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Confidence Coalition’s International Girls Day

Two years ago, the United Nations passed a resolution declaring October 11 to be “International Day of the Girl” to, “recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.” The day places the spotlight the hardships women and girls face every day.

The Confidence Coalition’s International Girls Day, on the other hand, is “a day designed to promote the power of women – to celebrate the possibilities for bright futures girls can have in leadership, technology and government.”

The Confidence Coalition identifies itself as “an international movement that encourages women and girls to stand up to peer pressure and media stereotypes, say no to risky behavior and abusive relationships, and put an end to relational aggression, such as bullying – on the playground and in the office.” International Girls’ Day is a way to celebrate these principals on a global scale.

To celebrate, we wanted to focus on some of the impressive women we admire, both past and present.

Women Who Paved the Way

Technical, scientific and artistic achievements by women aren’t few and far between anymore, but for a long time, they were. Women weren’t granted the same rights as men, so they had to work extra hard to achieve any sort of recognition and, in many cases, opportunity. Below is list of historical women whose scientific and technical achievements helped pave the way for modern women.

Hedy Lamarr, Actress and Wi-Fi Wonder

Initially a Hollywood actress, Hedy Lamarr was also an inventor and weapons systems developer for the US Navy during World War II. Her “frequency hopping” technology led to the development of spread-spectrum communication technology (think BlueTooth and Wi-Fi).

Grace Hopper, the First Computer

Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist who served in the United States Navy Reserve during World War II. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer.

Stephanie Kwolek, Protective Kevlar®

While with DuPont in 1971, Stephanie Kwolek discovered a liquid polymer solutions that eventually led to the invention of Kevlar®. Kevlar® is the tougher-than-steel synthetic material used in a variety of modern applications, including body armor.

Patsy Sherman, ScotchgradTM

Quite by accident, Patsy Sherman and her partner Sam Smith developed the versatile stain repellant and material protector known as Scotchgard™. ScotchgardTM is used today in countless settings, including homes, laboratories and medical facilities.

Women Moving Mountains Today

While things are much different than they were 100 years ago, women are still grossly outnumbered when it comes to leadership positions in the work force, especially larger/Fortune 500 companies. Below is a list of some of today’s most prominent (and up-and-coming) women who are shaking up the status quo.

Julie Smolyansky, CEO, Lifeway Foods

Our list of powerful modern women would be remiss if we didn’t include our CEO Julie Smolyansky. Julie became the youngest female CEO of a publicly traded company in 2002 and has since grown Lifeway’s annual profits to over $100 million in 2013.

Elizabeth Holmes, CEO, Theranos

Elizabeth Holmes, at 30 years old, is America’s youngest self-made female billionaire. But what’s really impressive is her company, Theranos, which is shaking up the medical testing industry by revolutionizing the way blood samples are taken and processed (hint: less time, less blood, lower cost to the consumer).

Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube

One of the initial employees of Google, Susan Wojcicki is now the CEO of YouTube, one of the largest search engines in the world. Wojcicki recently took over this position and was formerly the senior vice president of Advertising & Commerce at Google.

We’re looking forward to updating this list as women continue to make important and exciting contributions to modern society!