Women Who Inspire Me

Who are some of the women that inspire you?

The first time I was asked this question I was completely embarrassed, because I had no idea. I berated myself – “Was I not paying attention? Who are the women worth idolizing? Do they not exist? Why can I only think of cartoon characters?”

This was before Sheryl Sandberg was telling us to “Lean In”. Before I knew of Marissa Mayer, Arianna Huffington, or even Amy Schumer…

I started tracking a list of names of women I would hear about in the back of my planner, along with their titles/accomplishments. Proactively searching for sites and communities that focused on the accomplishments of women.

Don’t mind the understatement – We have a few problems:

You will only ever hear about a subset of women in the media.

In this moment, I can’t think of a single inspirational woman I was taught about in school. Who is Amelia Earhart, anyone? Did I hear of her on the TV?

I can think of two easy ways to combat this. The first, is a list below of women who inspire me. It is by no means definitive, exhaustive, or in any particular order.

The second, is a challenge. Take some time, create your own list, and share the hell out of it. #WomenWhoInspireMeChallenge #WITBragDay

You may not agree with this list, and that’s okay. Make your own list of Women Who Inspire You! 

Reshma Saujani

reshmaLawyer / Politician / Founder of Girls Who Code

In 2010, Reshma was the first Indian American woman to run for US Congress. In 2012, she founded Girls Who Code – a non-profit looking to close the gender gap in technology. Her TED talk “Teach girls bravery, not perfection” inspired my own personal affirmation. Let’s live every day being brave instead of worrying about being perfect.

Peggy Whitson

peggywhitsonNASA Astronaut

In 2008 Peggy became the first woman to command the international space station. She has the standing record for cumulative time spent in space by an astronaut and the most amount of spacewalks by a female astronaut. Celebrating her 57th birthday in space, she became the oldest women in space. Follow her on twitter.

Shingai Manjengwa

shingaiFounder of Fireside Analytics

A footnote in an article led me to this amazing woman. Having over a decade of data analytics experience, Shingai is the founder and director of Fireside Analytics. She developed Canada’s first accredited data science curriculum for high school students and is a course developer for IBM’s Big Data University. Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, she is now based out of Toronto, Canada. Follow her on twitter.

Ashley Ambirge

ashambirgeCEO of The Middle Finger Project

This woman delivers sassy, radically-candid advice to my email on the regular. On days when I have no idea what I’m doing or why I can pop open her blog, book, or a random email and a few more things seem possible.

Katie Telford

katietelfordChief of Staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The “Woman of Canadian Politics” is still largely unknown – probably on purpose. She is largely responsible for the push for gender equality in Canadian politics. She is also a key influencer with strong opinions on diversity, aboriginal issues, and climate change.

J.K. Rowling

rowlingBritish Novelist

By the summer of 2000 the first three Harry Potter books had sold over 35 million copies and were being printed in 35 different languages. Written by an unemployed, single mother living on the British benefits system, this fact could be enough to put her on my list of awesome women. J.K. Rowling decided to overachieve with her philanthropic work. It’s estimated that she has donated over $160 Million (USD) to charities, and she advocates for causes regularly on social media.

Tina Fey

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon - Season 5
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON — Episode 899 — Pictured: Tina Fey on September 26, 2013– (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Comedian / Writer / Producer / Actress

I binged watched 30 Rock on Shomi one summer (Shomi was a streaming platform… like Netflix. Moving on.). Strange that would be the show that introduced me to Tina, but that’s how it happened. She’s IMHO a superhuman. She could be from Heroes before it got weird. I could write an entire blog post about my lady crush on her, so I’ll just say read her book. I’ll lend it to you.

Nyakim Gatwech

nyakim

Sudanese Model

Nyakim is a self-love queen! She speaks very openly about being bullied and uses her social platforms to spread messages of self-love and acceptance. Her sense of humour is as stunning as her photographs, and she has one of my favorite Instagram accounts.

Ryann Maegen Hoven (Tess Holliday)

tessholliday

American Model

In 2013 Tess Holliday started her #EffYourBeautyStandards movement on Instagram. She believes in the word ‘fat’ and thinks anyone should be able to eat what they want without facing social ostracism. In 2015 she became the first model of her height and size to be hired by a top modelling agency.

So tell me…

Who are the women who inspire you?

You may not agree with this list, and that’s okay. Make your own list of Women Who Inspire You!

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