As 2013 has hit the midpoint in July, I’ve noticed that when I’m watching the news or catching up with really cool things to share on social media, there are a lot of women who are making names for themselves. To be fair, I find myself seeking them out now and I am intensely interested in the varied places where powerful women are. For instance, lots of women in the tech world are gaining momentum, as well as those in politics. There are 20 women in the Senate right now, the highest number ever in the history of the United States. Even New York Senator Kirsten Gillbrand said in her piece on the Huffington Post back in May, “Women’s voices are not better than men’s, they’re different and the broader perspective that we bring often leads to better results.” Maybe because I’ve taken a special interest in it lately, but I’ve noticed a lot of women in the start-up world who are entrepreneurs and there’s quite a bit of crossover into creating programs for girls. Here are 10 women who are changing the face of the world and who are doing great things. Some you may know and some may be new to you. Either way, I hope you check out their work and consider supporting the passionate causes they have worked toward.
Reshma Saujani 1 of 10
Reshma is currently running for Public Advocate in New York City. The daughter of Indian-American immigrants, Reshma and her family fled Uganda when it became too violent to live there. Ms. Saujani has worked at the White House as an intern at the Public Liaison Office for President Clinton and earned her Masters in Public Policy. Her passion to help young girls led to her launching of the site Girls Who Code which teaches teenage girls in New York the skills they need to be competitive in the technology world.
Amy Poehler 2 of 10
Amy Poehler has found her stride on her hit show Parks & Recreation, but she's also got a passion for encouraging young girls to be themselves. Her website, Smart Girls at the Party, gives us a glimpse into Amy being herself and showcases the talent and variety of girls who are making their way in the world. SGATP has a motto: Change The World By Being Yourself. What better advice to give young girls than that?
Lovette Ajayi 3 of 10
Better known as "Luvvie" of the award-winning Awesomely Luvvie humor blog and for her work in social media strategy, Lovette is passionate about online activism. She speaks to youth in Chicago about social media practices as well as runs the Red Pump Project alongside Karyn Brianne Watkins. The Red Pump Project is dedicated to raising awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Her dedication to this project and working toward creating safe and healthy lifestyles for women is admirable. Luvvie has also won the Women's Media Center 2012 Social Media Award for her work in the tech space. To get a taste of her humor, follow her on Twitter.
Eva Longoria 4 of 10
Not only is Eva an actress, restaurant owner, and cookbook author, but she finds time in her life to be named Philanthropist of the Year. Her charity, Eva's Heroes, helps developmentally disabled children. Of course, that's in addition to her work with PADRES Contra el CÃ¡ncer, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and OmniPeace. She's passionate about politics, having spoken at the Democratic National Convention last year, and seems committed to making as much of a difference as she can in this lifetime.
Alicia Silverstone 5 of 10
Actress Alicia Silverstone created her website, The Kind Life, as an homage to what has made her healthy over the last several years. Late last month she created a breast milk sharing program for vegan moms who aren't able to produce their own (or enough) breast milk for their babies through a blog post calling for milk. If that doesn't convince you that she's filling a void and doing great things, then check out her book The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet. Alicia doesn't just care that you feel great and lose weight. She wants to save the planet, people. That's serious dedication.
Melissa Harris-Perry 6 of 10
Professor and author, Melissa Harris-Perry, packs a wallop when she interviews guests and she knows how to ask the tough questions. Hosting an MSNBC show named after herself, Ms. Harris-Perry has gained ground nationally for a long time but has gained wide popularity in our social-media driven world. The hashtag #Nerdland refers to her site and you can follow along on Twitter with the fast-moving news she provides. Melissa is a professor of political science at Tulane University and is the founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project which is committed to gender, race, and politics in the south. She's the author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.
Mayim Bialik 7 of 10
I grew up with Mayim Bialik in the sense that I watched "Blossom" in my impressionable later teen years and also became a fan after seeing her in the movie "Beaches". Now, our family sits down to view "The Big Bang Theory" together. In addition to her acting career, Mayim has become a parent advocate for doing what is best for post parent and child. Her book, Beyond the Sling, explores attachment parents and a child-led approach that gives parents an inside view as she raises her children. She's a woman who pursued her PhD in neuroscience at UCLA and, to me, that gives girls quite a role model in getting their education as well as working hard at being a mother.
Aisha Tyler 8 of 10
I am going to come clean on this woman: I have a mad crush on her skills as a comedian, a gamer, and because she takes no crap from anyone. Aisha Tyler started in comedy and will be hosting Whose Line Is It Anyway? this coming fall, but I first started watching her seriously on another crush of mine: the animated show, Archer. Aisha's website includes her Girl on Guy podcast as well as her tour dates and recently released book Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation. If you haven't seen her monumental smackdown of gamers, check out her Facebook page for the note entitled "Dear Gamers". You'll be crushing on her before you know it.
Senator Wendy Davis 9 of 10
There was nothing better than watching Sen. Wendy Davis during her filibuster of the Texas legislature last month. At least, not for girls and women who are concerned about their biological rights. Sen. Davis struck a chord and campaigned hard to stop the Texas governor, Rick Perry, from pushing through legislation on abortion. Davis and colleagues put up a mighty fight and created a firestorm. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Sen. Davis became an unwitting celebrity overnight. For women like me, she became an unlikely hero as I learned of her single parenthood and tenacious champion of economic issues and watched, with awe, as she struck a chord in the heart of America's politics.
Malala Yousafzai 10 of 10
Even though Malala is still a young girl at age 16, she has taken on a role that even many women wouldn't want to tackle. After she was shot in the head and neck by the Taliban in late 2012, Malala became an education and women's rights activist. Most recently, she addressed the United Nations Youth Assembly on International Malala Day. She received the highest honor of being the winner of Pakistan's National Youth Peace Prize. She is most definitely a girl to support and follow. You can check out the Malala Fund here.
For another inspiring young girl, check out this video of Nada al-Ahdal escaping a forced marriage in Yemen.