Can-Do Women: Female Role Models for Young Girls

Actresses, musicians and celebs grab headlines. But female role models? Not always. Here are 11 positive female figures, historic and modern, to inspire daughters.

Let’s face it. The women publicized most frequently these days don’t always make the best female role models for young girls who need to grow up with self-confidence, class, independence and grit.

So why not kick the Kardashians to the curb and introduce the little lady in your life to these modern-day and old-school inspirational women? From the sciences to politics, the women featured in this gallery are sure to motivate your girl to change the world.

Note: All information from Click on each woman’s name or photo for a full biography.

Sally Ride

Dr. Sally Ride was the first American woman in space aboard the Challenger in 1983. We honor the astronaut and astrophysicist on her on her birthday, May 26, known as Sally Ride Day.



Ameilia Earhart

In 1928, Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Earhart was also the 16th woman to get a pilot’s license. The aviator was the first president of the Ninety-Nines, a female pilot organization that advanced women in aviation.



Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi is an activist and political opposition leader from Burma. She led a nonviolent movement for democracy in her home country and spent 15 years in custody for doing so. Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.



Marie Curie

Marie Curie is responsible for discovering the element radium – and also experimented with radioactivity. Thanks to her research, we have X-rays. Curie is a two-time Nobel Peace Prize winner – one in physics and one in chemistry.



Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice was the first African American woman to ever serve as the national security adviser to the United States – and as U.S. Secretary of State. Rice also was the first woman and first African American provost at Stanford University.



Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony was a civil rights activist in the women’s suffrage movement. Anthony co-founded the National Woman Suffrage Association and also spoke out against slavery.



Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist in the African American Civil Rights Movement. Parks famously refused to give up her bus seat to a white person in the racially segregated Alabama in 1955. She lived and died here in Detroit (you can visit the bus she made her stand on at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn).



J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter book series. While she was living on welfare and struggling to support her family, Rowling conceived the idea for the Harry Potter books. Because of the series’ success, she’s one of the wealthiest women in Britain today.



Katie Couric

Journalist Katie Couric started her career as a desk assistant at ABC. She worked her way up the ladder and, after working as a reporter at NBC, became a contributing anchor for Dateline and then an anchorwoman at Today. She was also the first-ever anchorwoman on CBS Evening News.



Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the president of Liberia. She’s the world’s first black female president, and she was also awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.



Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a U.S. Supreme Court justice, making her the second woman to ever serve as a Supreme Court justice. Ginsburg also was the first tenured female professor at Columbia University. She was director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in the 1970s.

This post was originally published in 2012 and is updated regularly.


  • How about the 1st female Supreme Court Justice-Sandra Day O’Connor. Or is she not liberal enough?

  • I can’t wait to share this with my son. When will we learn to stop having separate discussions about gender? The headline should read; “Female role models every kid should know.” I hope your daughter can change the world, but I expect my son to support her efforts because he knows she is smart and strong and capable.

  • Inspiring… I have shared with my daughter. Some of these were (and still are) my role models. :’ )

  • Interesting article! Just to add to the list of inspiring women above.


Leave a Reply

Enter Your Log In Credentials
Enter Your Log In Credentials

Send this to a friend

I thought you might find this article interesting:
Can-Do Women: Female Role Models for Young Girls
This is the link: