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Female Role Models Who Inspire Us

By Melanie Holland, CEI Intern.

We at CEI strive to keep female role models and leaders in history at the forefront of our Heart Centered Education and STEM research and curriculum development. Here are just a few of the women we are motivated and inspired by on a daily basis:

Corazon Aquino was Time Magazine’s ‘Woman of the Year’ in 1986, acknowledged for her efforts to restore democracy in the Philippines by overthrowing the authoritarian rule of then President Ferdinand Marcos. Aquino was President of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992, and oversaw the creation of the 1987 Constitution, which created a Congress and limited the powers of the president. Throughout her administration and the rest of her life, Corazon Aquino emphasized the importance of civil liberties and human rights.

Ellen Ochoa is the current Director of the Johnson Space Center, and was the first Hispanic female astronaut in space. She served on a nine-day mission on the Discovery shuttle studying the Earth’s ozone layer. Since then, she has logged more than 1,000 hours in space. As the Director of the Johnson Space Center, she leads a research group working on optical systems for automated space exploration (more commonly known as robots in space). Ochoa is the co-inventor on three patents: an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and a method for noise removal in images.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani student and education activist, who began speaking out on the educational inequities in Pakistan at age 11 with anonymous blogs through BCC. She began speaking publicly’”through a documentary, as well as interviews in print and on television. In 2012, the Taliban attempted to assassinate her on her way to school to prevent her from rising to fame, but as Malala survived and continued to speak out, her fame only grew. She is on the ‘Time 100’ list of most influential people in the world for 2013, and her activism led to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.

Rosalind Franklin was a British biophysicist whose research and scientific work played a vital role in the discovery of the DNA double helix. She developed x-ray diffraction images of DNA, which allowed Crick and Watson to formulate their model of the DNA structure. While she independently determined the form of the DNA helix, her work was published later than Watson and Crick, and so her contribution to their hypothesis is frequently overlooked; many believe sexism in scientific labs also contributed. Franklin shifted her focus to the polio virus before dying at age 37 of ovarian cancer.

Sheryl Sandberg is the current Chief Operating Office of Facebook, previous serving as the Vice President of Online Sales and Operations at Google. She is frequently ranked in the top 50 of ‘Most Powerful Women in Business.’ She wrote a book, Lean In, to help professional women achieve their career goals. Lean In focuses on the barriers that prevent women from achieving professional career goals’”both professional and social’”including the devaluation of the working at home, sexual harassment, the glass ceiling, and women who work the double day.

Here are two additional blogs that focus on the strength and power of women: Henrietta Mann, and Maya Angelou.


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