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Category: Mighty Girls & Women
  • Dr. Sherri Mason's groundbreaking research discovered the widespread prevalence of microplastics in the environment.

    Dr. Sherri Mason, whose research alerted the world to the widespread prevalence of microplastics, has been awarded a 2018 Heinz Award for Public Policy for her groundbreaking work to address this growing health and environment problem. Mason was the first scientist to research and identify microplastics pollution in the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system in the world. Her research brought international attention to the threats posed by microplastics, leading to state and federal bans on microbeads, tiny bits of plastic used in exfoliating scrubs and washes that Mason discovered were accumulating in the environment and the food chain. "Sherri’s research has made the issue of plastic pollution real and present for everyone," said Teresa Heinz, Chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation. "Her ongoing work can be an important key to ending the steady accumulation of plastics in our environment." Continue reading Continue reading

  • The best books for kids, teens, and adults about women who dared to fly!

    From the earliest days of aviation, women have played a role — but few people know the stories of the daring women who opened the throttles, pulled back on the stick, and soared into history! Even when a name like Amelia Earhart or Bessie Coleman comes to mind, many kids don't know exactly how they made history, and few of them have heard of other groundbreaking women like Sophie Blanchard or Jerrie Mock. So it's time to celebrate these women who founds ways to take flight, even when the world told them they were reaching too high.

    In this blog post, we've featured our favorite books for all ages about trailblazing female pilots throughout history. Whether they were on the cutting edge of the development of flight, breaking records and testing the limits of what newer and better airplanes could do, or thrilling crowds with their daredevil maneuvers, these airwomen were bold and daring. And, for the Mighty Girls that read them, these books might just be the inspiration for their dreams of a life in the clouds! Continue reading Continue reading

  • Pioneering mathematician Ada Lovelace is now the subject of a variety of books for all ages!

    English mathematician Ada Lovelace is widely considered the world's first computer programmer for her invention of the computer algorithm. Born in 1815 to the poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Byron, Lovelace's mathematical talents led to an ongoing collaboration with mathematician Charles Babbage, who called Lovelace the "Enchantress of Numbers." While translating an article by an Italian engineer on Babbage's Analytical Engine, a proposed early version of a mechanical general-purpose computer, Ada added her own extensive set of notes, three times as long as the original article, which contained a tremendous breakthrough — the first computer program or algorithm!

    Ada Lovelace's important contributions to the development of computers were nearly lost to history, but fortunately her story is becoming more widely known today. She is now the subject of a variety of books for readers of all ages and, in this blog post, we've showcased these titles along with toys and posters paying tribute to the mathematical genius who envisioned today's computer age. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Nadia Murad has become a global champion for girls and women.

    Nadia Murad, the courageous Yazidi woman who escaped sexual enslavement by ISIS and went on to become a global champion for girls and women affected by violence, has just been awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize! Murad was only 21 when her village was attacked by ISIS fighters in 2014 and she was forced into slavery. She spent months suffering rape, abuse, and violence before successfully escaping. Since that time, she has devoted herself to speaking on behalf of the Yazidi women still in captivity, as well as other girls and women who are victims of violence worldwide. "All those who commit the crimes of human trafficking and genocide must be brought to justice so that women and children can live in peace," asserts the 25-year-old activist. "These crimes against women and their freedom must be brought to an end today." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Frances Arnold, who pioneered the field of "directed evolution," became the fifth woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    Dr. Frances Arnold has just won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering the field of "directed evolution"  —  becoming the first American woman in history and the fifth woman overall to be honored.  The method she developed of engineering enzymes that mimic the process of natural selection has created a revolutionary new way for scientists and engineers to design more environmentally-friendly industrial processes. It's now being used in laboratories around the world to develop enzymes that can replace toxic compounds in everything from medicines to biofuels to laundry detergents. “My entire career I have been concerned about the damage we are doing to the planet and each other,” she says. “Change is easier when there are good, economically viable alternatives to harmful habits.” Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Donna Strickland is only the third woman in history to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

    Physicist Donna Strickland has just won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for her groundbreaking work studying light and lasers — becoming the third woman in 117 years to win the prestigious award. The 59-year-old associate professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Waterloo was a graduate student working on her doctoral dissertation when she and her supervisor invented chirped pulse amplification, a method that creates ultrashort, high-intensity bursts of laser light without destroying amplifiers. The technique is most famous for its use in the development of Lasik eye surgery, but it also allows manufacturers to drill tiny, precise holes and makes it possible to miniaturize laser systems. Strickland, who describes herself as a "laser jock," says that becoming the third woman ever to win a Nobel Prize in Physics is "surreal," adding, "It’s hard for me to take it in right now. But I’m trying to enjoy it." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl tribute to Judy Blume in honor of Banned Books Week.

    judy-blume1For decades, Mighty Girls have devoured the works of Judy Blume, from Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret to Forever... to Just As Long As We’re Together. Her characters are compelling to readers because they face real issues — issues like puberty, struggles with friends, sexuality, divorce, and bullying. There’s even a book, Everything I Needed To Know About Being A Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, which features a collection of essays by twenty-four notable women authors about the impact Judy Blume’s novels have had on their lives and writing.

    But what many Mighty Girl readers may not know is that the very topics that made Blume’s work speak so powerfully to them also made them the subject of frequent challenges and bans. Blume has the dubious distinction of being one of the most banned writers in America. In fact, challenges and bans to her books still happen frequently; as a result, in some towns, it is actually harder for kids to get access to her books now than when they were written.

    In the process of defending her books, Blume has emerged as a determined defender of authors’ rights to address controversial issues, even in children’s and young adult literature — and of children's rights to read them. In honor of Banned Books Week, which runs from September 23 to 29, A Mighty Girl is proud to present this tribute to Blume’s efforts to ensure that authors, both present and future, don’t have to face censorship as they write for children. Continue reading Continue reading

  • For the first time in history, a woman will serve as NASA's chief flight director.

    NASA took another giant step for equality this week when it named Holly Ridings as its first female chief flight director! Ridings, who is originally from Amarillo, Texas, will lead the flight directors that oversee human spaceflight missions from Mission Control in Houston's Johnson Space Center.  "Holly has proven herself a leader among a group of highly talented flight directors,” says Director of Flight Operations Brian Kelly. "I know she will excel in this unique and critical leadership position providing direction for the safety and success of human spaceflight missions. She will lead the team during exciting times as they adapt to support future missions with commercial partners and beyond low-Earth orbit." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books for children and teens about real-life girls and women who fought for a more just, equal, and peaceful world.

    When people think about what it means to love their country, some assume patriotism requires unwavering support, and that questioning or disagreeing with their government's choices is unpatriotic, disruptive, and even dangerous. But the truth is that dissent makes countries stronger: when citizens demand the best from their leaders and their countries — justice, accountability in government, and equal rights for all — everyone benefits. In fact, throughout history, progress for every country has come from people's willingness to stand up for what they believe in and insist on being heard, even if their beliefs counter those of the people in power. In other words, dissent isn't distracting or divisive: it's patriotic!

    To explore this topic with children and teens, we've showcased 40 of our favorite books about girls and women who resisted —  who dared to stand up against the laws and social norms of their day to fight for societies that were more just, tolerant, and equal. These people, from all walks of life, fought hard for causes they believed in, including women's suffrage, labor rights, civil rights, environmental protection, and more. They argued, they disagreed, and they protested — and today, we hail them as heroes whose courage and determination led to positive change and helped create a better future for everyone. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Our top picks of books for children and teens about the girls and women who fought for workers' rights.

    For many children today, Labor Day is just a holiday marking the end of the summer; what they often don't know is that this special day commemorates the history of the struggle for workers' rights — one in which girls and women played important and too often forgotten roles. Held on the first Monday in September in the U.S. and Canada, Labor Day celebrates the contributions of workers and remembers the hardships they endured in their fight for justice.

    To introduce children and youth to the struggles and achievements of working girls and women, the fiction and non-fiction books recommended in this post will open their eyes to the tremendous efforts and sacrifices made by those in the early days of the labor movement who won workers the right to fair wages and safe working conditions. These stories will also give young readers a greater understanding of struggles that continue today, especially in countries where the fight continues for even the most basic worker rights.

    This post features twenty of our favorite books, from picture books to young adult novels to adult historical fiction, focused on the involvement of girls and women in labor movement struggles. For more books about labor issues, visit our collection of books about Work & Labor in our Social Issues book section. Continue reading Continue reading

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