Familius.com Shop

A woman teaching two kids and giving one a high five.

3 Women Who Are Still Changing the World

Over the years, there have been thousands of women who made a difference, from making discoveries in science to pioneering civil rights movements. Today, there are women who are still changing the world.

Kathy MacMillan and Manuela Bernardi highlight many of these outstanding famous women in their books She Spoke and She Spoke Too. Based on the idea that “when you speak up, you can help others understand issues in a new way, challenge injustice, and bring about real change,” these books teach the importance of learning about the women who are changing the world and the changes their voices have made so that we, too, can speak up.

Real change starts with a single voice. So let’s start small and take a look at three women who are still changing the world.

Leymah Gbowee

A victim of a brutal civil war in 1989 Liberia, Leymah Gbowee became a social worker to help child soldiers. Later, she funneled her anger at the civil war into non-violent protest efforts and founded the Women in Peacebuilding Network. Gathering women to pray in the streets for peace, her protests awarded her an audience with Liberia’s president. Leymah demanded that the president attend peace talks with the warring factions. She and several hundred women camped out in the hallway until the factions reached an agreement. She received a Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent protest work, but her achievements didn’t stop there.

In 2012, Leymah founded the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa. It is an organization that provides education, leadership, and community empowerment to youth and women. As the president of this foundation, Leymah is still striving to ensure that future generations in Liberia are peaceful, reconciled, and empowered.

Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor had always wanted to be a lawyer. She attended Princeton University and Yale Law School, and later worked in criminal law. In 1984, Sonia moved from criminal law, where the cases involved robberies, police brutality, and murders, to intellectual property law. Her career led her to become a federal judge in the US District Court, appointed by George H. W. Bush. Then President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Court of Appeals in 1997. And finally, President Barack Obama appointed her to the US Supreme Court in 2009. She was the third woman and first Hispanic American to hold a seat on the Supreme Court.

Sonia still serves on the Supreme Court, striving to speak for all people equally. She fights for the rights of defendants and criminal justice reform and is known to embrace diversity. Diagnosed at an early age with type 1 diabetes, Sonia knows what it’s like to be different. She even wrote the children’s book Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You to teach kids that “whatever condition they bear in life, they are special in a good way.” Influenced by this mindset, Sonia’s work in the Supreme Court often tackles issues of race, ethnic, and gender identity.

Read more about the story behind Sonia’s book at npr.org.

Zuzana Čaputová

Zuzana Čaputová grew up in Pezinok, Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia, and studied law at Comenius University Faculty of law in Bratislava. She began her career in the local government before opening a private practice as an attorney. Zuzana first became known for fighting to halt the expansion of a nearby toxic waste dump that was causing high rates of cancer in her hometown. After fourteen years, Zuzana won her case and the Slovakian Supreme Court shut down the dump, winning Zuzana the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize. In 2019, as a divorced mother with no political experience, Zuzana ran for President of Slovakia and won, becoming Slovakia’s first female and youngest-ever president. Having promised honesty and to be a voice for the people who were forgotten, Zuzana worked to root out government corruption.

Zuzana is still continuing her work for equality, the environment, and civil rights while in office. She has campaigned for the police force to be an independent institution without political influence; made plans for changing Slovakia’s judicial system; worked to phase out coal mining and power generation, bringing Slovakia into the Powering Past Coal Alliance; and spoken out for LGBTQIA+ and abortion/reproductive rights. Zuzana has fulfilled her promises to the people of Slovakia, leading to the citizens naming her the most trusted politician in a 2021 poll.

Read more about these women and other inspiring women in Kathy MacMillan and Manuela Bernardi’s books She Spoke and She Spoke Too.

Learn how to study women’s history all year, not just during Women’s History month, with our article “6 Tips for Sharing Women’s History with Kids All Year Round.”

To discover how you and your children can make a difference like these women, read our article, “6 Ways Your Child Can Make a Difference.”

Children’s Books about Inspirational Women

Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.

Scroll to Top