2016-11-18

Sojourner Truth

Her commanding voice and presence matched her 6 foot stature. Orator and abolitionist Sojourner Truth was a reckoning force during the nineteenth century.

Originally named Isabella Baumfree, she was born into slavery in the state of New York, but would later escape from the clutches of systemic enslavement.

After a religious epiphany, she became a preacher and the Dutch-speaking Baumfree changed her name to Sojourner Truth.

She’s remembered for her passionate speeches and powerful words, speaking out against racism, slavery, and gender inequality.

Here is a video of actress Cicely Tyson delivering one of Truth’s prolific poems, “Ain’t I A Woman.”

Maryam Mirzalchani

Professor of Stanford University, Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzalchani is the first woman to ever win the Fields Medal. The Fields Medal is a prestigious award, considered the highest honor in the mathematics field.

The 37-year old didn’t always have a passion for mathematics, especially during her childhood in Tehran, but realized that she “enjoyed it,” and saw it as a challenge. She was awarded based on her work in “the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces.”

Historically, women have met resistance in math and science departments due to gender stereotypes, inequality and persisting social barriers.

Mirzalchani is a testimony to gender breakthroughs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), with women’s participation on the rise.
 
Hopefully, we will continue to see more women highlighted for these achievements. 

Beyoncé

She is the modern-day Tina Turner. A singer known for her dynamic live performances and intense work ethic likened to robotic fashion - Beyoncé is a powerhouse.

And she’s wielding her power in the music realm to vocalize her opinions on female empowerment. Her group and solo hits, “Independent Woman” and “Who Run the World (Girls),” have long shown her stance on gender equality.

With her latest, self-titled album, “Beyoncé,” she’s using strong, provocative lyrics to let listeners know that women shouldn’t be weighed down by double standards, especially when it comes to sexuality.

"The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. [But] women are so much more than that,” Beyoncé explains in an email interview with Out magazine. “You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive."

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