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Category: heroes
  • "If these children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in days of darkness?" -- Jane Haining

    When Jane Haining was given the opportunity to escape the Nazi invasion of Budapest, she refused to abandon the Jewish girls in her care, ultimately giving her life to protect her young charges. Haining, who worked as a matron at a school run by the Church of Scotland, also helped many Jewish Hungarians and refugees emigrate to Britain during the war. She remains one of few Scottish people honored as one of the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem for her aid to Jewish people during the Holocaust, and is believed to be the only Scottish person to die in one of the Nazis' concentration camps. This year, Hungary dedicated its annual torchlight March of the Living — held on April 14 as a tribute to the estimated 565,000 Hungarian Jews killed during the Holocaust — to Haining's memory, honoring her for her devotion to the girls she sought to protect. "If these children need me in days of sunshine," she wrote in 1944, "how much more do they need me in days of darkness?" Continue reading Continue reading

  • Corrie ten Boom and her family helped 800 people fleeing the Nazis by hiding them in their home.

    In the midst of the Nazi occupation of Holland, an unassuming woman — the country's first female watchmaker — had a secret: a hidden room where Jewish refugees could stay as they fled the dangerous regime. Corrie ten Boom and her family worked with the Dutch Resistance, and their home became known as "De Schuilplaats" or "The Hiding Place," where hundreds of people found shelter in 1943 and 1944. Today, it's estimated that ten Boom, her family, and other members of the 'BeJe group' saved the lives of 800 Jews and other refugees. Ten Boom's father and sister both died while imprisoned by the Nazis, but despite it all, she never regretted what her family had done: "The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration," she asserted, "but its donation." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dorothy Height was the "the only woman at the highest level of the Civil Rights Movement," though her contributions are largely unknown today.

    When Dorothy Height showed up at Barnard College in 1929 with her admission letter in hand, she was told by a college dean that they had already reached their quota of "two Negro students per year." Height, who had just graduated with honors from an integrated high school in Rankin, Pennsylvania, says that she was crushed, recalling, “I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep for days." Unwilling to defer her dreams, she visited New York University with her Barnard acceptance letter and they admitted her on the spot. It was this determination that would drive Height through the following decades as she became, as President Barack Obama observed, "the only woman at the highest level of the Civil Rights Movement — witnessing every march and milestone along the way." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Irena Sendler led a secret operation to successfully smuggle Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, saving them from almost certain death

    One of the great heroes of WWII led a secret operation to successfully smuggle 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, saving them from almost certain death — yet until recently, few people had heard Irena Sendler's incredible story. This Polish Catholic nurse and social worker defied the Nazis at great personal risk, and nearly paid the ultimate price for her courageous actions. And even when she was tortured by the Gestapo, she never told them the names or locations of the children she had rescued. Her story is one of tremendous moral fortitude and the determination to fight evil, no matter the cost. Continue reading Continue reading

  • British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst being arrested by police outside Buckingham Palace in 1914 British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst being arrested by police outside Buckingham Palace in 1914

    By Jennifer de Beer, A Mighty Girl Senior Research Intern

    Do you know the name of the Polish social worker who rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII? How about the name of America’s first female self-made millionaire? Can you name a British suffrage movement leader who Time Magazine declared to be one of the most important people of the 20th century? Or the name of a real-life woman pirate?

    While we always delight in hearing about the achievements of women in history, there are some names that get much more attention than others. Children and adults of today are likely to be very familiar with the experiences of Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, and Helen Keller -- and rightly so. However, there are many other talented, courageous, and remarkable women who also deserve to have their stories told, but whose names are far less familiar.

    We have gathered together a list of ten of these women, whom you may not recognize, but whose journeys are more than worthy of your attention. Sometimes these women have been relegated to the footnotes of history books, their experiences almost entirely glossed over. Yet, each woman made significant contributions or noteworthy strides in her lifetime.

    In addition to the descriptions listed below, you will find their stories within our collection of over 400 biographies of remarkable girls and women. We also share many stories of Mighty Girl heroes of yesteryear and today on our Facebook page.

    Continue reading Continue reading

  • By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    Happy International Women’s Day! On March 8, we celebrate the achievements of women around the world. Last year, A Mighty Girl marked International Women’s Day by highlighting several Mighty Girl Heroes — inspirational female role models ranging from Wangari Maathai to Shirin Ebadi who have each done remarkable things.

    Of course, there are also many Mighty Girls around the world who are already making a tremendous impact! While these young women may not be household names, each of them is striving to change the world — starting with their own part of it. So this International Women’s Day, we’re sharing the stories of ten Mighty Girls who are making their own marks. After all, there’s nothing more inspiring than knowing that anyone, of any age, can start making the world a better place today each in her own way.

    Kayla Wheeler, USA, 17 - The Athlete & Paralympian

    Kayla Wheeler Kayla Wheeler (Photo: altso.org)

    Kayla never let her lack of three limbs slow her down — even if she is, in her own words, “basically the most disabled you can be and still swim.” In fact, this amazing young woman not only swims, she also skis, plays baseball, and competes on her school’s rocketry and robotics teams.

    In December 2013, Kayla set a new world record in the 50-meter butterfly at the Can-Am Para-Swimming Championships! Although Kayla qualified for the 2012 Paralympics in London, there weren’t enough qualified swimmers in her category for the event to run, but she’s hopeful about being able to compete in 2016.

    After all, she says, “My parents have always taught me that I can do anything that I put my mind to. So I just put my mind to it.”

    Kayla is also currently running an online fundraiser to support her swim team for people with disabilities, the Shadow Seals Disabled Swim Team -- to help support the effort, visit her Indiegogo page.

    You can read more about Kayla and her multiple awards in this article from Heraldnet. Continue reading Continue reading

  • ?????By Lili Sandler, A Mighty Girl Senior Research Intern

    Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd in almost 200 countries all over the world as a day to support and protect the Earth. Many communities have volunteer opportunities during the entire week -- often referred to as Earth Week -- so that individuals can take part in environmental activities to help care for the Earth.

    At A Mighty Girl, our Earth Week focus is on the Mighty Girls and women of the environmental movement. How have girls and women contributed to our global understanding of ecology, recycling, alternative energies, and many other environmental issues? More ways than you can count!

    Below you’ll find many of our favorite books and films about real-life environmentalists to share with the eco-kids in your life! And, if you missed the first two blogs in our Earth Day series, you can learn more great fictional stories about the environment starring Mighty Girl in our post on Ten Mighty Girl Books to Inspire Young Environmentalists and about toys to teach children about the environment in our post on post on Eco-Toys, Games, and Gear for Green Girls. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Aung-San-Syu-Kyi-447x580[1] Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition politican. Photo credit: Htoo Tay Zar
    By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Senior Research Intern

    Happy International Women’s Day! Today countries around the world celebrate the contributions of women past and present. A Mighty Girl has chosen to mark the day with this blog post featuring eight amazing women from around the world. Some of them will be familiar, but some of them will be new to you; all of them have left their mark on the world.

    We have included reading recommendations for children and youth about each of the featured women. To view our complete selection of over 350 inspiring biographies of remarkable girls and women, visit our biographies collection.

    Alia Muhammad Baker (b. 1953)

    Baker was the chief librarian of Al Basrah Central Library in 2003 when the war in Iraq began. When she was denied permission to move the books, even after government offices moved into the library, she started smuggling books home; and when the officials fled the British advance and looters started to enter the library, she convinced the owner of the restaurant next door to allow her -- and eventually neighbors who joined her mission -- to store books safely in the dining room. Thanks to her efforts, 30,000 books were saved and became the core of a rebuilt library in 2004.

    You can read more about Baker in The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq (ages 5 to 9) or in Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq (ages 8 to 12). Continue reading Continue reading

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    By Jennifer de Beer, A Mighty Girl Senior Research Intern

    Around the world, Women’s History Month is a time to recognize the achievements of women over the course of history. In the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, the celebration occurs in March, to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8. In Canada, it corresponds with Persons Day on October 18.

    Here at A Mighty Girl, we take pride in highlighting women, girls, and their remarkable accomplishments year-round and feature over 350 youth-oriented biographies of girls and women on our site. This month’s special focus, however, provides us with an opportunity to share their stories with gusto and Mighty Girl flair.

    In that spirit, we are pleased to announce "Mighty Girl Heroes: Inspiring the Next Generation of History Makers" -- our month-long campaign to showcase the stories of female trailblazers from around the world and to provide you with resources to share this important history with the children and young people in your lives.

    Children, girls and boys both, need to grow up with an intrinsic understanding of what is possible for women. They need to see examples, in real life as well as in their history books, of positive role models demonstrating a wide variety of skills and abilities. Continue reading Continue reading

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