This is an interesting time for women, more so than ever. With the rise of the MeToo movement, conversations are happening that ought to have begun long above. But women in the developed world still don’t have equal pay with their male counterparts. Plus, forced marriage and rape still exist in the world. So, clearly, the fight is far from over. But rather than only focusing on what’s missing, let’s look at what’s been accomplished. Read about five strong, empowering female role models today who you’ve likely never heard of before.
Inspiring women who can be positive role models are all around us. But, sometimes, their stories don’t get as much airtime as their male counterparts.
Before looking at these five incredible ladies, let’s first look at how exactly role models are helpful.
Why are positive role models important?
Don’t underestimate the importance of having role models. Their strength, humility, and courage in the face of adversity can raise your spirit. Plus, their passion and talent can inspire you to work harder.
There’s research to back this statement up too. Studies find that exposing women to successful female role models can help them to overcome negative gender-based stereotypes. They can feel more confident in their performance too.
Examples of fearless, talented women are all around you. These ladies are in sports, business, and science. Their efforts often are go unnoticed, though.
How to choose female role models
How do you find a role model to inspire you? It’s likely someone who you identify with in some way. Here are three examples:
- You see your values within that person
- Hear something in their story that is like yours
- You notice a part of your personality in theirs
You might know someone personally who becomes a role model. Or, you might see them on TV, in the newspaper, or online. You might also get your girls reading about inspiring women to help them find great role models.
Below are just five inspiring stories out of the thousands out there. The five women to spotlight today are:
1. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh
When you think of powerful, empowering female role models today in the media, who comes to mind? You might picture Anna Wintour. Or, Oprah Winfrey might come to mind.
But there are many other positive role models who are less well-known. Amani is one of them.
Back in 2009, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh started a courageous online magazine for and by Muslim women. A lot of cultures silence issues facing Muslim women, so starting the magazine was a bold move. It has given millions of Muslim women more of a voice than before.
In recognition for her efforts, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. Also, her candid and sometimes controversial articles have been published in Teen Vogue and The Huffington Post, among other esteemed publications.
2. Cynthia Telles
Mental health issues and services are getting more attention from governments, media, and organizations worldwide than before. Thankfully, more women are speaking up about the important topic. These positive role models can encourage women and are at the heart of some major reforms.
Strong female role models include Dr. Cynthia Telles. She became a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the UCLA School of Medicine and was on many corporate boards. Those boards included governmental commissions to philanthropic organizations.
Also, Barack Obama appointed her from 2010-18 to be on the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. Not only that but she has served as Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles for almost 20 years too.
As proof that hard work and intelligence make a difference, she proudly represents Latin women. Females in the Latino community, by the way, are under-represented in government and medicine.
3. Role models like Rosalind Franklin
Unfortunately, the field of science in general marginalizes women. That doesn’t make sense, though. The many female scientific discoveries is impressive.
For example, look at the history of unlocking the secrets of DNA. Those unveiled secrets are among the most groundbreaking and revolutionary discoveries of the modern world. It has had a big impact on our understanding of ourselves.
While Francis Crick and James Watson get credit for unravelling the mysteries of the double helix DNA structure, the discovery likely wouldn’t have happened without Rosalind Franklin. She used her skills in X-ray crystallography to get a clear picture of the DNA structure.
Unfortunately, scientist Maurice Wilkins took her picture wwithout permission and showed it to James Watson. In 1958, Wilkins, Watson, and their partner Crick received the Nobel Prize. Yet there was no credit or mention for Rosalind Franklin’s work.
4. Strong, empowering female role models like Ertharin Cousin
Many people daydream about changing the world one day. Ertharin Cousin is doing exactly that.
As the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, she leads the world’s biggest humanitarian organisation. And she’s on a mission to end world hunger.
Ertharin Cousin spent years working with the government on strategies for food, health, and disaster relief worldwide. Also, she has led the response to devastating emergencies.
Two examples are the crisis in Syria’s refugee camps and the 2011 Haiti earthquake disaster. Now you see why she’s on this list of positive role models.
5. Dorcas Muthoni and others
Lastly, meet Dorcas Muthoni, a computer scientist, female entrepreneur, and trailblazer for black women in technology and STEM. Dorcas Muthoni is the driving force behind some of the most popular online applications in Africa, which have had a transformative impact across the continent.
Also, she is the current leader of AfChix. That is where she encourages women to go into computing and technology careers to fix the gender imbalance in those areas.
Last year, the Internet Hall of Fame inducted Dorcas Muthoni for her technological contributions. Her effects on society have had an even wider reach.
Finally, over to you: Have you heard of any of these women before? Also, who are some other female role models today to add to the list? What women inspire you?
20 thoughts on “5 female role models to lift you up”
Who run the word? Girls.
Hi Elly, sorry I missed this comment! Haha, yes! You know I’m all about women empowerment :)
They are all truly amazing! Thank you for sharing :)
Could always use more role models in life
Agree, and thanks for appreciating this one :D
Thank you Christy for introducing me to these empowering women. It is important to share their stories and accomplishments. xx
I feel so inspired by women daily and it’s my pleasure to share about them here, Lisa. Your words are appreciated xx
This is so inspiring and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing this.
I love cheering women on! Nice to have you here, Kim.
Right now Shary Boyle, Canadian artist, Feminist Art Movement https://www.sharyboyle.com/ The Feminist Art Movement is a fab topic.
Oh wow I just started looking at her site and am getting lost in the artforms and what they stand for!
Thanks for this post, Christy. I first heard of Rosalind Franklin when I studied crystallography at McGill an exceedingly long time ago. Two other amazing women in related fields were Dorothy Hodgkin, a British chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964, and Ursula Franklin, a renowned metallurgist whose career spanned 40 years at U of Toronto and who also worked tirelessly for world peace.
Hi Jane, thanks for sharing about Dorothy Hodgkin and Ursula Franken! Also, I love that you pointed out Canadian influences as I’m in Canada ;)
I have nominated your blog for the Real Neat Blog Award.
More about this nomination is at
Very sweet of you!!
Thank you for sharing this post , dear Christy , as always a very interesting read. <3
Aw, Francina xx
Thanks for sharing the stories of these inspiring women, Christy. I wasn’t aware of them so am grateful for new knowledge.
What a beautiful comment to leave here, Norah xx
I can’t believe that about Rosalind Franklin! Great idea for a post and great selections.
You’re such an awesome supporter!!