From activists to artists: highlighting icons of Women’s History Month

As we step into Women’s History Month, we shine a spotlight on 11 extraordinary women whose contributions have left a significant mark on history.

This March, parents and educators can take time to celebrate Women’s History Month with kids and teach them about the achievements of remarkable women who have shaped our world. These women are also featured in our full list of 24 female changemakers—print these Women Who Dared to Dream Cards and Poster to see them all.

From scientists to poets, activists to astronauts, the following women have shattered barriers, defied norms, and inspired generations:

1. Marie Curie

Marie Curie was an icon of scientific achievement. A pioneering physicist and chemist, she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and remains the only person—man or woman—to have won Nobel Prizes in two different scientific fields. Curie helped discover two radioactive elements: polonium and radium.

Her groundbreaking research on radioactivity laid the foundation for advancements in medicine and physics. During World War I, she created and operated mobile x-ray units called “Little Curies” to help doctors treat wounded soldiers.

“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.”
– Marie Curie

2. Maya Angelou

Renowned poet, author, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou’s literary contributions have resonated deeply with many individuals around the world.

Her work, including the acclaimed autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” reflects on themes of identity, resilience, and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. In 2010, Angelou received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”
– Maya Angelou

Tip: Share this biographical worksheet about Maya Angelou with young learners so they can learn more about her story, or have them reflect on her quote above by using this Maya Angelou quote response worksheet.

3. Malala Yousafzai

As a young woman living in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai captured the world’s attention by fearlessly advocating for the right to education for girls.

In 2012, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, sparking worldwide outrage and resulting in Pakistan’s first Right to Education bill and a $10 million education fund in her honor. She is the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate and continues to be a powerful voice for change.

“When someone takes away your pens you realize quite how important education is.”
– Malala Yousafzai

Tip: Inspire young learners with Malala’s story by using the following resources! Click to view them all: Malala: Education Advocate, Malala: Nobel Laureate, Malala: Interview, Malala and Me: Stand Up for Learning!, Stand Up Like Malala.

4. Ellen Ochoa

Astronaut, engineer, musician, and the first Hispanic woman to travel to space, Ellen Ochoa has inspired generations with her achievements.

Ochoa flew on her first space mission on the Discovery space shuttle in 1993. After retiring from spacecraft operations, she served as Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, becoming the first Hispanic and second female director in the space center’s history.

By reaching for the stars (both literally and figuratively!), Ochoa has been a trailblazer for Hispanic women in STEM.

“What everyone in the astronaut corps shares in common is … motivation, perseverance, and … the desire to participate in a voyage of discovery.”
– Ellen Ochoa

Tip: Students can learn more about Ellen Ochoa with this Informational Reading Comprehension Biography, and younger kids can celebrate her legacy with this Ellen Ochoa Coloring Page.

5. Clara Barton

Known as “the Angel of the Battlefield,” Clara Barton was a pioneering nurse who founded the American Red Cross.

While traveling through Europe, she tended to wounded soldiers under the International Red Cross, and upon returning to the US, she established the American version of the organization by writing pamphlets, lecturing, and meeting with President Rutherford B. Hayes, laying the foundation for one of the most prominent humanitarian organizations in the world.

Barton was also a suffragette, giving speeches in support of women’s right to vote. She led by example in the classroom, on the battlefield, and in the boardroom, and opened many Americans’ eyes to women’s abilities and contributions to society.

“I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.”
– Clara Barton

Tip: As you teach students about Clara Barton, use these worksheets to guide their learning! Read a Clara Barton biography, assemble a Clara Barton paper doll, or print a Clara Barton coloring sheet.

6. Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison was the first African American woman in space. After receiving her degree in chemical engineering, she became a doctor, working with the Peace Corps in West Africa. Later, Jemison joined NASA and flew aboard the shuttle Endeavor. Jemison’s story serves as a symbol of perseverance and ambition, and she continues to inspire future generations to pursue careers in science, medicine, and engineering.

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”
– Mae Jemison

Tip: Use these resources to learn more about Mae Jemison! There’s a worksheet for every grade level. Click through them all: Introducing Mae Jemison, the Star, Who is Mae Jemison?, The Star, Mae Jemison, All About Mae Jemison Reader, Write About Mae Jemison, Mae Jemison Mini Book, Two Truths and One Lie: Mae Jemison.

7. Wangari Maathai

Environmental activist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai was a champion for sustainable development and women’s rights. By founding the Green Belt Movement, she empowered communities to plant trees and combat deforestation in Kenya. Through her efforts, 40 million trees have been planted, mostly by women, across Kenya, leaving a lasting legacy of environmental stewardship.

“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.”
-Wangari Maathai

Tip: Inspire kids to appreciate the Earth with Wangari Maathai’s environmental activism! These worksheets can help: Biography of Wangari Maathai, All About Wangari Maathai, All About Wangari Maathai Reader.

8. Joy Harjo

As the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo has written poetry that features Native imagery, history, and ideas, while also addressing themes of feminism and music.

Harjo is a member of the Mvskoke Nation and belongs to Oce Vpofv (Hick­o­ry Ground), and her writing offers a powerful voice for Native American experiences.

“All cultures and peoples turn to poetry during times of celebration, transformation, and challenge . . . when ordinary language cannot carry meaning beyond our understanding.”
– Joy Harjo

9. Eleanor Roosevelt

A formidable force for social justice and human rights, Eleanor Roosevelt was a diplomat, activist, and the longest-serving First Lady of the United States.

Even before her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, became president, she was active in helping her community by working with the Red Cross, investigating poor working conditions at factories, visiting soldiers, and helping immigrants adjust to life in the US.

Eleanor Roosevelt participated in the League of Women Voters, created millions of jobs through the National Youth Administration, and helped write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the United Nations. Her advocacy for civil rights, women’s rights, and marginalized communities continues to inspire generations of activists around the world.

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Tip: Eleanor Roosevelt’s accomplishments are too many to name! Help kids discover more of her achievements with these printables: Historical Heroes: Eleanor Roosevelt, Women in History: Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt Coloring Page.

10. Katherine Johnson

Mathematician and NASA pioneer Katherine Johnson’s calculations were critical to the success of the first manned spaceflight.

Her work at NASA, including calculating trajectories for the Apollo missions, played a pivotal role in the development of the space program and demonstrated the brilliance of African American women in STEM fields, despite many hurdles they faced at the time.

“I asked questions; I wanted to know why. They got used to me asking questions and being the only woman there.”
– Katherine Johnson

Tip: Kids can use these worksheets to discover more about Katherine Johnson’s life and legacy! Click to view: Who is Katherine Johnson?, All About Katherine Johnson, All About Katherine Johnson Reader, Katherine Johnson Mini Book.

11. Patsy Takemoto Mink

As the first woman of color and first Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress, Patsy Mink fought tirelessly for gender and education equality. 

She co-authored the landmark Title IX legislation, which made it illegal to discriminate against a person in educational programs or activities on the basis of sex, leaving an enduring legacy of equal opportunity for women. After her death, Title IX was officially renamed the Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.

“It is often more important to be ahead of the majority and this means being willing to cut the first furrow in the ground and stand alone for a while if necessary.”
– Patsy Mink

Each of these remarkable women has left an enduring legacy that continues to shape our world today. You can continue to continue to carry their torch by teaching the new generation of learners about the contributions and accomplishments women have made.

If you need more inspiration or learning materials, look through our full Women’s History Month collection of 100+ resources on

The post From activists to artists: highlighting icons of Women’s History Month appeared first on Blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *