate Schatz
3. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky (See also Women in Art and Women in Sports)
4. A Is for Awesome! 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World by Eva Chen
5. Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter
6. Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights by Sarah J. Robbins (adapter) and Malala Yousafzai (author)
7. Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey
8. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
9. Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst
10. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly and Laura Freeman
While recognizing and learning about famous women who empower and inspire us for their courage, strength, and perseverance, I was constantly reminded of women in my life and close to our family who represent the same values but do not receive the recognition.
One way to do this is to teach about young girls and women in the community that have done something extraordinary. You can cut out newspaper clippings and magazines and make a poster board for the week or month to feature specific examples. Or sit down with your kids and talk about them. I think this is especially important given all the negativity that is expressed in the news and media. It is good to highlight positive examples.
Furthermore, I think about women in my family and close family friends who have exhibited extraordinary leadership and kindness and present an excellent example to younger generations.
To honor them this month, we are writing letters and cards to express our gratitude.