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10 Strong Female Role Models We Should All Look Up To

role models, strong women, female role models, powerful women, inspirational women

“Females are strong as hell” is one of the starting lines in the theme song to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. And I couldn’t agree more.

Below are ten women whom I look up to, and think you should too. Since women are so awesome, narrowing this list down to 10 was a challenge, but here we go!

Angela Merkel– Chancellor of Germany

Angela, TIME’s person of the year in 2015, is frequently named the most powerful woman in the world. She is Germany’s first female political leader and is the second person in their history to serve three terms as chancellor.

According to the Guardian, she is referred to as the defacto leader of Europe, and stands out in a field dominated by men. She is literally a boss and we can all learn from her.

Ellen Degeneres — Comedian and Talk Show Host

When President Obama gave Ellen the medal of freedom in November, 2016, he reminded us that Ellen was a pioneer when she came out in the late 90s. Ellen has always been true to herself, from coming out to dancing every day on her show. That is what I love so much about Ellen; She does not apologize for who she is or who she loves.

Emma Watson — Actress and Activist

If you have seen any of the Harry Potter movies, you probably already love Emma Watson. She is an ambassador for the UN and works with the HeForShe campaign which works to promote gender equality. She gave an amazing speech at the UN which can be found here to launch the campaign.

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Hillary Clinton — Politician

Regardless of your political beliefs, you can’t deny that Hillary has changed the world. If you want her learn more about her, check out this Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast entitled Who is Hillary Clinton? According to Huffington Post, Secretary Clinton’s loss has motivated thousands of women to consider running for office. She has changed the world for many women to come because she was relentless and never stopped fighting.

Gloria Steinem — Activist

Gloria is a pioneer for women’s rights and a constant advocate for gender rights and gender equality. The list of organizations she founded or co-founded is long and extraordinary (and can be found on her website). Gloria is bold and never stops fighting for what she believes in, and that is why I admire her so much.  

Maggie Doyne — Philanthropist

I recently learned about Maggie on the Mentoring Moments Podcast with Denise Restauri. Maggie’s story is amazing. At age 19, she went to Nepal and after a series of events, she enrolled a young girl into school. Fast forward to 2016 where she has a children’s home and is mother to 50 Nepali children, and runs a school and a health clinic for Nepali children. To learn more about Maggie and her story (which I highly recommend), listen to Denise’s podcast and visit her website.

“In the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference.” — Maggie Doyne

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Malala Yousafzai — Activist

In 2012, the Taliban attempted to kill Malala for being an education activist and going to school. Did that stop her? NO! Malala is a global advocate and has since established the Malala Fund to “bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voice, unlock their potential and to demand change.” Malala risked her life for her love of education and came out stronger and has changed the lives of girls across the world.

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” — Malala Yousafzai

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Oprah — Media Mogul and Philanthropist

I have always loved Oprah and her story, but after listening to the new podcast about her, that only increased my admiration. Making Oprah tells the story of the rise of Oprah and her team. What I loved most was learning about her dedication to her team–she was motivated by their success, not just her own.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Supreme Court Judge

The Notorious RBG is amazing! She is the second female Supreme Court Judge (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She embodies hard work and dedication to what is right.

One of the things I admire about RBG is her drive to pick others up as she rose. She worked hard to have diverse clerks when she was rising up. Additionally, she was very loyal. The book about her, Sisters in Law, talks about her loyalty–specifically to one of her first clients. Check out the tumblr page about her, it’s great.

Tina Fey — Actress, Producer, and Comedian

Tina Fey (who is real life best friends with another boss–Amy Poehler) is not only hilarious, but also brilliant. She became the first female head writer in SNL history, wrote Bossypants, and has an outstanding career as an actress, comedian and producer. Tina is hilarious, but also real, which I so appreciate. We can all watch her, and learn and laugh.

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I am a feminist and advocate for women’s rights, and I have learned so much from the 10 women above. Who are your role models? Why do you admire them? We would love to know!

About the Author

Jessica Sharp

Jessica Sharp is passionate about empowering underserved and minority communities, diverse representation, and brain education. Jessica is the Founder and Chief Educator of Sharp Brain Consulting which works with public service agencies to provide education about the brain and its effect on organizational outcomes. Additionally, she is on the leadership team of Meals on Wheels in her town of Greenville, SC. She is completing a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. Upon her completion, she will attend William James College to obtain a Doctorate of Psychology. Follow her on twitter at @sharpjes.