March is Women's History Month — and with all the hate and confusion going on in our society today, it's more important than ever to educate our children about the strong women throughout history who have helped make the world a better place.
Giving your kids a comprehensive lesson on all the fabulous, groundbreaking females who have ever existed would take years, but we've come up with a brief mini-history study so you have a place to start.
Tubman — who was born Araminta Harriet Ross in 1820 and died in 1913 — boasts a long list of world-changing headlines on her resume. She was born into slavery, but escaped in 1849 and went on to become a leading abolitionist. Tubman rescued countless others from slavery by operating the Underground Railroad, the secret passageway from the South into Pennsylvania in the North (which was a free state at the time). In addition to helping slaves, Tubman also dedicated her life to helping the poor and elderly, and established her own Home for the Aged, according to biography.com.
In 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the center of a new $20 bill.
Famous words: "I freed thousands of slaves, and could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves."
Stanton was born in 1815 in New York and died in 1902. She became one of the most prominent 19th century suffragists and civil rights activists and helped organize the first ever women's rights convention in 1848, according to history.com. She also worked alongside fellow famous suffragist Susan B. Anthony to form the National Women's Loyal League in 1863, and seven years later, they established the National Woman Suffrage Association.
Because of her liberal views about divorce and her dislike of organized religion, the American mainstream fought hard to silence Stanton — but she is a big reason why the 19th Amendment eventually passed in 1919, giving all citizens the right to vote.
Famous words: "I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives, but as nouns."
Madam C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in Louisiana in 1867 on a cotton plantation and died in 1919, according to biography.com. Walker is the O.G. of entrepreneurs — she invented a line of African-American hair care products in 1905, worked her butt off, and became the first self-made female millionaire in America.
Walker was also known for helping others, and donated the largest amount of money by an African-American toward the construction of an Indianapolis YMCA in 1913.
Her business is still up and running to this day.
Famous words: "There is no royal flower-strewn path to success... And if there is, I have not found it for if I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard."
Maria Mitchell was born in Massachusetts in 1818 and died in 1889. She was a librarian, naturalist and educator, but shot to fame as an astronomer after she discovered a comet — a discovery which made her America's first professional female astronomer, according to the Maria Mitchell Association.
But fame wasn't always rainbows and butterflies for Mitchell. Women in science and unmarried women suffered from extreme discrimination back in her day — and Mitchell was both.
Mitchell (who was white) was also an intersectional feminist, which was rare in her time. She fought for equality for women of all races, and even stopped wearing clothes made of cotton to protest slavery, according to the National Women's History Museum.
Famous words: "We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry."
Parks was born in Alabama in 1913 and died in 2005. She is most famous for refusing to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama during the height of racial segregation in our nation in 1955. Her refusal led to her arrest, bus boycotts, protests and, eventually, legal actions that declared segregation laws to be unconstitutional.
Parks' brave actions and the resulting bus boycotts in the name of Civil Rights for all, led to the rise of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — it was in the days after Parks' refusal to give up her seat that he was elected as the head of the newly-formed Montgomery Improvement Association.
But refusing to move to the back of the bus was only the beginning of Parks' civil rights career. She kept fighting until her death.
Famous words: "Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome."
When you think of the Space Race and astronauts in the 1960s, you think of men like Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom and John Glenn. But behind the scenes, Jackson, Johnson and Vaughan were integral in putting American astronauts on the moon. They worked at NASA, and were known as "human computers" who did the calculations for orbital trajectories — which is a hard job for anyone to get, but these three were women and black, making their rise to success in a white man's world in the '60s trailblazing.
Jackson, Johnson and Vaughan are just now finally getting the recognition they deserve because of the 2016 film Hidden Figures starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.
Famous words: "Know how to learn. Then, want to learn." - Katherine Johnson
Curie was born Marie Sklodowska in Poland in 1867 and lived until 1934, alongside her husband, Pierre Curie. She is another female scientist who worked hard to break through gender lines.
In 1903, Curie became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in physics. She also became the only woman to win the award in more than one category. She is, without a doubt, the most famous woman scientist in history, especially for her work with radioactive materials.
Famous words: "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
Over the past 50 years, Huerta has fought hard to improve social and economic conditions for farm workers. She created the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA) in 1960 and also co-founded what would become the United Farm Workers (UFW).
Huerta stepped down from the UFW in 1999, but she continues to lecture and speak out on social issues involving immigration, income inequality and the rights of women and Latinos. She is also constantly encouraging people to exercise their right to vote.
Famous words: "Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world."
Born in 1951 in Los Angeles, Dr. Ride was another woman who refused to be held down by gender barriers and shattered glass ceilings — almost quite literally.
Dr. Ride studied hard at Stanford University before beating out 1,000 other applicants for a spot in NASA's astronaut program, and in 1983, she became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. While aboard, Ride worked as a mission specialist and helped deploy satellites, according to biography.com.
After her time with NASA, Ride became the director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a professor of physics at the school in 1989. In 2001, she started Sally Ride Science, which created educational programs to help inspire girls and young women to pursue interests in science and math.
Dr. Ride died in 2012.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.
Originally published March 2013. Updated February 2017.
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