Amazing Women Spotlight: Chief Wilma Mankiller

No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no telephone, and the sixth of eleven siblings, Wilma Mankiller was born in 1945 on the Cherokee reservation lands in Oklahoma and would rise up to be the first female elected chief in Cherokee nation history. At age ten, Mankiller and her family moved to San Francisco as part of a federal program to provide indigenous peoples with jobs in exchange for the reclamation of federally subsidized reservation land. However, in San Francisco Mankiller’s family only found sporadic job opportunities and discrimination. Mankiller grew up in San Francisco, and in 1969 she became involved in … Continue reading Amazing Women Spotlight: Chief Wilma Mankiller

16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence

This year marks the 28th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence which was initiated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University in 1991.  The  16-days campaign begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends December 10, Human Rights Day. Violence against women (VAW) is the most pervasive human rights violation on earth. According to the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, violence against women and girls “means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, … Continue reading 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence

Amazing Women Spotlight: Truus and Freddie Oversteegen

Forced to live under the dangerous rule of the Nazi Party, these teenage siblings worked to resist Nazi authority in the Netherlands via distributing illegal newspapers, harboring fugitives, helping Jewish people escape detention facilities and concentration camps, and smuggling Jewish people to safety. Both girls received arms training to shoot occupying soldiers, helped set explosives to railroads and bridges, and engaged themselves in any way they could to undermine Nazi control. The Oversteegens are perhaps most memorable for their work in seducing Nazi officers and luring them into the woods, where fellow resistance members would be waiting to shoot and … Continue reading Amazing Women Spotlight: Truus and Freddie Oversteegen

Amazing Women Spotlight: Dolores Huerta

The inspiring feminist and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta was born on April 10, 1930 in New Mexico. After her parents’ divorce, Huerta moved with her mother and siblings to Stockton, California, where she grew up in an ethnically diverse community of working class families. Huerta went on to receive her provisional teaching degree from the University of the Pacific’s Delta College and began teaching the children of farm workers in her community. After seeing her students repeatedly come to class hungry and without shoes, Huerta left her position as a teacher and began her work as an activist to … Continue reading Amazing Women Spotlight: Dolores Huerta

Amazing Women Spotlight: Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson was born on April 9, 1921 in Hampton, Virginia, and grew up during the Jim Crow Era in which segregation and discrimination against black Americans was legalized and systemic. Despite the social and legal adversity she faced as a black woman, Jackson graduated from Hampton Institute in 1942 with degrees in both mathematics and physical sciences. In 1951 Jackson was recruited by NACA, NASA’s predecessor, and worked in the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory’s West Area Computers for two years. Jackson then began to work alongside NASA’s engineers and was encouraged to enter a training program to become an engineer … Continue reading Amazing Women Spotlight: Mary Jackson

Amazing Women Spotlight: Gabriela Mistral aka Lucila Godoy Alcayaga

The first Hispanic writer to receive a Nobel Prize for literature, Lucila Godoy Alcayaga was a dedicated human rights and education advocate whose writing shone a spotlight on the previously unrecognized Chilean culture. Alcayaga first became an educator after studying on her own to gain her teaching qualifications, as she was rejected from local teaching programs for the ‘equality-driven’ themes in her writing. In her spare time, Alcayaga wrote poetry, letters, and newspaper articles to advocate for children, women, Native Americans, and other marginalized groups. Alcayaga went on from teaching in the classroom to assist Mexico’s Education Secretary in reforming … Continue reading Amazing Women Spotlight: Gabriela Mistral aka Lucila Godoy Alcayaga

Amazing Women Spotlight: The Mirabal Sisters

Known as “Las Mariposas,” Patria, Maria Teresa, and Minerva Mirabal were active members of the resistance movement dedicated to toppling the oppressive regime of dictator Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. The Mirabal sisters worked to distribute pamphlets, develop assassination plots, and gather weapons to be used in the stand against Trujillo. The sisters and their husbands were jailed multiple times throughout their lives for their resistance efforts until Patria, Maria, and Minerva were all tragically assassinated on Trujillo’s orders on November 25th. After their deaths, the Mirabal sisters were immortalized as leading figures in the movements for popular and … Continue reading Amazing Women Spotlight: The Mirabal Sisters

Amazing Women Spotlight: Madame CJ Walker a.k.a. Sarah Breedlove

Sarah Breedlove was born to former slave parents in 1867, just after the American Civil War. She overcame poverty, illiteracy, sexism, and racism in the Reconstruction Era to establish herself as a successful entrepreneur. Her husband and both of her parents had died by the time she was twenty, and she was left alone to support herself and her daughter. Breedlove learned how to make shampoos and pomades for a living. With those skills, and reportedly with only $1.25, Breedlove built herself a haircare empire that became the biggest employer of African American women of the time. Her company provided … Continue reading Amazing Women Spotlight: Madame CJ Walker a.k.a. Sarah Breedlove