Each year we recognize March as Women’s History Month and celebrate women’s contributions to history and culture. The following five women are not only making history with their achievements, but are also reminding us of the benefits of multilingualism in a global society.
- Greta Thunberg
At only 15 years old, Greta Thunberg kicked off a global crusade to bring awareness to the climate change crisis when she began protesting outside the Swedish Parliament every Friday. The movement became known as Fridays for Future, with millions of students in multiple cities taking part. In 2018, Thunberg attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference where she addressed world leaders in fluent English, famously demanding “How dare you?” in response to their inaction.
- Esther Perel
New York Times best-selling author Esther Perel is fluent in nine languages, including English, French, Hebrew, and Yiddish. Making use of her prolific gift for languages, Perel is a world-renowned therapist, speaker, and consultant. Her TED Talks have been viewed over 30 million times and her popular podcasts help people navigate the familiar intricacies of personal relationships with new insight. She also works with large companies to develop strategies for promoting healthy working relationships.
- María Elena Salinas
The voice of the Latino community in America for more than thirty years, María Elena Salinas was also the first Latina to be awarded an Emmy for Lifetime Achievement. As a co-anchor for Noticiero Univision, she has interviewed every U.S. president since Carter, as well as Latin American politicians, activists, rebel leaders, and dictators. She’s won countless awards, including a Peabody Award, the Walter Cronkite Award, and a Gracie Award. Additionally, Salinas participated in the bilingual national Democratic debates in 2004 and 2007.
- Tammy Duckworth
American politician and retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel, Ladda Tammy Duckworth is a decorated veteran. Born in Bangkok, Thailand to an American citizen, Duckworth became fluent in Thai, Indonesian, and English as she moved with her family around Southeast Asia. During the Iraq War, Duckworth lost both her legs to combat injuries, but went on to become the first Thai woman elected to Congress as a representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district. As a politician, Duckworth makes it priority to fight for the rights of veterans, women, and minorities.
- Maria Eitel
Founder and chair of Girl Effect, Maria Eitel began her career in corporate America as the vice president for corporate responsibility at Nike. In 2004, she became founding president of the Nike Foundation. Shortly after, while in Ethiopia, she met a young girl who became the inspiration for her own foundation’s mission to aid and encourage adolescent girls in developing nations. She went on to found Girl Effect based on the idea that young girls and women have a chance to stop poverty before it even begins if they are supported and provided with the same opportunities to engage in the economy as young men.
By: Kelli Drummer-Avendano
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