Let’s hear it for girl power, ladies! March is Women’s History Month, and in honor of that, we want to celebrate seven women who have displayed true courage, character and commitment, making a significant difference with their contributions.
Be inspired as you read their stories and consider how you can make a difference in the lives of those around you.
Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 1881. During a time where very few women worked outside of the home, her mission of helping people in need throughout the U.S. and the world became a catalyst for jobs for women. Tens of thousands of lives were greatly impacted under her tenure. After her resignation in 1904 at the age of 84, the foundation continues to flourish and is the leader in disaster relief still today.
Jane Adams was a pioneer settlement social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women’s suffrage and world peace. In 1889, Addams and a friend co-founded Hull House in Chicago, Illinois, the first settlement house in the U.S. Their mission was to provide a center for a higher civic and social life, improving the conditions in densely populated industrial areas of the city. Up to 25 women lived there, offering education courses in English, citizenship, music and more, plus daycare and other immigrant services to help build a foundation for success in the US.
Jane was awarded worldwide recognition as a pioneer social worker in America, as a feminist, and as an internationalist, by receiving a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
Juliette Gordon Lowe, Philanthropist
Founder of the Girl Scouts of America
October 31., 1860 – January 17, 1927
Born into privilege, Juliette Gordon Lowe was always searching for a purpose. Inspired to begin the Girl Scouts after seeing a similar program in Europe, she set out to provide a foundation of education for women. She rounded up a group of girls from the poor to orphans, to those from affluent families, deliberately showcasing diversity as valuable. She taught life skills, ethics and morals, arts, and athletics, resulting in teamwork and leadership skills. Girl Scouts helps develop each member to reach their full potential.
Today, Girl Scouts is widely considered the largest educational organization for girls in the world.
Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Activist
Sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, resulting in segregation on public buses being declared unconstitutional
February 4, 1912 – October 24, 2005
Rosa Parks played an important part in raising international awareness of the plight of African Americans and the civil rights struggle in late 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a public bus after the white section was filled. While she was not the first person to resist bus segregation, the NAACP determined her to be the best candidate for seeing through a court trial. She became an international hero for civil rights. Over the years, she was awarded several medals and honors for her role in attainment of equal rights. Later in life, she rededicated her life to social justice, writing books, giving speeches, and creating a scholarship fund for black seniors heading to college who otherwise would not have the means.
Already a long-time activist, Kip founded Rosie’s Place in Boston in 1974, America’s first shelter for homeless women. She founded this shelter in an abandoned supermarket after discovering that homeless women disguised themselves as men in hopes of getting into male-only shelters. Women, who were most often homeless due to domestic abuse, making the need for a safe, secure, separate shelter a necessity. The shelter lives on today saving women from the streets, much larger in scale. They served 800,000 meals in 2013.
Dr. Myra Adele Logan was a pioneer of her time known for her humanitarianism. Born to two African American, college educated parents in 1908, she embraced education. She attending Atlanta University, then received a MA from Columbia, then her Doctorate from New York Medical College. In 1943, Myra became the first women to perform open heart surgery, on only the 9th operation if its kind in the world. In addition she worked on improving antibiotic drugs, and developed a more accurate x-ray that provides early detection of breast cancer. Her contributions in the medical field have saved countless lives.
Shannon Johntsone, Photographer
She may not have gone down in history yet, but we think she will. Photographer Shannon Johnstone has created Landfill Dogs for the purpose of fine art photographs, adoption promotions, and environmental advocacy. She takes beautiful photos of dogs as means to save their lives, then utilizes social media to help find them homes.
Currently working in Wake County, the Raleigh Durham area of North Carolina, her innovative look at pet adoption is likely to become the norm. One day, we will hear more about the incredible efforts of Shannon Johnstone to save lives and how she changed the way in which pets were adopted.