There have been so many incredible women throughout history that have inspired and influenced the world in some way. This list contains a small number of them. It wasn’t easy to narrow them down honestly. I choose women that I felt were important to know about at this stage in our schooling and those that went along with the kiddos current interests. A couple of women on this list may not have contributed as much or aren’t as accomplished as some that were also considered, but I wanted to add some easier to remember ones since kiddos still so young. Also, even though they may have smaller successes, I still want my children to know that small victories and contributions are important and should be celebrated as well. So, while you may not feel they are important or shouldn’t have made the cut, remember not everyone grows up to be rich or widely successful, and that’s ok. As long as you are happy and comfortable with the life you create for yourself, you should feel like a winner too! I choose to do 24 women so I could turn it into a Guess Who game, learning should be fun after all! I’ll be making more list like this as we progress in school and making more fun games to learn about them! You can get the Guess Who influential woman game below! For your convenience, I have included all of the info below in the downloads to print and use easier while playing and working! Enjoy, and have fun playing while learning about these amazing women!
1. Betty White
One of my personal heroes, Betty Marion White Ludden is an American actress, hilarious comedian, author, and animal rights advocate that has captured the hearts of people world wide with her angelic charm, no holds barred attitude, occasional foul mouth, and hilarious antics. Widely regarded as a pioneer of television, she may not have been the very first, but Betty was one of the first women to exert control both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Though she’s never had bio children, she does have an entertainment career spanning over 8 decades. She’s earned herself titles such as queen of comedy, the first lady of television, and at one time the honorary title of Mayor of Hollywood! She was the first choice to become the first woman ever to co-anchor the network evening news on the Today show, but turned down the offer paving the way for Barbra Walters to have the honor of making that history. White loves animals more than people and has said she stills enjoys having vodka and hot dogs even now at the age of 95. With dozens of cameos, movies, and TV shows under her belt, White has worked longer in that medium than anyone else in the television industry, which won her a Guinness World Record award in 2018. For these reasons and so many more, she’s not just an influential woman, Betty White is an influential person period! She’s beloved by many world round, and she keeps her fans guessing. What will she say and do next?
2. Lucille Ball
Lucille Désirée Ball proved everyone wrong about the popular, common misconception that women aren’t funny! Her comedic timing, strong camera presence, and magnetic charm made her a television pioneer and one of the most iconic women in the world, capturing the attention of audiences all across the globe. Most of us know her from the hit show “I love Lucy”, but she got her start as a model followed by a Broadway career under the stage name Diane (or Dianne) Belmont. Her hit show led her to her become a successful producer and the first woman ever to run a major television network that went on to produced many more hit shows. She stared in and produced the popular sitcoms “I Love Lucy”, “The Lucy Show”, and “Here’s Lucy”, and comedy television specials “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour”. there was no doubt about it, everyone certainly did loved Lucy.
3. Claudette Colvin
While people attribute the first black woman to sit in the front of a bus to Rosa Parks, in reality it was Claudette Colvin (born Claudette Austin). On March 2, (a full 9 months before Rosa) 1955, she was arrested at the age of 15 in Montgomery, Alabama, (same as Rosa) for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman on a crowded, segregated bus. Since Claudette had only been convicted of assault, appealing her case couldn’t directly challenge the segregation law. It is thought that since Parks knew Colvin from the NAACP Youth Council and heard about the situation, she was inspired in part to take her action by Colvin. Others believe that the reason Colvin didn’t receive as much attention at Parks was because she wasn’t as “photogenic” as Parks. Either way This young girl deserves to be recognized and commended as well!
4. Kamala Harris
Weather you agree/like her or not, Kamala Devi Harris has accomplished a lot, but her most notable accomplishment is making epic history by becoming the first female Vice president of the USA! That’s not only impressive and amazing, it’s also a very important step for our country.
5. Indira Gandhi
The 3rd prime minister of India, Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the first and to date the only female prime minister.
6. Benazir Bhutto
She was a Pakistani politician who served as the first woman Prime Minister in any Muslim majority nation. She was the 11th and 13th prime minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996.
7. Valentina Tereshkova
Russian female, Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, was first and youngest woman in space ever! She had two solo missions on the Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963.
8. Sally Ride
Sally Kristen Ride was an American astronaut and physicist. She joing NASA in 1978. In 1983 Sally made history when she became the first American woman in space, and only the 3rd woman to ever go to space overall, following behind USSR cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya.
9. Malala Yousafzai
Malala, is a Pakistani activist for female/child education. An assassination attempt was made on her life at just 15 years old due to her activism, but it didn’t stop her. At the young age of 17 she won a Nobel Peace Prize making her the world’s youngest Nobel Prize laureate, and only the second Pakistani to hold the honor.
10. Ruth Handler
Ruth Marianna Handler is an American businesswoman and the inventor of Barbie. Since the invention of this popular girls toy it has come to not only entertain but now empower young girls AND boys worldwide!
11. Elizabeth Blackwell
She was a British physician, and the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States! She was also the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council. Elizabeth Blackwell was a big supporter for the participation of women in the medical profession and eventually, she even opened her own medical college for women!
12. Helen Keller
Many people assume Helen Adams Keller was completely mute and didn’t achieve much in her life, but that’s far from true! She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a college degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree! Not only did she crush it in school, she traveled to 35 countries around the globe advocating for those with vision loss.
13. Amelia Earhart
Pretty much everyone knows Amelia Mary Earhart, the American aviation pioneer, but did you know she was also an author? Earhart was not only the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and set many other records, she also wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences. Earhart was very instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization specifically for female pilots. On July 2, 1937, at the age of 40 the Lockheed aircraft carrying Amelia and her navigator Frederick Noonan was reported missing near Howland Island in the Pacific while attempting to be the first woman to circumnavigate the world in an aeroplane. Sadly she, nor her navigator or plan were ever found.
14. Jane Goodall
Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE, formerly Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, is a well known chimpanzee enthusiast, English primatologist, and anthropologist. Frequently referred to as the chimp lady, Jane spent 50 years living in the jungle among the chimps with no prior research experience. Today, Jane travels the world, educating us all about the threats chimpanzees face and environmental crises, urging everyone to take action on behalf of all living things and this beautiful planet we inhabit.
15. Margaret Thatcher
Baroness Margaret Hilda Thatcher, LG, OM, DStJ, PC, FRS, HonFRSC was a British stateswoman. From 1979 to 1990, she was Britain’s first female, longest-serving United Kingdom Prime Minister. She led of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990, and came to be known as “Iron Lady” for her strong opinions, strict policy, and firm leadership.
16. Queen Elizabeth II
Since taking the throne during in 1953, Elizabeth II has become the longest-reigning Queen and female head of state in the world.
17. Florence Nightingale
Florence was an English statistician who came to be widely recognized as the founder of modern nursing. She trained others in nursing during the Crimean War. She was so caring and influential that there is now a medal and a condition named after her. Although Florence Nightingale syndrome isn’t the most flattering thing and doesn’t seem to reflect her in anyway, the Florence Nightingale Medal is the highest international honor a nurse can receive.
18. Ada Lovelace
English mathematician and writer, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace may have passed away long before the age of computes, but her skills in mathematical algorithms and analytical engineering still managed to bestow upon her the title of the “first computer programmer” by many. An impressive feat indeed.
19. Margaret Hamilton
American computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner Margaret Heafield Hamilton played an intricate role in designing the flight software for the Apollo space program! She was the director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed the on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo program! This amazing female computer scientist and business owner is so bada$$ that on November 22, 2016, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from president Barack Obama for her work on NASA’s Apollo Moon missions. Hamilton has been credited with coining the term “software engineer.” Definitely worthy of a place on this list.
20. Queen Victoria
She took the throne at just 18 years old during the Victorian era! Queen Victoria’s reign lasted 63 years and seven months, which was longer than any previous British monarch. She changed the reputation of the royal family for the better with her growth and upkeep of the British Empire. Perhaps one of her more prominent rulings and accomplishments was a law that enforcing every child to go to school. Her trail blazing actions started earlier than her succession to the throne. She proposed to her husband, (Prince Albert) at the young age of 16, and not vice versa. Something that was simply not done in her time. Their children married into royal, noble families all across the continent, which earned Victoria the moniker “the grandmother of Europe”. Unfortunately it also caused the spreading of haemophilia (also known as the bleeder’s disease) in European royalty. She was the first known carrier of hemophilia, and it later become known as the “Royal disease.”
21. J.K. Rowling
J.K. is a great example the perseverance and patience win in the end. Though she started writing at the young age of 8, Rowling didn’t get published until age 32, and that was after several rejections. The reason she got her big break was all thanks to the 8 year old daughter of a publisher. Her books teach children to wonder and dream, as well as to stand up for the right things, and the good ones always come out on top! Harry Potter and his friends have become a big part of our world since arriving in 1997, and we’re all better for it. J.K. used her fame and money to improve the world by doing things like supporting several causes through her charitable trust (Volant), and starting a international children’s non-profit organization (Lumos, which she is the president of), which aims to end the institutionalization of children world wide to ensure all children grow up in a safe and caring environment.
22. Frida Kahlo
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón was a Mexican painter that began painting in 1925, while recovering from a terrible accident. A tram collided with the bus she was travelling home from school on. She created about 200 paintings consisting primarily of still life’s, self portraits, family, and friends. She also kept an illustrated journal and with dozens of drawings. Her paintings explore topics such as gender, class, and race in Mexican society. Her self portrait paintings have challenged the worlds view of “beautiful” and still have people talking about them and their effect on the world today. When any artist’s work punctures popular culture and helps define a society, they are genuinely influential, and Frida definitely did.
23. Marie Curie
Polish, naturalized-French, physicist, and chemist, Marie Salomea Skłodowska Curie pioneered the research on radioactivity (a term she coined) with many accomplishments that make her an influence. She was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize, which she won for her radioactivity work. She won a second time for her discovery of the elements polonium and radium, making her not only the first woman to win the Nobel Prize twice, but the first person in general to win the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris in 1906. Over the years many people have come to believe her husband Pierre Curie frequently took credit for her work, however he was one of her biggest supporters and made sure she got the recognition she deserved. Marie is revered by male and female scientist still today.
24. Grace Hopper
Computer programming wouldn’t be what it is today without this pioneer of programming, American computer scientist, and United States Navy rear admiral, Grace Brewster Murray Hopper. She joined the Navy Reserves after being rejected by the Navy during WW II. She began her computing career in 1944 as one of the first people to work on the Harvard Mark I team. She was the first person to formulate the theory of machine-independent programming languages and invented one of the first linkers. The FLOW-MATIC programming language she created using her theory was later extended to create an early high-level programming language know as COBOL, which is still used today. In 1949, she joined the Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation and was part of the team that developed the UNIVAC I computer.
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Big Kids Club summery; click the link to find out more and sign up: In this club we read the books BEFORE the weekly meetings, then discuss them and play book trivia. Most books will be sent to you for FREE, either in text form, or audio! We also spend time working on social skills by playing games, doing crafts together (for those that want to participate in that), and free discussion time. The age range is just a suggestion. Older and/or younger children are welcome if you think they would enjoy it and be able to participate properly.
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