Hello andieanderin community,
We started andieanderin to celebrate women and to educate ourselves on those who have paved the way for so many of the freedoms and rights we have today. The women we have showcased are diverse in background with contributions that have spanned sports, activism, entertainment, science, politics, and more. Women who have shaped and are continuing to shape the world we live in. Like many others, the Black Lives Matter movement has made us stop to listen and learn. We are motivated more than ever to continue our mission of celebrating influential women and will be funneling our energy towards sharing stories of influential women of color for the weeks to come.
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Sania Mirza is a path-breaking athlete who almost single-handedly put Indian women's tennis on the global map. She is the first and so far only Indian female player to have won a Grand Slam title in any format, and is also the only player to have broken into the top 30 of the WTA singles rankings.
Sania, her name meaning brilliant, was born in Mumbai on November 15, 1986. For most of her life, Sania has lived in Hyderabad. At the age of six, she started playing tennis, her father Imran Mirza has been her primary coach ever since. In 2005, at the age of 19, Sania became the first Indian woman to win a Women’s Tennis Association event. She is the first and so far the only Indian female player to have won a Grand Slam title in any format.
Sania's doubles partnership with Martina Hingis is widely celebrated for its style and success. In 2015 and 2016, Sania and Martina were the best doubles players in the world, winning three Slams and two Women’s Tennis Association Finals titles.
Sania has received several accolades for her achievements in tennis; named one of the "50 Heroes of Asia" by Time in October 2005. In March 2010, The Economic Times named Sania in the list of the "33 women who made India proud.” Sania was appointed as the UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia during the event held to mark the International Day To End Violence Against Women on November 25, 2013. Last but not least, Sania was named in Time magazine's 2016 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Sania's popularity with the Indian masses has earned her a number of endorsement deals, and she has also taken up modeling on occasion. Today, Sania is a sporting and socio-cultural icon in India, whose stature rivals that of the top cricketers in the country.
"I don’t play tennis to prove a point to anyone. I play for my country and myself. It’s not changing what people say or think. It’s about what I can do. If I feel I have the ability to achieve something and haven’t used my potential to that end, I’ll keep trying till I succeed."
Dorothy Irene Height
Dorothy Irene Height, an unsung heroine from the Civil Rights Movement, spent most of her life battling for the empowerment of women and blacks. She had the ear of U.S. presidents from Eisenhower to Obama.
Born in VA in 1912, and growing up in PA, Dorothy was an exceptional student, winning a scholarship to Barnard College. After arriving at Barnard, Dorothy could not attend, as the college had already admitted the 2 blacks it accepted per year at the time. Dorothy instead earned both her bachelor's and master’s degrees at New York University in just 4 years and did postgraduate studies in social work. By 1933, Dorothy became a leader of the United Christian Youth movement, working for reforms in the nation’s criminal justice system, preventing lynching, and for free access to public accommodations.
In 1937, at 25 years old, she was an assistant director at the Harlem YWCA. This is where Dorothy has stated her life was forever changed.She was chosen to escort First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to a National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) meeting. where she also met NCNW’s founder and president, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, who was immediately impressed with her. They became close friends and she was then mentored by her. In 1957, 2 years after Dr. Bethune’s death, Dorothy became NCNW’s president. She held the position until 1998 when she became Chair and President, a title she held until her death in 2010 at 98 years young.
During the Civil Rights Movement, while so many women were playing vital roles that weren’t featured in the spotlight, Dorothy had a seat at the table. She was often the only woman in the room with Dr. King and the rest of the “Big Six” group of male leaders as they planned strategies. A cornerstone of NCNW’s civil rights strategies was Wednesdays in Mississippi, which brought together prominent White and Black northern women with Black and White southern women, educate themselves and each other, and create bridges of understanding between the geographies.
“Civil rights are civil rights. There are no persons who are not entitled to their civil rights. We have to recognize that we have a long way to go, but we have to go that way together.”
In 1988 Ellen Ochoa began working at NASA as a research engineer at Arnes Research Center. In 1990, she moved to the Johnson Space Center and was selected by NASA to be an astronaut. Making Ellen Ochoa the world's first Latina female astronaut and the first Latina woman to go to space in 1993.
Born on May 10, 1958, in Los Angeles, California, Ellen Ochoa received her bachelor’s degree in physics from San Diego State University and both her master of science and doctorate degrees at Stanford University. Ellen is also a co-inventor on three patents and has authored several technical papers. She also has six schools named after her throughout the US.
A mission specialist and flight engineer, Ochoa is a veteran of four space flights, logging nearly 1000 hours in orbit. Her technical assignments have included flight software and computer hardware development and robotics development, testing and training. She has served as Assistant for Space Station to the Chief of the Astronaut Office, lead spacecraft communicator in Mission Control and Acting Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. She currently serves as Director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Ochoa's numerous awards include NASA's Exceptional Service Medal (1997), Outstanding Leadership Medal (1995) and Space Flight Medals (2002, 1999, 1994, 1993). Besides being an astronaut, researcher, and engineer, Ochoa is a classical flutist. She lives in Texas with her husband, Coe Fulmer Miles, and their two children.
“Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars”
Mary Church Terrell
Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African American Women to graduate from college, and rose to prominence during the battles for universal suffrage and Civil Rights. Mary was also a founder of National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and a charter member of the NAACP.
Mary Church Terrell has incredible public speaking skills, which led her to take up lecturing as a profession. She became a friend of and worked with W.E.B. DuBois. DuBois is who invited Mary to become one of the charter members when the NAACP was founded.
Mary Church Terrell also served on the Washington, DC school board, from 1895 to 1901 and again from 1906 to 1911, the first African American woman to serve on that body. Her success in that post was rooted in her earlier activism with the NACW and its partner organizations, which worked on education initiatives focused on black women and children, from nurseries to adult women in the workforce. In 1910, she helped found the College Alumni Club.
During the 1920s, Mary Church Terrell worked with the Republican National Committee on behalf of women and African Americans. She voted Republican until 1952, when she voted for Adlai Stevenson for president. Though Mary was able to vote, many other black men and women were not, due to laws in the South that essentially disenfranchised black voters. In 1940, she published her autobiography, A Colored Woman in a White World, which described her personal experiences with discrimination.
Mary Church Terrell continued her lecturing, volunteer work, and activism until the end. With fiery speeches and a push in the back, she demanded that we all go forth and do some good. We have a responsibility to lift each other up as we climb, she said, in order to make the world a better place for all.
"I cannot help wondering sometimes what I might have become and might have done if I had lived in a country which had not circumscribed and handicapped me on account of my race, that had allowed me to reach any height I was able to attain."
Patsy Mink is remembered as a woman who dealt with the personal discrimination she had felt as a woman and an Asian-American by dedicating her career to creating public policies to open doors for women and minorities. The first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Asian-American woman to serve in Congress.
Patsy was a champion of women’s and civil rights, health care, welfare, and education, building some of the most influential coalitions in Congress. In 1972 Patsy co-wrote, sponsored and secured the passage of Title IX, which prohibited gender discrimination by federally funded institutions. The legislation is perhaps best known for ensuring equal opportunities for women in college athletics. She also introduced the first comprehensive Early Childhood Education Act. Also a strong environmental advocate, and after her career in Congress, Patsy was appointed by President Carter as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs in 1976.
After her death in 2002, Title IX was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.
“Women have a tremendous responsibility to help shape the future of America, to help decide policies that will affect the course of our history.”