Her’s Day Thursday

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Last week, I noticed that Google had a new doodle on its homepage honoring Mary Pickford:

Mary Pickford

Intrigued, I clicked on it to learn more about the lady in the drawing. I learned a lot about this awesome lady and want to share it with you!

Mary Pickford (given name: Gladys Louise Smith) was born Toronto, Canada on April 8, 1892, the oldest of three children, to John and Charlotte Smith. When Mary was about seven years old, her father passed away. In order to make ends meet, Mary’s mother began taking in boarders for income. One of her first boarders was a theatrical stage manager. He immediately saw something in little Mary and was able to have her cast in two plays.

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Soon, acting became a family business. Mary, her mother, and her siblings traveled around taking parts wherever they could get them. Mary was growing frustrated. She decided that if she did not land a big role soon, she was going to quit acting for good. Not long after this declaration, Mary earned a role in the Broadway play, The Warrens of Virginia. It was in this play that Mary met Cecil B. deMille, another actor (and future famed director). After the play’s run was over, Mary was out of work again. She screen tested for a film, but was not chosen. However the director, D.W. Griffith, was taken with her and encouraged her to try out for more films. Because of this push, she was eventually cast in 51 films in 1909 alone!

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Her career soared and she went on to form the independent film production company United Artists with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks. Mary went on to be a producer as well as win an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1929.

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Mary broke down barriers in an industry which still, to this day, is very much male-oriented. But kudos to Mary–aka, “The Girl With the Curls”–and the other women who are determined to follow their dreams and get more women on screen!

 

 

 

 

 

Her’s Day Thursday

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It’s been a while since I’ve written about an amazing lady in history, so I thought I’d fix that today! Our wonderful woman was a daredevil who pushed boundaries and didn’t let racism or sexism get in her way! Today’s BAMF is Bessie Coleman!

Pioneer Aviator Bessie Coleman

 

Bessie Coleman was born on January 26, 1892–the tenth of thirteen children–in Atlanta, TX. When Bessie was a young child, she would walk to school everyday (four miles!). Her school was a small, one-room, segregated schoolhouse. Bessie excelled in reading and math. When she was older, she saved up her money and enrolled at Langston University in Langston, OK. Sadly, she was only able to finish one year because she ran out of money.

When she was 23, Bessie moved to Chicago and lived with three of her brothers. She made ends meet by working as a manicurist. Knowing she was meant for more, Bessie took a second job to pay for flying lessons. Because American flight schools didn’t allow blacks or women, she was encouraged by a friend to study abroad. So, with her friend helping her financially, she left the U.S. for France.

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On June 15, 1921, Bessie became the first African American woman to earn her pilots license! When she came back to America, she was a media sensation. Bessie was an extrordinary pilot and knew how to keep an audience’s attention. She was an amazing daredevil, performing such tricks as figure eights, loops, and near-ground dips which kept air show crowds in awe.

Because of her popularity, Bessie was offered a role in the movie Shadow and Sunshine. She was excited to be a part of a major motion picture and hoped it would break barriers for women and people of color. However, she soon found out that her character was going to be portrayed in tattered clothes, carrying a pack over her shoulder. She walked off the movie set, refusing to perpetuate the derogatory image that Hollywood seemed so keen on to portray blacks in America.

Bessie knew where her destiny lie, in the clouds. She’s quoted as saying, “The air is the only place free from prejudices. I knew we had no aviators, neither men nor women, and I knew the Race needed to be represented along this most important line, so I thought it my duty to risk my life to learn aviation. . .”

Bessie Coleman

Sadly, Bessie’s avionic dreams came to a halt on April 30, 1926. On her way to an air show, Bessie was in her Curtiss JN-4 aircraft with her co-pilot. Her plane had been worked on by a mechanic earlier in the day who said that he had to make three forced landings because of faulty maintenance from the previous owner. Undeterred, Bessie wanted to take her plane to the show. She did not have her seatbelt on while in the plane, as she needed to look over the co-pilot’s shoulder for his readings. As she did this, the plane took a sudden nose dive, spinning. Bessie was thrown from her aircraft and fell 2,000 feet to her death. Later, a wrench had been found inside the engine, accidentally left by the mechanic. She was just 34.

Her life was short, but her legacy is huge. Bessie broke down barriers of race and gender. Bessie Coleman, you are an inspiration to us all!

 

 

 

Her’s Day Thursday

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Its a new year and I’ve got a new lady from history who went “beast mode” before there ever was such a term! Today’s BAMF is Violet Jessop (AKA, the woman with amazing luck!).

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Violet Jessop was born on October 1, 1887 to Irish immigrants. Violet was soon joined by eight other siblings (sadly, only 6 survived). When Violet was young, she was hit with tuberculosis. Her condition was so severe that doctors did not believe she would live. She proved them wrong by coming through the illness just as strong as ever.

After her father passed away from complications to a surgery, Violet, her mother, and the younger children moved to England. There, Violet attended a convent school and cared for the children while her mother worked as a stewardess at sea. Not long after, Violet’s mother became ill. She left school and became a stewardess for the Royal Mail Line aboard the ship Orinoco in 1908.

Two years later, Violet was given a job aboard the RMS Olympic (a luxury ship; the largest at the time). On September 20, 1911, the Olympic left its port at Southampton and collided with the HMS Hawke, a British war ship. Thankfully, there were no fatalities and the Olympic was able to get back to port without sinkingThis would not be Violet’s only harrowing adventure at sea.

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The next April, 1912, Violet began working as a stewardess aboard the RMS Titanic. Oh yes, Violet was there on the fateful night that the Titanic hit an iceberg. Violet was working below deck when she was ordered to come up, as to be an example to non-English speakers of how to behave calmly. Violet was put onto a lifeboat where one of the boat’s officers handed her a baby. She, and the others on her lifeboat, were rescued the next morning by the Carpathia. While aboard the Carpathia, Violet was still holding the baby she was given the night before. A woman came up to her (most likely the child’s mother) and took the baby from her arms.

You would think THAT experience would be enough to deter Violet from ever boarding a ship again. Nope. During WWI, Violet worked as a stewardess for The British Red Cross.

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She was aboard the Britannic on November 21, 1916 when the ship either hit a mine hidden by German troops or was blasted by a torpedo. The large ship had sunk in less than an hour, taking 30 lives with it. But it did not take Violet. She made it to a lifeboat in time, though she had to jump out of it and swim for her life as the ship’s propellers were sucking lifeboats under the waves.

Again, Violet was not turned off by the sea. She went to work for Red Star Line and made two tours around the world. She later retired in 1950. Want to tell your kids about Violet? Check out this video!

 

You can also grab a copy of Violet’s memoirs here!

 

I think Molly Brown should give her nickname to Violet Jessop–the woman who wouldn’t go down with the ship!

Her’s Day Thursday

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Though it is very historic that, this year, a woman has become her party’s candidate for the presidential election, another woman holds the title of first woman to run for President of the United States. That distinction goes to today’s leading lady: Victoria Claflin Woodhull.

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Victoria was born in 1838 in rural Ohio, the seventh of ten children, to Roxanna and Reuben Claflin. Her mother was illiterate and her father was an abusive con man, making his money as a snake oil salesman. When she was just a few days past her fifteenth birthday, Victoria married her first husband with whom she had two children. She later divorced him, finding out he was an alcoholic and womanizer. Back in the 1850’s, divorce was scandalous and was much stigmatized for the woman. This catapulted Victoria into becoming a voice for women who were forced to stay in loveless and often abusive marriages.

Victoria began working to support herself and her children as well as fighting for women’s rights. She and her sister, Tennessee, became the first female stock brokers in 1870, and opened their own firm. Victoria ended up making a fortune on stocks and helped Cornelius Vanderbilt make his millions.

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Victoria decided to amp up her fight to gain the right to vote for herself and all American women. She testified before a House Judiciary Committee and argued that the 14th and 15th Amendments already gave women the power to vote, they just needed to act on it. She pointed out that the Amendments protected the right to vote for all citizens. After this, Victoria was sought out by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Isabella Beecher Hooker to become a part of their movement that was gaining momentum.

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That same year, Victoria and her sister founded a newspaper—Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly. Most of the articles focused on women’s issues of the day such as suffrage and women’s education. However, it has become best known for exposing the hypocrisy of Pastor Henry Ward Beecher who preached fidelity in his masses, but was secretly having an affair with a church member. The article prompted criminal charges to be filed against Beecher and a trial (which ended in a hung jury) soon followed.

Victoria was nominated for president in 1872 by the Equal Rights Party, with Frederick Douglass named as her running mate. (Douglass never commented on the nomination.) Victoria and her sister were arrested the day before the election for “publishing an obscene newspaper” because of the story on Beecher’s affair. They were held for a month in jail, thus preventing Victoria from attempting to vote in the election. Unshaken, Victoria continued her fight for women’s equality and ran for president years later in 1884 and 1892.

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Victoria fought for women and for their voices to be heard until her dying day. She truly has earned the title of Kick-A Woman in History!

Her’s Day Thursday

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With the 2016 Olympics kicking off in Rio tomorrow, I thought that this week’s Her’s Day Thursday leading ladies should be none other than #TeamUSA Olympians!

First up, Missy Franklin!

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The 21-year-old Canadian-American swimmer may be young, but the girl has already achieved so much in her swimming career! She has won FOUR Olympic gold medals and has set FOUR world records! Not only that, but Missy credits her faith for her success:  “God is always there for me. I talk with Him before, during and after practice and competitions. I pray to Him for guidance. I thank Him for this talent He has given me, and promise to be a positive role model for young athletes in all sports.”

You are definitely a role model, Missy!

 

Another awesome athlete that is kicking butt and taking names: Claressa Shields!

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Claressa is giving the one-two-punch to folks that think girls can’t dish out KO’s. Claressa was the first woman boxer to win a gold medal while competing at the 2012 London Olympics! Out of her 75 total fights, Claressa has only lost ONCE. ONCE! Get it, girl!

 

There was a time in my life that I thought I might try a triathlon. That was s short-lived dream. I’ll leave that to the pros like Gwen Jorgensen!

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Gwen competed for Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics and is back again to bring home the gold from Rio! Gwen is a total BAMF, running a personal best of a mile in LESS than 5 minutes (my PB was 9 minutes!) and the 3,000 meters in less than 10 minutes! Not only that, but two years ago Gwen finished first in FOUR consecutive triathlons! Who run the world? GWEN!

 

Gymnastics has always been my absolute favorite Olympic sport to watch (with swimming coming in a close second) and I am super excited to watch this young lady take the beam!

Simone Biles of the U.S competes on the beam during the women's all-round final at the World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow

The road to the Olympics hasn’t been an easy one for Simone Biles. Her mother struggled with alcohol and drug addiction for years and she and her siblings were put up for adoption when the courts realized Simone’s mother could not care for them. Thankfully, Simone’s grandparents stepped in and took Simone and the kids in. Not long after that, Simone’s grandfather recognized his granddaughter’s talent for the sport and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, Simone holds 14 medals–the most of any female gymnast in America’s World Championship history–and has her eyes set on the gold for this year’s Olympics! Stick that landing, Simone!

 

Any athletes you’re excited about seeing represent girl power at this years games? Share in the comments below!

 

Her’s Day Thursday

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When I opened my internet this morning, I got a glimpse of today’s Google Doodle:

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Intrigued, I clicked on the picture and learned that today is Hertha Marks Ayrton’s 162nd birthday. Who is Hertha Marks Aytron? I’ll tell you!

 

Phoebe Sarah Hertha Ayrton was born on April 28, 1854 in Hampshire, England. The third of eight children, Hertha (as she was later called) helped her mother care for her siblings when her father unexpectedly died in 1861. Hertha’s aunts invited her to attend a school they ran in London, knowing that Hertha would need an education to gain employment, thus helping to support the family. Hertha joined her aunts’ school and quickly found she had an affinity for math and science.

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After completing her education, Hertha worked for a short time as a governess and then pursued a college degree at Girton College, Cambridge University. She passed all the necessary exams to earn a Bachelor’s of Science, however was awarded a “certificate” instead, as Cambridge did not give degrees to women at the time. Hertha went to the University of London, took the same exams, and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree.

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Hertha continued her work in mathematics, even getting published in Educational Times. In 1884, she patented a line-divider a drawing device for engineers that divides lines into any number of equal parts. This invention was not only used by engineers, but also artists and architects. This would not be her only invention. Until her death in 1923, Hertha registered twenty-six different patents!

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Hertha was a pioneer in the field of engineering. She was awarded the Hughes Medal for her works in engineering–and, as of last year, is only one of two women to ever win the award! In 2015, she was named by the Royal Society as one of the ten most influential British women in science.

 

Go, Hertha!

Her’s Day Thursday

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Raising a girl in this day and age can be terrifying. With the internet and social media literally in the palm of their hands, girls today can get such mixed and harmful messages. Though you may limit their screen time, the message can still seep in. This is why I am always looking for awesome resources to help me raise a confident, self-assured young woman!

 

For those parents of little ladies, I thought I’d take a break from my normal Her’s Day Thursday and share some of my findings with you!

 

A Mighty Girl

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This website is awesome! They are basically you’re one-stop site when it comes to finding media of all kinds that will inspire your adventurous girl to go out and change the world! Here’s a snippet from AMG’s “About” page:

A Mighty Girl is the world’s largest collection of books, toys, movies, and music for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls and, of course, for girls themselves!

After years of seeking out empowering and inspirational books for our four young nieces, we decided to create A Mighty Girl as a resource site to help others equally interested in supporting and celebrating girls. The site was founded on the belief that all children should have the opportunity to read books, play with toys, listen to music, and watch movies that offer positive messages about girls and honor their diverse capabilities.

Girls do not have to be relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress; they can be the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure. It is our hope that these high-quality children’s products will help a new generation of girls to grow and pursue whatever dreams they choose — to truly be Mighty Girls!

 

7 Wonderlicious

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Though their website isn’t much, their app packs a punch of female empowerment for the next generation! The app (available on iPhone and Android) has interactive stories that promote leadership in young girl’s as well as educating about positive character traits.

From 7Wonderlicious’s About Page:

We are girls’ champions and superhero wannabees, we believe in the power of vision, hope, hard work, meaning and contribution.

We are going to change the world and forever eliminate all threats to girlhood, we don’t settle for anything less.

It’s going to be a difficult but a very rewarding journey, we will start small based on the resources we have today but we will reach for the moon and the stars.

We will start in the west by forming and supporting a tribe of highly resourceful, confident, happy, healthy and empowered girls, but we will not stop there.

Our tribe will grow into a movement of hope to resolve bigger, more complex problems affecting girls in third world countries and developing nations. There will be nothing that our tribe will not be able to resolve.

Our 7 Wonderlicious girls represent all women; mums and daughters that want to be free from false limiting beliefs that are oppressing their true nature and getting in the way of allowing them to fulfill all their dreams. Our girls will inspire, will guide and educate billions of little girls around the world.

Will you join our tribe?

 

Educating Girls Matters

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Educating Girls Matters is a non-profit group that goes into developing countries to educated young girls and women. According to their site, “two-thirds of the world’s uneducated children are girls, and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women.”

Their mission is to “provide potential donors with news about educating girls and links to websites of organizations that help educate girls/women around the world.”

 

Girls Inc.

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Girls Inc. has been around since the Industrial Revolution! Its original mission was to help young women who had migrated from rural areas in search of jobs in the factories and textile mills. According to their site, they “inspire[s] all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, providing more than 140,000 girls across the U.S. and Canada with life-changing experiences and solutions to the unique challenges girls face.”

The programs at GI are designed to help educate girls about what they are capable of. They seek to inspire girls to look further into their interests of science and math as well as helping their communities by learning/educating others about teen pregnancy and drug abuse prevention as well as adolescent health, violence prevention, and sports participation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know of any websites/apps that help empower young girls? Share in the comments below!