Women Who “Choose to Challenge”

In celebration of Women’s History Month, which is every March, we’re honoring several exceptional women who have changed our lives for the better (and, of course, they all wear glasses). Let’s take a look at the accomplishments these icons have achieved over the years.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Affectionately called “R.B.G.” by her supporters, Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspired generations of women to break gender barriers. The second woman to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court, and the first Jewish woman, in its 212 year history, she fought tirelessly for gender equality under the law, battled sexism in her own life and career, and served as a constant role model for women of all ages. Just a few of her countless achievements include graduating first in her class from Columbia Law School, becoming the second female law professor at Rutgers, co-founding the Women’s Rights Project at ACLU, and arguing six cases before the Supreme Court (and winning five).

Oprah Winfrey

A talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey is known as the “Queen of All Media.” She was the richest African American of the 20th century, North America’s first Black multi-billionaire, and has been ranked the greatest Black philanthropist in American history. Oprah has used her platform to launch humanitarian efforts globally, including her private charity, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, and has awarded hundreds of grants to organizations that support the education and empowerment of women, children and families in the United States and around the world. 

Junko Tabei

Before she became the first woman to climb Mt. Everest and the Seven Summits, Junko Tabei fought an uphill battle against cultural norms in her native Japan. She eventually realized that if she wanted to find a supportive space for female mountaineers, she’d need to create one herself.  She then founded Japan’s first mountaineering club for women, adopting the motto “Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves.” Her tireless efforts to make the mountains a space where women were welcomed and respected marked a turning point in climbing history. Tabei later returned to school to study ecology and became an influential figure in the fight to protect and preserve wild places. 

Shirley Chisholm

Before others raised the bar for what Black and female politicians could accomplish in American politics, Shirley Chisholm shined a light on the unexplored path as both the first Black congresswoman and first Black woman to embark on a major-party presidential campaign. An American politician, educator, and author, she served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, advocated for women and minorities, and later went on to found the National Women’s Political Caucus.

Billie Jean King

With 39 Grand Slam titles to her name, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon, Billie Jean King is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She held the world #1 ranking in women’s tennis for six of the ten years from 1966 through 1975. Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by LIFE magazine, Billie Jean King strives to empower the next generation with the tools to do better than the one before it and is a preeminent voice in the national conversation surrounding gender equality.