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Category: women's history
  • Virginia Hall was one of the greatest spies of World War II but her incredible story is largely unknown today.

    The Nazis considered Virginia Hall the "most dangerous of all Allied spies," yet the story of the "Limping Lady" is largely unknown today. Hall spent nearly the entire war in France, first as a spy for Britain's newly formed Special Operations Executive (SOE) and later for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Special Operations Branch. Even her cumbersome wooden prosthetic leg, which she nicknamed Cuthbert, proved no obstacle to Hall's courage and determination to defeat the Nazis. While undercover in France, she proved exceptionally adept at eluding the Gestapo as she organized resistance groups, masterminded jailbreaks for captured agents, mapped drop zones, reported on German troop movements, set up safe houses, and rescued escaped POWs and downed Allied pilots. Even years after the war, however, she rarely talked about her extraordinary career; a reticence she likely developed during her years as a spy since, as she once observed, "Many of my friends were killed for talking too much." Continue reading Continue reading

  • 25 Books & Films About the Fight for Women's Suffrage in the United States

    For children today, it's hard to imagine a time when women couldn't vote; realizing that they've had that right for under 100 years is astounding. It's equally shocking when they learn that women had to fight for 72 years before the 19th Amendment — which stated that no citizen could be denied the right to vote on account of sex — became law. So it's imperative that we teach today's children about the struggle for women's suffrage, not just to honor the dedication and sacrifices of the women who led the Women's Suffrage Movement, but also to ensure that future generations don't take the right to vote for granted. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of the best new books for children and teens about incredible women from around the world.

    Gerda Lerner, the historian and scholar who pioneered the field of women's history, once said, "In my courses, the teachers told me about a world in which ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist." But increasingly, we are reclaiming history, telling the stories of the girls and women whose contributions to our shared story deserve to be celebrated! As parents and educators, it's also important that we tell these stories to all of our children, boys and girls alike, so that they live in a world where history has always been about the contributions of all of humanity. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Augusta Fells Savage became the first African American woman to open her own art gallery in America.

    Augusta Fells Savage with her 1938 sculpture "Realization"

    In 1939, a new art gallery opened in Harlem in New York City. It was called the Salon of Contemporary Negro Art, and it was the brainchild of Augusta Fells Savage, a talented sculptor who had faced obstacles due to her sex and race at every turn. Savage was the first African American woman to open her own art gallery in America, and she hoped her Salon would give black artists a place to exhibit their work, free from the prejudice that kept them — and her — out of the mainstream art world. "We do not ask any special favors as artists because of our race," she said to the 500 people who attended the gallery's opening. "We only want to present to you our works and ask you to judge them on their merits." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Katherine Johnson calculated -- by hand -- the flight trajectories for a number of historic missions, including the Apollo 11 flight to the Moon in 1969.

    When President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Katherine Johnson in 2015, few people had even heard her name — but today, thanks to the smash success of the book Hidden Figures and its movie adaptation, this groundbreaking mathematician has become an inspiration for girls everywhere! Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books about women in politics from the First Ladies to trailblazing female political leaders.

    Each year on the third Monday in February, the United States celebrates its many presidents and their legacies. At A Mighty Girl, we have a slightly different take on the holiday: we like to celebrate the role of women in politics! From the First Ladies — including Martha Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Michelle Obama — and the role that they have played in molding and supporting the office of the president, to the groundbreaking women who first stood in American elections, to the politicians who are shaping our world today, the story of women in American politics is constantly evolving. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of the best children's books about pioneering black women published over the past year!

    African-American women historically faced both gender and racial discrimination, and their stories are therefore often missing from mainstream histories — but today's children's authors are working to change that! Every year, we see more and more books celebrating inspiring black women pioneers in every field, many featuring little-known figures who have never had their own dedicated biographies before. Continue reading Continue reading

  • NASA astronaut Christina Koch spent 328 days in space, the longest spaceflight ever by a woman.

    NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned safety to Earth today after 328 days in space, setting a new record for the longest spaceflight by a woman! Koch's original flight was supposed to be only 6 months long, but NASA extended her stay on the International Space Station (ISS) – in part to collect more data about how human bodies function after long periods in space. "It is a wonderful thing for science," Koch said in an interview in December from the ISS. "We see another aspect of how the human body is affected by microgravity for the long term. That is really important for our future spaceflight plans, going forward to the moon and Mars.... Having the opportunity to be up here for so long is truly an honor." Continue reading Continue reading

  • "Agent Rose" rescued over 100 British and American pilots shot down during WWII.

    As Europe was consumed by war, a young woman running a beauty salon would become a major figure in the French Resistance of World War II. Andrée Peel, who was known as "Agent Rose," was one of the most highly decorated women to survive the war and helped save countless lives, including over 100 British and American pilots shot down over France. "At that time we were all putting our lives in danger but we did it because we were fighting for freedom," she later recalled. "It was a terrible time but looking back I am so proud of what I did and I'm glad to have helped defend the freedom of our future generations." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Our top picks of books about trailblazing African-American girls and women for Black History Month!

    During February's Black History Month, we recognize the many contributions that African-American people have made throughout history. Telling these often unsung stories provides a chance to help right the scales of history by bringing attention to people whose contributions have too often been ignored. It's especially important to focus on the history of African-American women, who historically faced both racial and gender discrimination, and whose stories are therefore even more hidden from many mainstream histories. Continue reading Continue reading

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