FEMINIST ROLE MODEL PROFILES: SOJOURNER TRUTH & WANGARI MAATHAI


Feminist Role Models / Monday, January 8th, 2018

​SOJOURNER TRUTH

“If women want rights more than they got, why don’t they just take them, and be talking about it.”

Sojouner Truth was born as Isabella Baumfree as a slave. After she was promised freedom from her owner and then denied it, she ran and successfully escaped. She used her freedom to be a voice for all. Not only did she fight to free slaves but she deeply believed in a society where all were free and treated equally.

Truth’s story teaches all children the importance of standing up for what you believe is right regardless of if it makes you popular, is the dominant belief, and having a strong voice. She also has a really interesting story for gender. She once stood up to a critic in the audience of her speech that accused her of not actually being a woman by showing her breasts to the crowd! She was also the first black woman to fight and win in court against a white man. Truth traveled the country advocating for a ban on corporal punishment, prison reform, and human rights—all of which are still popular debates today!

Thankfully, there are multiple books on Sojourner Truth:

WANGARI MAATHAI

“You must not deal with the symptoms. You have to get to the root causes by promoting environmental rehabilitation and empowering people to do things for themselves. What is done for the people whithout involvin them can not be sustained.”

Wangari Maathai is known for her significant work on both women’s rights and environmental protection. She was born and raised in Kenya, moved to America on a scholarship to complete her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and became the first woman in east and central Africa to earn her doctorate from the University of Nairobi. She created Green Belt Movement that is an organization that pays village womanto plant trees and improve the environment. The UN reports that she helped alomost 900 women! After winning a seat on the country’s parliament, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for, her “holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights, and women’s rights in particular.”

Maathai’s story shows children that societal problems are integrated and can addressed as a whole as Maathai did. Like Truth, she didn’t let statistics or standards determine what she would do. She earned her doctorate even though few women had done so before which led her to earn the Nobel Peace Prize and change the lives of millions through her efforts with Green Belt Movement and environmental protection. Her life should encourage you and your child to get out there and plant a tree this weekend!

There are so many books on Maathai as well:

This week’s research on awesome women comes from Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changes the World. It just came out last week and is such an easy, fun read! I totally recommend it for you educators, librarians, parents and anyone who is interested in reading about awesome women. Each woman is only about 3-4 pages and the author, Laura Barcella, just comes right out with the most important parts of their lives and contribution to feminism.

Tag me in your book hauls or when your little ones are enjoying the books. I love seeing them!

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