11 Young Women Who Are About to Make History
From Reader’s Digest – rd.com
The world needs help. Climate change, war, poverty, inequality, and more threaten our futures. Fortunately, these young women aren’t sitting idly by. They are standing up, speaking out, organizing and fighting to provide us with a better tomorrow.
To read their complete stories – click here.
Greta Thunberg needs no introduction— after all, she’s practically a household name. You can help Thunberg by making these tiny changes to help the environment.
Greta Thunberg – cliimate crisis
Who could forget high school senior Emma Gonzalez’s impassioned speech advocating for gun control just days after surviving a shooting that killed 17 people and injured another 17 at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Florida in 2018? She went on to cofound the group, Never Again.
At 17, Amika George learned that about 10% of girls in the UK were forced to skip school regularly as they couldn’t afford period products. George founded Free Periods to advocate for free menstrual products in all U.K. schools. She also works to remove the stigma behind periods, arguing that boys should be educated about periods, too. You can help by donating to Free Periods.
By the time Afghan rapper Sonita Alizadeh was 16, she’d narrowly avoided being sold into marriage by her family twice; the first time she was only 10. To protest this treatment, Alizadeh composed a song, “Brides For Sale” and made a video that she loaded onto Youtube. The video went viral, prompting an international conversation and empowering girls to speak out about their own experiences.
When she was 10, Marley Dias realized there was a problem with her education. Teachers assigned the students the same book over and over: a book about, “a white boy and his dogs,” prompting Dias to wonder where all the books featuring black girls were. She collected 1,000 books starring black girls to send to the school her mother had attended as a girl in Jamaica. You can support her efforts by purchasing her book, Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You.
As a 5 yr old, Sophie Cruz stepped on the world stage by breaking through security at
a parade in Washington, D.C. to hand a letter to Pope Francis. Cruz, a U.S. citizen, expressed her fear that her parents, undocumented immigrants from Mexico would be deported. Now 10 yrs old, Cruz continues to speak out on behalf of undocumented families.
Jazz Jennings is a 19-year-old transgender advocate who uses modern platforms to spread a message of inclusion and equality. She first drew national attention after being interviewed by Barbara Walters when she was 11 years old.
At 22 years old, Malala Yousafzai, some- times referred to simply as Malala, is one of the best-known advocates for female education in the world. She was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, the youngest Nobel laureate in the history of the award.
At 7 yrs old, Grace Callwood was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The experience left her determined to make the world a better place. In 2012, she started The We Cancerve Movement, dedicated to helping children experiencing homelessness, illness, or living in foster care. Today she is 15 and has helped children all over the world. Visit the We Cancerve website!
Khloe Thompson, as a 9 yr old girl, walked by homeless people on her way to school. Concerned about them, she was determined to help. Thompson started “Khole Kares”, distributing hand made “Kare bags” with 3 months worth of socks, toiletries, and menstrual products. Today, Thompson is 13 and her organization is going strong. Visit KhloeKares.
7 yr old Bana al-Abed held the world in thrall when she tweeted about her family’s struggle to stay alive during wartime in Aleppo, Syria. Her family fled to Turkey. She published “Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace” and began speaking out about peace and the importance of childhood education, particularly those in war torn countries. Today, al-Abed is ten years old, you can help amplify her voice by buying her book.
US Women’s History in October
- October 3, 1904 – Mary McLeod Bethune opens her first school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida
- October 4, 1993 – Ruth Bader Ginsburg joins the U.S. Supreme Court as its second woman Justice.
- October 4, 1976 – Barbara Walters becomes the first woman co-anchor of the evening news (at ABC)
- October 8, 1993 – Toni Morrison becomes the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature
- October 10, 1983 – Dr. Barbara McClintock receives the Nobel Prize for Medicine for her discovery in genetics about mobile genetic elements
- October 11, 1984 – Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan is the first U.S. woman astronaut to “walk” in space during Challenger flight
- October 15, 1948 – Dr. Frances L. Willoughby is the first woman doctor in the regular U.S. Navy
- October 16, 1916 – Margaret Sanger opens the U.S.’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York
- October 23, 1910 – Blanche Stuart Scott is the first American woman pilot to make a public flight
- October 24, 1956 – Reverend Margaret Towner is the first woman ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church
- October 28, 1958 – Mary Roebling is the first woman director of a stock exchange (American Stock Exchange)
How Women Invented Book Clubs
Condensed from The Washington Post 3/27/21 article by Jess McHugh
American women had been getting together to study the Bible since the 17th century, but it wasn’t until the late 18th century that secular reading circles emerged, around the same time as their European counterparts. Reading circles, a precursor to book clubs, ranged widely in what they read, from belles lettres to science.
An avowed interest in expanding women’s freedoms was often a driving force behind these groups. Hannah Mather Crocker, who founded a reading circle in 18th century Boston, was an advocate for women’s participation in freemasonry and would go on to write the foundational treatise “Observations on the Real Rights of Women.”
Journalist Margaret Fuller, the first American female war correspondent, a magazine editor and an all- around feminist renegade, held one session of what she called her “conversations” in 1839. Her conversations, much like many literary circles, were a way for women to pursue truth, knowledge and an understanding of themselves and the world around them.
Reading circles crossed racial and class lines, too. In 1827, Black women in Lynn, Mass., formed one of the first reading groups for Black women, the Society of Young Ladies. Black women in other cities on the East Coast would soon follow suit.
The first half of the 20th century was the heyday of the Book of the Month Club and the Great Books movement, both of which encouraged average Americans to take on hefty literary novels. As women continued to be barred from many top universities, the craving for a space to explore big ideas through books never went away.
After women began being accepted to institutions of higher education en masse in the 1960s, the role of these groups flipped: Where women once joined book clubs to make up for the education they were denied, now they joined to extend the pleasures they enjoyed at college.
Once on the fringes, women are now one of the most important driving forces in the book world. They continue to amount for a staggering 80 percent of all fiction sales. One commentator went so far as to write: “Without women the novel would die.”
Oprah Winfrey’s launch of her book club in 1996 was a turning point in the history of book clubs. In the first three years, each book Oprah chose averaged sales of 1.4 million copies.
Christy Craig, PhD, is a sociologist who examined the subversive possibilities of women’s book clubs. From 2013 to 2015, she conducted research on book clubs in the United States and Ireland, interviewing 53 women ages 19 to 80. “Women turned to book club store ally construct important social networks, and that proved incredibly valuable,” she said. “Through these book clubs women found important partnerships to support themselves through things like chemotherapy.”
That has proved true during the pandemic, as book clubs meet online, and some have seen increased attendance. Readers seek out a particular intimacy that can be bridged through books. They find “real society,” as Margaret Fuller once wrote. In an uncertain world, book clubs can still serve as a place built on “patience, mutual reverence, and fearlessness”.