As a company owned and operated by women, at Grasshopper Goods, we’re committed to uplifting and celebrating women and their incredible stories and successes. It’s Women’s History Month, which has made us ultrareflective—women are dreamers, doers, and we’re changing the world each and every day.
Women’s History Month began in 1987 after Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9, and after several iterations, this celebration became an annual one. This time encourages us to reflect and celebrate the achievements of women throughout history. While there are so many women who inspire us, today, we’d like to share the amazing stories of six wonderful women.
1. Amanda Gorman
My passion for education is steadfast, so first on our list today is the prolific Amanda Gorman, a poet who battles a specific learning disorder and never lets it deter her from her dreams. You probably know Amanda from her awe-inspiring poetry reading at this year’s presidential inauguration; at 22 years old, Amanda is the youngest poet to ever perform at this event. In 2017, Amanda was named National Youth Poet Laureate, and she’s committed to education and literacy, sitting on the board of 826 National, speaking at countless events, and performing specially commissioned poems.
Like me, Amanda Gorman has a learning disorder, and her type of learning disorder runs in my family. When she was in kindergarten, Amanda was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder as well as speech articulation issues, making it difficult for her to verbalize certain words or sounds. Yet she never let it stop her from sharing her gifts with the world.
Her poem “The Hill We Climb” is now beloved, and I’m super inspired by the last verse:
“When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it.
If only we're brave enough to be it.”
2. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka’s career trajectory is incredible. She went from being the Deputy President of South Africa to the Executive Director of UN Women in 2013. Focused on the alleviation of poverty, Phumzile’s work has been directed at creating better educational outcomes for students of South Africa’s public school system, which led her to start the Umlambo Foundation with this singular mission. She also fought to dismantle apartheid. She’s an inspiring force who advocates tirelessly for gender equality and inclusion in all of her actions.
3. Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai, otherwise known as Malala, has a story that’s built on overcoming extreme adversity. Born in Pakistan, Malala and all of the other girls in her town were banned from going to school when she was just 11 years old. After advocating for girls’ fundamental right to education, she nearly lost her life in a devastating attack. People all around the world banded together to support Malala’s recovery.
Since then, Malala has committed even further to her goal of ensuring every girl can receive an education. She started the Malala Fund in 2014, a charity to support her mission, leading her to receive that year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Today, Malala travels the world, dialoguing with leaders and activists to fight for education that’s inclusive.
4. Michelle Obama
During her time as the 44th First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama advocated for causes that are near and dear to my heart. Passionate about giving kids access to healthy lifestyle education, Michelle started the Let’s Move! program, which included bringing nutritious food into school cafeterias and food deserts and inspiring kids to increase their activity levels.
She also started the Reach Higher Initiative, which intervened when students were at a pivotal point in their lives, helping them find pathways and become aware of the necessary skills they need to work toward their dream jobs. The fundamental aim of Reach Higher is to inspire all students to continue their education after high school, and her 2020 goal strived for America to have the highest number of college graduates around the world.
Lastly, her Let Girls Learn initiative aims to solve the challenge of making sure adolescent girls enroll and stay in school, helping them unlock their full potential and purpose in the world.
5. Heather Wenler and Amy Gannon
Now, for a story of two women who are near and dear to my heart and always inspire me. Heather Wenler and Amy Gannon are the founders of Doyenne, a Madison-based organization that saw a need for female entrepreneurs and created a space in which their endeavors are recognized, and beyond that, completely celebrated. Doyenne has been a champion for inclusion and gender equality since its founding in 2012.
Heather and Amy became a powerhouse duo when Heather was building a business and Amy was teaching at a local college. They felt called to create this organization for female entrepreneurs, and worked hard to make it happen. Heather is now a coach, mentor, and leader focused primarily on early-stage businesses.
In 2019, Amy tragically passed away in an accident. Throughout her life, she inspired countless women to follow their dreams and believe in their fullest potential. Amy’s legacy will live on forever; her big heart and bold expression of life ensures her impact continues on through Doyenne and the work of those she loved.
These women are part of the reason I started Grasshopper Goods, and I am so thankful for their encouragement and wisdom.
Who’s on your list of inspiring women you’d like to celebrate today? By working toward a future of gender inclusion and never wavering, we’ll keep women's stories at the forefront and continue to celebrate our incredible achievements.
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