It’s the first day of Women’s History Month! While celebrating important women and their achievements shouldn’t be confined to just one month out of the year, we’ll take any excuse to highlight the people that opened doors, shattered ceilings and paved the way for us. There are so many extraordinary women in every field that deserve the spotlight this month. Below are just a few that I, along with the CAC team, wanted to celebrate. These women were pioneers, forward thinkers, rebels, and unabashedly themselves. I hope that they inspire you as much as they inspire us here at Carrie Ann Conversations.
– Love, Carrie Ann
1. Ruth Bader-Ginsburg
A lifelong trailblazer, Ruth Bader-Ginsburg attended Harvard law at a time when there were only 9 female students, studying law while raising her first child and taking care of her husband after his cancer diagnosis. From there she became the first woman on the Harvard Law Review before transferring to Columbia Law and graduating at the top of her class. For much of her life, RBG had to battle discrimination in school and in the workplace for being a woman. She spent her career fighting for equality, arguing landmark cases for women’s rights. She served as one of the most iconic Supreme Court Justices in history from 1993 until her death in 2020. Ruth Bader-Ginsburg will always stand as a symbol of hope and determination for women who want to see a more equitable world free of discrimination.
2. Cecily Tyson
A groundbreaking performer, Cecily Tyson’s acting career stretched over half a century, earning her several Emmys and a Tony award at age 88. After acting in 1972’s Sounder, a film that represented a loving Black family, Tyson made it her mission to find and embody roles that reflected her experience as an African American woman. Cecily Tyson passed away in January of this year but her commitment to her craft and her willingness to put her passion, convictions and talent into every one of her projects will always inspire us.
3. Frida Kahlo
Mexican surrealist Frida Kahlo is iconic for the way she was able to beautifully capture her experiences in her art. She used her talent to explore themes of identity, gender, and her ongoing experience with chronic pain. Using vibrant colors to paint powerful images of herself and the people in her life, she often mixed elements from reality with ones of fantasy and magic into enchanting works. Her talent and individuality has made her an icon for Chicano culture, feminism and the LGBTQ+ movement.
4. Yuri Kochiyama
Yuri Kochiyama’s life of civil rights activism was informed by her experiences in childhood; along with thousands of other Japanese Americans, Kochiyama and her family were forced to relocate to an internment camp after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After World War II, Kochiyama moved to New York City and started a family with her husband, becoming quickly invested in the local civil rights movement. She even formed a friendship with Malcolm X which only strengthened her commitment to the fight for racial equality. Yuri Kochiyama spent her whole life working to achieve justice and in the 1980s she and her husband successfully served in the movement to get President Reagan to sign the Civil Liberties Act which granted reparations and a formal apology to Japanese-American internees.
5. Hypatia of Alexandria
Born in the 4th century AD, Hypatia was a mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. She is the earliest female mathematician in the historic record and eventually became the head of Alexandria’s Platonist school. She was a driving force in the intellectual and philosophically rigorous culture in Alexandria, putting the city on par with great classical cities like Athens and Rome. Hypatia was a leader in each of her fields; she gave lectures on the works of Plato and Aristotle and some ancient texts even credit Hypatia with inventing the astrolabe. In a world where so many of the famous figures from early history are men, it’s so exciting to recount all the contributions that Hypatia made to society.
This list only barely scratches the surface of the contributions that so many incredible women have made to our culture and our society, often in spite of tremendous obstacles and discrimination. We hope that these stories inspire you to dig deeper this Women’s History Month and find other heroes to inspire, encourage, and remind you of the revolutionaries that each paved the way for a better world in their own fields.