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Who's Your #FemaleRoleModel?

Who's Your #FemaleRoleModel?

When people think about role models, women aren’t always the first to come to mind.

They’re out there. We know them. We are them.

This Women’s History Month, use the hashtag #FemaleRoleModel to tell us who yours is and tag a friend to raise awareness about the strong women who have inspired all of us.

Don’t forget to tag us too so we can share and add your #FemaleRoleModel to this list of incredible women we feature. 

Malala Yousafzai is one of most brave and courageous activists of our time, and she's only 18. On 9 October 2012, as Malala and her friends were traveling home from school, a masked gunman entered their school bus and asked for Malala by name. She was shot with a single bullet which went through her head, neck and shoulder. 

Since recovering, Malala has been named a Nobel Peace Prize winner and has traveled the world, advocating for girls' education through the Malala Fund.

For International Women's Day we will be honoring Malala with screenings of her documentary He Named Me Malala.

Gloria Steinem is a journalist, political activist, and prominent feminist leader since the 1960's. She's a founder of Ms. magazine, a publication focused on feminist themes and leaders. Gloria has been an advocate for women's equality and their reproductive freedom as a right. At age 82, Gloria continues to speak out for the feminist movement, supporting the basic human rights of women across the world. 

As an African-American woman in the tech, Stephanie Lampkin learned first hand about the need for diversity in the industry. In 2015, she founded Blendoor, a mobile app to help tech companies diversify their teams by providing an unbiased and fair recruitment process. It also allows people searching for jobs to see compare diversity rates in companies, putting pressure on companies to make this information public.

Shakira is a singer-songer writer from Colombia who has become a major pop artist in the United States as well. At just 18 years old, She founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation, a charity dedicated to funding schools for children in the poorer, rural areas of Colombia. The foundation has grown to help children around the world. Shakira is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and has urged the organization to put priority in the support of children's education. 

Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, was previously was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google before being elected as the first women to serve on Facebook's board. She's the co-author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, about the lack of women in high power positions. Sheryl joined Lean In to launch the Ban Bossy campaign. to discourage the use of the word "bossy" for young girls who show leadership skills.

Ursula Burns is the first black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, serving as CEO and Chairperson of Xerox. She has served on a number of boards, and, in addition, is one of the founding board members of Change the Equation, a program dedicated to improving STEM education in the country.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and Women's World Cup Champion Abby Wambach has lately been known as much for her philanthropy and fight for gender equality as for her performance as an elite American soccer player. Since her retirement from professional soccer she has been outspoken on the issue of the gender pay gap in athletics.

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel is a former research scientist who has held many positions in German politics since the '90s, including Minister for Women and Youth and the first female leader of the Christian Democratic Union. She's currently ranked as the second most powerful woman by Forbes, and has been named their most powerful woman a record 9 times.

J. K. Rowling is a British author best known for the Harry Potter series, which has become the best-selling book series in history. She struggled as a single mother, jobless and on welfare while writing the first book. However, she saw her situation not as a failure, but as an opportunity to concentrate on her passion. Eventually, after 12 publishing houses turned down her manuscript, her first book was finally published in 1997 and the rest, as they say, is history. Rowling has used her platform to advocate for several social issues, including anti-poverty, children's welfare, and social inequality.

Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to travel into space as part of the Space Shuttle Endeavour crew in 1992. She has a background in medicine, working in general practice before going into the Peace Corps and then being recruited by NASA. Mae had an interest in science as a child but didn't find much support from her teachers, who tried to dissuade her. She has founded programs and camps to foster kids' interests in STEM.

Mika Brzezinski is an American journalist and television host currently co-hosting MSNBC's Morning Joe. Mika has been outspoken about "trivial journalism," condemning the importance placed on "entertainment news" over "hard news." She has also been vocal about the importance of wage equality for women.

Dr. Margaret Chan is the Director-General of the World Health Organization who previously served as Director of Health in Hong Kong. In her role, she bases the key goal of WHO to be the improvement of healthcare for people in Africa and of women everywhere. She is ranked as 30th most powerful women int the world by Forbes.  

Melinda Gates's career started at Microsoft, where she was part of the development of many of its multimedia products. She is now the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation along with her husband Bill Gates. Melinda has won awards for her efforts in philanthropy, particularly in the areas of children's healthcare, education, and progressive workplace policies.

Tennis pro Venus Williams is more than an elite athlete. As the first African-American woman to reach number one in the rankings, and one of the best players in the sport all around, she has changed the landscape of the game for women by fighting for equal prize money. Venus has ventured into a new role as an entrepreneur, launching her own fashion line EleVen by Venus and interior design firm V Starr Interiors. As an Ellevate Network member herself, she has commented on the importance of having a network of supportive women behind you, as well as having the opportunity to help them in return.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1993, is only the second female justice and one of just three currently serving on the Supreme Court. Ruth has been an advocate for the advancement of women's rights since her legal career before being appointed to the Supreme Court. She co-founded the Women's Rights Project while at the American Civil Liberties Union, an effort to break down barriers caused by gender discrimination.

Tory Burch is a fashion designer and philanthropist who was listed as one of Forbes' most Powerful Women in 2015. Her fashion line blew up after being endorsed by Oprah Winfrey in 2005 as "the next big thing in fashion." Tory founded The Tory Burch Foundation in 2009, which supports female entrepreneurs through small business loans, mentorship, and education. She was even named an inaugural member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship by President Barack Obama for her work in developing a future generation of American female entrepreneurs.

Zainab Salbi is an author, media commentator, social entrepreneur and women's rights activist who recently launched her own talk show, giving a voice and a platform for Arab women to be heard and acknowledged. Zainab is also the founder of Women for Women International, a humanitarian and development organization dedicated to serving female survivors of war and helping them rebuild their lives.

A world renowned chef, author and TV personality, Julia Child is credited for bringing French cuisine to the United States. Her publications and broadcasts, known for being profoundly detailed and accessible in the American kitchen, won Emmy and Peabody Awards, and her legacy lives on through The Julia Child Foundation.

Anne Wojcicki is a biologist and the co-founder and CEO of personal genomics company 23andMe. Growing up as the child of educators in the Stanford area, Anne was empowered at a young age to pursue what she found interesting—science. She has a brave and ambitious way about her which has enabled her rethinking of healthcare and genomics to revolutionize the way people learn about their genetics and their own health.

In October 203, Anne was named “The Most Daring CEO” by Fast Company and her company 23andMe just recently became the first FDA-approved DNA testing service of its kind.

Mindy Kaling grew up in the Boston area of Massachusetts and became a writer and actor after moving to New York. She has starred in the sitcom The Office, written, starred in and produced The Mindy Project and written two books. Mindy is known for being outspoken woman in comedy who does not apologize for who she is -- as it should be. We love Mindy!

Billie Jean King's award-winning history is staggering. As one of the winningest female players in tennis, she won 39 (!) Grand Slam Titles in tennis, 7 titles for the Federation Cup, and 9 for the Wightman Cup. She's been recognized in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, as one of Sports Illustrated's Sportsmen of the Year, and in Time's Persons of the Year.

But we're not just amazed by her success as an athlete. Billie Jean King has been an advocate for women in tennis since the '70s, fighting for equal prize money, leading the fight for the first women's-only tour, and helping found the Women's Tennis Association, the Women's Sports Foundation, and World Team Tennis. In Billie Jean King, women have always had a true inspiration and fighter in our court. 

Reshma Saujani is Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. She is also a public advocate and the first South Asian woman to run for Congress. She is outspoken about embracing failure and encourages girls and women to make mistakes and be courageous in their lives. She is a leader, a pioneer and a positive force in the world of tech and education.

Gina Carano, the first woman to headline a major MMA event, has proven herself as an inspiration to many women in MMA, making the way for athletes like Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Holly Holm. Dominant in the sport and soft spoken in the public eye, Carano has since starred in action films and become a muse of the genre. Calling Gina a "Badass" is an understatement.

Emma Watson went from overnight child movie star to women's rights activist and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador -- and she's only 25. In September 2015, Emma launched the #HeforShe Campaign which asks for help from men in the fight for equal rights. Her speech at UN headquarters gave us chills, and we can't wait to see how else she will help change the landscape for feminists around the world.

Current Attorney General of the United States Loretta Lynch was fascinated by courtroom life since she was a child. With a family history with deep roots in the Jim Crow laws of the '30s, we think Loretta was truly destined to represent female minorities. In 2014 she became only the second woman, the second African American, and the first African-American women to be nominated for US Attorney General, making history right before our eyes.

Born Gloria Watkins, bell hooks is an author, feminist, and activist who took her pen name from another woman who spoke her mind: her grandmother. Her work covers the intersectionality of race and gender, and her piece Feminist Theory focuses on the belief that men need to be part of the feminist movement for any real progress to take place. Sound familiar? Emma Watson considers bell hooks to be one of her own #FemaleRoleModels, and they've recently interviewed each other to talk about the importance of literacy and self-love in women to the success of true gender equality.

Rosalind Franklin was a chemist and X-Ray crystallographer in England best known for her work that led to the discovery of the DNA double helix, and the molecular structure of viruses. Because she passed away at such a young age, 37, Rosalind was never recognized by the Nobel Prize committee for groundbreaking discoveries her work led to. But in her short life she showed us that women in science can make a huge difference. 

We admire Michelle Obama for going above and beyond her title as first lady of the United States. She has used her position and influence to back initiatives that support military families, promote the arts and arts education, and help working women find a balance between family and career. The Let Girls Learn initiative, a collaboration between Michelle Obama and the Peace Corps, focuses on expanding access to education for adolescent girls around the world. 

Entrepreneur and author Jacqueline Novogratz started her career as a credit analyst before deciding that her true calling in life included finding a way to make a difference in the world. She became a consultant for UNICEF in Rwanda, helping to found a number of institutions including Rwanda's first microfinance institution Duterimbere, The Philanthropy Workshop, and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation. Jacqueline is also the CEO of Acumen, a non-profit global venture capital fund focused on using entrepreneurial approaches to address global poverty.

Nancy Reagan, who began her career as an actress, was First Lady of the United States from 1981 - 1989. Nancy was known for her work against substance abuse, her bravery when faced with breast cancer and her work for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. She was named honorary president of The Girl Scouts during her time as the First Lady, will be remembered for her grace, poise and leadership.


Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook:

Community Discussion
Marina Nakano

How about Angela Merkel?

March 8, 2016

Sam Giannangeli

Great idea, Marina! We'd love it if you shared your role model on social media. Just tag us at @EllevateNtwk and use the hashtag #FemaleRoleModel!

March 8, 2016