In honour of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, an organization that was created to promote equal rights for women worldwide, Different Is Cool has put together our list of 10 of the Greatest Living Female Role Models. We’ve gleaned from many different categories – the arts, athletics, education, humanitarianism, politics, sciences, technology, etc – to create a diverse, and pretty cool, list.
Some of the names you’ll recognize, some you may be seeing for the first time, but all of these women have made significant societal contributions – in their own different and cool way.
As 10 women is but a drop in the bucket (there are tens of millions of women to celebrate today), we’d love to hear from you – tell us who your female role models are and why.
In the meantime, here’s our list…
DisC List: 10 Great Living Female Role Models
- Temple Grandin – Dr. Grandin is a noted author, scientist, animal behaviourist and video producer. She pioneered human cattle slaughter techniques and is an advocate for the rights of people with autism, as she herself is a high-functioning autist. She does not support finding a cure for autism, as she is a proponent of neurodiversity. Her life story became famous following the Emmy Award winning HBO film “The Temple Grandin Story” starring Claire Danes.
- Margaret Atwood – Literary Legend: she is among the most honoured authors of fiction in recent history; has written more than 40 books of fiction, poetry & critical essays. She is a vocal advocate for women’s rights, animal rights and the protection of the environment. Oh and she also has awesome hair and is Different Is Cool’s Founding Ambassador of Cool.
- Gloria Steinem – Feminist, activist, author: arguably the most recognizable feminist of our generation, Ms. Steinem is a staunch supporter of reproductive freedom for women, a vocal opponent of pornography and supports marriage equality. She is famous for saying “A woman without a man, is like a fish without a bicycle.”
- Oprah Winfrey – We don’t really have to explain this one, but let’s just say this: Oprah Winfrey not only cares about women’s causes, she does something about them. Oprah Winfrey has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People by CNN and Time.com.
- Margaret Thatcher – First Female Prime Minister of Great Britain: she was also the longest running British Prime Minister in the 20th century and is known for ruling with an iron first, winning her the nickname “The Iron Lady.” She took on the Soviet Union in the 1980’s with the support of American President Ronald Reagan. She has been credited with revitalizing the UK’s economy and reestablishing it as a world power in the 1980’s.
- Juliana Chen – The World’s First Lady of Magic: Juliana is the 1st woman to win a World Title for a solo act from the World Congress of Magicians. She was trained in ballet, acrobatics and juggling prior to becoming interested in magic. We include her because a) magic is awesome and b) making a paying career out of magic is even more awesome.
- Candace Parker – Professional Basketball Player: Candace plays for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and may be the most underrated female athlete of our time. Candace was the first woman to dunk in a NCAA tournament & the first woman to dunk twice in a college game. She became the second woman to dunk in a WNBA game in 2008. If you have ever played basketball, you will know that dunking is a major athletic accomplishment. Oh and when she won ESPN’s Academic All American award, she had a GPA of 3.55.
- Dr. Shanna Swan– Researcher of Chemical Threats to Males: Dr. Swan investigates how environmental chemicals, including phthalates, effect reproductive health & the development of children. She may be the one person who will discover how the chemicals humans have created will threaten future generations and figure out how to protect the human species from ourselves.
- Faith Popcorn – Futurist, Author, CEO of Brainreserve: Faith has been a “futurist” since 1974 – she predicts cultural and business trends and has a 95% accuracy rate. She predicted the demand for fresh food, four-wheel drives & is an advisor to dozens of Fortune 500 companies.
- Great Mums – OK, I know this is a “cheat”, but any female who rears a person with love, wisdom, kindness, generosity, protection and humour rounds out our list. That means all the bio-mums, the adoptive-mums, the step-mums and any woman who places the care of another person’s well-being before her own.
And that is one of the hallmarks of being female – making the world a more caring, conscious, peaceful and cooler place.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Now, here’s some magic with Juliana Chen: