My recent birthday was filled with literary gifts, including a set of 3D printed pants with Shakespeare quotes and this great t-shirt with a quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It reads:

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A recent trip to the doctor confirmed I am a mere 5 feet 1.5 inches tall. So, yes, I am little. And based on this t-shirt my family thinks I’m fierce. I hope that’s true. I do know that I have great respect for fierce women and look up to them as role models.

Therefore, for this t-shirt Tuesday, here’s a list of fierce ladies I love and an accompanying book that represents each woman. These women aren’t just role models, they support raising confidence and focusing on education for girls and women.

In a terrifying time when in the US initiatives with positive, helpful objectives like that of “Let Girls Learn,” are in jeopardy for political reasons at the whim of uneducated and ignorant leaders, we need to celebrate these women that continue to stand up for girls, children and people everywhere.

Elizabeth Warren

The US Senator is a great role model for women and her resistance to bowing to a male-dominated legislature that often tries to silence her even coined a movement.

“Nevertheless, she persisted.”

She’s a fighter for people and justice and that’s even embodied in her books. If you’d like to learn more about Senator Warren, you can check out some of her books, such as This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class

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Beyoncé

She’s a fierce feminist who leads by example. She has grace and class. She uses her music to promote confidence in girls.

“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.”
—Beyoncé

There are numerous unauthorized biographies on Beyoncé. I’m not interested in those. I am interested in the book Beyoncé stated in interview with Garage magazine that she’d love for her fans to read. It’s called What Will It Take To Make A Woman President? by author Marianne Schnall.

It’s a book that features interviews with politicians, public officials, thought leaders, writers, artists, and activists in an attempt to discover the obstacles that have held women back and what needs to change in order to elect a woman into the White House. She recommended this book back in March 2016, likely hopeful we’d finally figured it out. Sadly, we haven’t and this book is still extremely relevant, maybe more so than ever.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I’ve already discussed how great RBG is in a blog about how much my daughter loves her.  She read a book geared more towards kids called The Notorious RBG. It inspired my daughter to think about becoming a lawyer. For more inspiration, RBG also has a book called My Own Words where she discusses wide-ranging topics, including gender equality, the workways of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution.ruth bader.jpg

“Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is braver than most of us, I would argue. After being shot for being a girl who wanted an education, surviving and writing a book about it despite continued threats to herself and her family, she continues to fight for the right of women and girls to be educated. Fierce doesn’t even begin to describe her. It’s no wonder she is youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate ever. She even has her own day! On 12 July 2013, Yousafzai’s 16th birthday, she spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. The UN dubbed the event “Malala Day.”

If you have not read her book, run out and read it now. She’s an inspiration to everyone – men and women, boys and girls.

“There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.”
-Malala Yousafzai

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Bold in her writing and unafraid to speak her mind, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a fierce woman who probes and pokes at the realities of the world in a way that can sometimes make you uncomfortable while also saying that we all need to be made to feel more uncomfortable if we’re ever going to grow and learn to be better people and societies. While she’s written several great novels, including the acclaimed Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sunher TEDx talk turned book of essays called We Should All Be Feminists offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness.

“The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.” -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama’s ferocity is subtle. She guides and doesn’t push. She speaks and listens. She raises awareness without raising ire. I wish I had even half of her tact, grace and resilience. When faced with people who say things I find offensive or crazy or downright ignorant, I often think – how would Michelle Obama handle this situation?

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”
-Michelle Obama

She’s also a focused on helping children live better fuller lives. She champions causes for girl empowerment and healthy eating for children. And while we await what will come of the book deal the Obamas just signed, perhaps there is something to be gleaned about her from one her favorite children’s books (it’s a good one) – Where the While Things Are

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Jazz Jennings

It’s possible you may not have heard of Jazz Jennings, even though she now stars in her own reality show. And while I’m not a fan of reality TV, I think there are certain rare occasions it can help make the world a better place and her show is one of them. The show has the same title as her children’s book, which she co-wrote at a very young age to help other kids and to help other people better understand what it means to be transgender.

She gave a voice to a disenfranchised group that had not really had one before. She’s only now a teenager but she’s started to change the conversation and raise awareness and understanding for the transgender community. She has a children’s (I Am Jazz) and young adult book (Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teenthat should be mandatory reading for children, teens and adults.

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“No matter what your differences are, you have to embrace them and be proud of the way you are.”
-Jazz Jennings

 

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