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  • At 8 years old, Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins joined the "Capitol Crawl" with other disability rights activists demanding passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    On March 12, 1990, over 1,000 disability rights activists marched from the White House to the U.S. Capitol to demand the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which had been stalled in Congress. To illustrate the barriers that many people with disabilities faced every day, over 60 activists cast aside their wheelchairs and crutches and began crawling up the 83 stone steps that lead to the Capitol building — among them was Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, an 8-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who declared "I’ll take all night if I have to" as she pulled herself up the steps. In honor of the anniversary of the historic "Capitol Crawl" — which helped drive the successful passage of the ADA, the world's first comprehensive civil rights law protecting the rights people with disabilities — we're sharing the story of this determined young activist whose actions helped transform the lives of people with disabilities across the nation. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Frances Kelsey resisted intense industry pressure to approve thalidomide; the drug was the cause of severe birth defects in over 10,000 infants in other countries.

    When pharmacologist Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey started working at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960, one of the first files to cross her desk was an approval request for thalidomide. The drug had already been prescribed widely in Europe and other countries as a treatment for morning sickness in pregnant women, but Kelsey wasn't convinced it was safe. Her refusal to approve the drug, despite intense pressure from its manufacturer, likely saved tens of thousands of babies in America from devastating birth defects. "Representatives for the company thought I was crazy because it was such a popular drug in Europe, and they were losing money by my pigheadedness," asserted Kelsey in a later interview. "I held my ground. I just wouldn't approve it." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Girls' self-confidence often takes a big hit at puberty but these skills can help keep her confidence strong during the teen years.

    “A pre-teen girl is at a unique moment in her life. The spark that is her potential grows more intense, yet she'll have to fight against gender norms that threaten to diminish it," observes writer Rebecca Ruiz. "There are countless ways she'll feel pressured to hide or change her authentic self.” Rachel Simmons, an expert on girls' development and author of the parenting book, Enough As She Is, agrees: "Girls are at their fiercest and most authentic prior to puberty." While research has confirmed that girls' self-confidence often drops after puberty, Simmons asserts that there are many ways parents can help girls keep their confidence strong during the teen years. To that end, she recommends "seven skills to consider teaching your daughter by the time she turns 13" that will help your Mighty Girl feel prepared for the challenges ahead. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's favorite picture books about Mighty Girls starting preschool, kindergarten, and first grade.

    The first day of school is exciting, but it's also a little nerve wracking, even for the bravest of Mighty Girls! For kids starting preschool or kindergarten, the big questions are likely to be about what school is like, how they'll manage missing Mom and Dad, and whether they'll make friends. Children moving up to first grade may also wonder if they're up for the increased expectations and bigger challenges that come with no longer being brand new to school.

    Fortunately, there are some great picture books out there to help reassure kids that they can handle whatever comes their way at school. These books provide helpful tips in age appropriate ways — and equally importantly, get kids giggling about how the Mighty Girls in the stories get through their own first days at school. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's favorite back-to-school books for young children!

    It can be easy for adults to forget that, for kids, school is an adventure: sometimes exhilarating, sometimes nerve-wracking, and always full of new experiences! Each year at school, kids face new challenges like building relationships with peers, meeting new expectations from teachers, and discovering their own talents and gifts. And, like any time you start an adventure, it helps to be prepared — with a few good books to reassure Mighty Girls that they're ready to take on whatever comes their way!

    Whether your Mighty Girl is starting school for the first time, moving to a new school, or just anticipating the start of a new year, these books will help her feel prepared. By answering some of her questions about what it will be like — and reassuring her that there are wonderful things to learn and do there — you can help your Mighty Girl get excited about her first day. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Among hundreds of men, trailblazing NASA Engineer JoAnn Morgan was the sole woman present in the locked control room.

    A famous photo shows the control room at Kennedy Space Center on the day of the historic Apollo 11 launch packed with hundreds of men in white shirts and skinny black ties — and, among them, a single woman sits at a console. As Apollo 11 began its flight to the moon on July 16, 1969, 28-year-old instrumentation controller JoAnn Hardin Morgan became the first woman ever permitted in the launch firing room, which is locked down in advance of a space flight. Morgan, who was the first female engineer at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, would go on to have a 40-year-long career at NASA. While she encountered challenges along the way, including being "the only woman there for a long time" and spending the first 15 years working "in a building were there wasn't a ladies rest room," Morgan says that "I had such a passion that overrode anything else, the lonely moments, the little bits of negative. They were like a mosquito bite. You just swat it and push on." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of guides for girls in middle & high school -- and their parents!

    Parents of younger Mighty Girls looking for books about school can find recommendations in our first post in the series: Back-to-School Books About Mighty Girls’ Adventures at Elementary School.

    Tweens and teens have a lot on their plates: more academic material to learn, increasingly complicated social relationships, busy extracurriculars, and more. On top of that, they have to adjust to their increasing independence and even start thinking about the career direction they'd like to take. Put it all together and it’s no wonder that tweens and teens report being stressed out by school!

    Fortunately, there are some great books out there to help tweens, teens, and their parents to work through these stresses and make their middle school, high school, or college experience positive and empowering. In this blog post, we're showcasing our favorite guides for tween and teen Mighty Girls, tackling everything from standing up against bullying to building confidence to learning important skills like perseverance and self-direction. We even include some great resources to help your Mighty Girl learn about a wide variety of fascinating careers — maybe one will be the job of her dreams! And for parents, we include a selection of books to help you understand how your relationship dynamic will likely change as she goes from a girl to a grown woman, as well as what she's going through behind her school and bedroom doors.

    These years may be a tumultuous time, but they're also an exciting one! We're hoping that these resources will help you and your girls get the most out of the tween and teen years.
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  • Pioneering neuroscientist Brenda Milner, one of the founders of cognitive neuroscience, says that at 104, she's "still nosy."

    If you go to the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, you might catch a glimpse of 104-year-old Dr. Brenda Milner — a pioneering neuroscientist who's still breaking new ground in her 70-year long career as a brain researcher! The eminent British-born scientist revolutionized brain science as a newly minted PhD in the 1950s. Today, she is best known for discovering where memory formation occurs in the brain and is widely recognized as one of the founders of cognitive neuroscience. Her research to better understand the inner workings of the human brain continues today, although she says that people often think she must be emerita because of her advanced age. "Well, not at all," she asserts. "I’m still nosy, you know, curious.” Continue reading Continue reading

  • Four downloadable posters celebrating trailblazing women perfect for displaying in classrooms and kids' rooms!

    As an artist and activist committed to the empowerment of girls and women, Kimothy Joy found herself pouring through biographies of mighty women following the 2016 election. Hoping to learn from their experiences persisting in the face of daunting circumstances, Kimothy turned to art and created a series of watercolor portraits bringing these incredible women to life. She collected 50 of these bold portraits in her book, That's What She Said: Wise Words from Influential Women, each one paired with an inspirational hand-lettered quote and a short biography that captures how that woman changed the world. At the book's end, there's also a space to add a tribute and short profile about an influential woman in your own life, making it an empowering gift for a special girl or woman. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Meet 16 Trailblazing Female Scientists Who Dared to Discover!

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    For centuries, women have made important contributions to the sciences, but in many cases, it took far too long for their discoveries to be recognized — if they were acknowledged at all. And too often, books and academic courses that explore the history of science neglect the remarkable, groundbreaking women who changed the world. In fact, it's a rare person, child or adult, who can name more than two or three female scientists from history — and, even in those instances, the same few names are usually mentioned time and again. Continue reading Continue reading

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