Updated: Mar 4, 2020
A few years ago, Century Fox released the Movie “Hidden Figures” and from that point on, everyone knew the story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson and their important work at NASA. That’s what National Women’s History Month is all about - shining a light on the stories of powerful women of the past and present so that we can uplift and inspire those of the future.
You may not have realized, but Women’s History Month began in 1978, in Sonoma, CA, as a weeklong celebration. The idea of highlighting women’s contributions in history and society caught on and spread until 1980, when President Carter declared National Women’s History Week. Six years later, with the help of the Women’s History Project, Congress expanded the celebration to the entire month of March.
So I’m taking this opportunity to share with you some of the women of the past and present who inspire me the most. Hopefully, their stories will inspire and shed light on the strong women who formed our world.
Marie Curie (1867-1934)
Marie Curie was a wonder. Not only did she develop methods for the separation of radium from radioactive residues in sufficient quantities to allow for its characterization and the careful study of its properties - therapeutic properties in particular - but, she was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from a French University and was the first person (man or woman) to receive 2 Nobel Prizes in two distinct scientific fields.
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)
You may not have known, but nursing was not always practiced as it is today. Without the efforts of Florence Nightingale, our hospitals would not have the nightly rounds, kitchens, or laundries that they do today. The daughter of a wealthy British family, Nightingale pursued her God-given calling to become a nurse (against her parent’s wishes), going on to become a saving grace for the British army during the Crimean War. Not only did she set up laundries and kitchens for the sick, she spent every hour of her day making rounds, establishing her image as the “Lady with the Lamp”. Later, she published Notes on Hospitals which became the basis for how to properly run civilian hospitals.
Founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton is another pioneering woman in the health-and-wellness world. She was one of the nurses that helped the most during the US Civil and Franco-Prussian Wars, handing out supplies and helping heal the wounded. While in Switzerland during the Franco-Prussian War, she saw first-hand the Swiss Red Cross which became her example for The American Red Cross. Which, with Barton at its head, became largely devoted to disaster relief for the first 20 years of its existence.
Maryam Mirzakhami (1977-2017)
Maryam Mirzakhami was an Iranian mathematician who focused her efforts on the Teichmuller theory and hyperbolic geometry. As a result of her research, she was the first female winner of the Fields Medal, one of the highest achievements a mathematician can achieve. She was honored in Popular Science’s fourth annual “Brilliant 10”. Math was always my favorite subject and something that I continue to love as an adult, so I had to mention Mirzakhami on my list!
Sarah Breedlove (Madam CJ Walker) (1867-1919)
Since everyone loves a success story, you’ve got to hear about how Madam CJ Walker became the first self-made female, African-American millionaire. After suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss, Breedlove invented a line of hair pomades that helped heal her scalp. Once she created her product, her mother convinced her to change her name to something more memorable, so as she traveled around the country giving lecture-demonstrations, changing her name to Madam CJ Walker she eventually established Madam CJ Walker Laboratories to manufacture cosmetics and train sales beauticians to sell her products. (Sounds a lot like what we do in DoTerra!) An entrepreneur and businesswoman, Breedlove is another great woman to remember during this month.
Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994)
In 1960, Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field within a single Olympics. However, the most amazing part of her success story is that she grew up a sickly child who had to wear a brace on her leg after having been stricken with double pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio as a child - overcoming overwhelming odds not only to walk but become a world-class athlete.
Ruth Handler (1916-2002)
Ruth handler was a businesswoman and inventor of the Barbie doll! With her engineer-turned-toy-designer husband Jack Ryan, she was also the owner of Mattel Toys. After watching her daughter play with paper dolls as though they were adults, Handler wanted to create a doll who could represent all the possibilities a woman could find in the workplace and in daily life; from nurse to pilot to president to mother. Although Barbie has often been the object of criticism, she is a foundation of the American toy industry and her role (and thus the role of her creator) in our history is unforgettable.
St. Helena (~248-328)
I had to end with the most iconic woman that I could think of and my namesake, St. Helena. Empress of the Roman Empire and mother of Constantine the Great, (the first Emperor of Rome to convert to Christianity) St. Helena oversaw the construction of churches in the Holy Land and is revered by many as a Saint. She has been credited with finding the true cross upon which Jesus Christ is believed to have been crucified. I think that’s a positive place to end!
Let’s keep supporting and uplifting every woman we come across who is working to do amazing things with her life and time, family friends and neighbors. There are hundreds of Marie Curie’s just waiting to be pushed into the forefront of science, education, health, and more.
Essential Oils for Support, Friendship & Strength
Did you know that inhalation of essential oils quickly affects the limbic system of the brain which helps relay and respond to emotions? Try these powerhouse blends…
Patience: Try blending, Black Spruce, Bergamot & Juniperberry or try the DoTerra Forgive blend: This fresh and woody aroma can help to ground and soothe hurt feelings. Helping to inspire feelings of contentment, relief, and patience.
Energy: Try blending, Grapefruit, Lemon & Melissa or try the DoTerra
Arise blend: This citrusy and flowery blend helps to inspire feelings of joy and courage as you rise to meet the challenges of your goals and dreams.
Contentment: Try blending, Bergamot, Tangerine, and drop of vanilla extract or try the
DoTerra Citrus Bliss blend: This sweet citrus blend merges the benefits of citrus essential oils with vanilla to creating an invigorating and positive sensation as it freshens the air.
Emotional uplift: Try blending, Cedarwood & Frankincense
DoTerra Stronger blend: This bright and lemony blend is the perfect uplifter for any low day.
Hope: Not only is this bright and sweet oil blend the perfect accompaniment for any day, but all of its proceeds are also donated to doTERRA’s Healing Hands Foundation which supports efforts to fight human-trafficking worldwide….what better way to support women?!