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Category: women's history
  • Before Sara Josephine Baker took charge, a third of children died before their 5th birthdays.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, the pioneering physician Sara Josephine Baker revolutionized public health care for children in New York City. When Baker started her public health work, the impoverished slums of Hell's Kitchen on the city's Lower East Side were among the most densely populated places on Earth, and epidemics killed an estimated 4,500 people each week in the overcrowded immigrant tenements, including 1,500 babies. With a third of children born there dying before their fifth birthday, Baker famously remarked that "It is six times safer to be a soldier in the trenches than a baby in the United States." Thanks to her initiatives, the death rate plummeted, and Baker became famous as doctor who had saved 90,000 children in New York City and countless others as her reforms were replicated across the United States and in other countries. Continue reading Continue reading

  • From soldiers to spies to peacemakers, these remarkable women made tremendous contributions during "The Great War."

    This year marks a solemn anniversary: 100 years since the armistice agreement was signed that ended World War I. For people around the world, it is an opportunity to remember the nine million soldiers and the seven million civilians who died during the Great War which was deemed, at the time, the "war to end all wars."

    When stories are told of wartime heroism, most focus on the brave men who fought in the trenches along the front lines, but heroes played many roles during that long and devastating war. Since women were not usually allowed in military service at the time, their important contributions to the war effort have too often been neglected in history books. To remedy this, in this blog post, we're introducing nine remarkable women who deserve broader recognition for their efforts ranging from smuggling wounded soldiers to safety, spying for the Allies, establishing hospitals, and negotiating for peace. May their heroic work be remembered, and serve as a reminder of the horrors of war and the necessity of ensuring that a world-wide conflict never occurs again. Continue reading Continue reading

  • The Trailblazing Mathematician Celebrated Her 100th Birthday This Week


    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!

    Johnson was one of NASA's "human computers," a group of female mathematicians who calculated critical equations for rocket design, launch trajectories, and more. During her 35-year career at NASA, during which she was forced to overcome both gender and racial barriers, Johnson's skills in celestial navigation were renowned. She calculated — by hand — the flight trajectories for a number of historic missions, including the Alan Shepard's space voyage aboard Freedom 7 in 1961 and the Apollo 11 flight to the Moon in 1969. Now, this inspiring woman's contributions to the history of crewed space flight is finally being celebrated by the nation and the world.

    In honor of Katherine Johnson's 100th birthday, we've showcased a variety of books for all ages about the life and work of this trailblazing mathematician. These books capture Johnson's incredible determination, intelligence, and drive, and provide a stellar example for the next generation of pioneers! Continue reading Continue reading

  • The Apollo 11 moon landing nearly ended in failure -- until Margaret Hamilton's flight software saved the day.

    In this iconic photograph, pioneering computer scientist Margaret Hamilton stands next to the computer code that she and her team wrote to guide the Apollo spacecraft to the moon! Hamilton was the lead software designer for NASA’s Apollo program, and her forward thinking saved the 1969 Apollo 11 mission when the flight software she designed prevented a last-minute abort of the famous landing which brought the first humans to the Moon. Over the course of her career, Hamilton developed the concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling, and Human-in-the-loop decision capability, which became the foundation of modern software design. She also fought for programming to be given the respect it deserved, coining the term "software engineering" ; after all, as her work showed, software could make the difference between failure and a groundbreaking success. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Stephanie Kwolek's invention of Kevlar has saved countless lives over the past 40 years.

    Stephanie Kwolek's invention of Kevlar has saved countless lives over the past 40 years. Kevlar is a fiber five times stronger than steel that is now used in numerous products ranging from boots for firefighters to spacecraft — and most famously, in bulletproof vests. It's estimated that since Kevlar's introduction to body armor in the 1970s, the lives of over 3,000 police officers have been saved, as well as those of innumerable soldiers and others in conflict zones. On the day that the pioneering chemist passed away in June 2014 at the age of 90, DuPont announced that the one-millionth protective vest made using Kwolek's lifesaving invention was sold. 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 less than 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.

    In this blog post, we're highlighting books and films about women's suffrage in the United States: the history of the movement, the women who led it forward, and the tremendous challenges that they faced in their quest to ensure that women's voices could be heard at the ballot. These stories will both educate kids about a critical moment in women's history and inspire them to see the power of determined activists and political leaders to make big changes in the world.

    For more books about suffrage in both the US and around the world, visit the Suffrage section of our Women's History Collection. For books about the voting rights struggles which continued during the Civil Rights Movement, visit our special feature on the Top Mighty Girl Books on Civil Rights History. Continue reading Continue reading

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

    Some of the greatest minds in the history of the world have been dismissed because they were covered with curls and bows. — Historian Gerda Lerner, founder of the field of women's history

    When you think back to your history classes in school, you may realize, as Gerda Lerner did, that "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.

    In honor of Women's History Month, we've collected the best biographies that have been published in the past 12 months about remarkable, determined, trailblazing women! These books for children and teens feature a broad range of women in many different fields, from science to the arts to politics and activism, making them excellent additions to any bookshelf or school curriculum. Whether you're sharing a picture book biography at bedtime or introducing your teen to an inspiring new hero, these books will remind them to tell women's stories all year long! 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.

    Along with recognizing these pioneering women, we also forward to the day when we can switch our President’s Day focus to celebrating the future women elected as Commander in Chief, and no doubt there are many more trailblazers to come! 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.

    In this blog post, we've showcased our favorite books about African-American women and their diverse contributions to history. Among them are artists and adventurers, activists and entrepreneurs, and more — and each of them refused to be defined by others' conceptions of what a black woman was supposed to be and reached out to seek her own dream. Their stories are heroic, heartbreaking, and hopeful, and perfect for sharing during Black History Month and all year round! Continue reading Continue reading

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

    womens-history-roundup-blog-webIf you flip through a typical history book, you might think, as historian Gerda Lerner once wrote, that "ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist." Far too often, women's contributions have been neglected in history books and school curriculums — fortunately, there are growing numbers of wonderful books being published for young readers about girls and women who made their mark on history. And, there's no better time to share these stories and make sure that the next generation — girls and boys alike — appreciates the important and diverse roles that women have played in history than during Women's History Month!

    With that in mind, in this blog post, we've collected the best biographies on remarkable women that have been published in the past 12 months, since the last Women's History Month. These books for children and teens feature girls and women who excelled in science, politics, the arts, athletics, and other fields. And, they serve as an excellent reminder that women's stories deserve to be told, not just during Women's History Month, but all year long.

    For more books of inspiring girls and women from around the world, check out the hundreds of biographies and works of historical fiction in A Mighty Girl's History & Biography Collection. Continue reading Continue reading

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