March is Women's History Month. In honor of it, TFK asked successful women about the women who inspire and motivate them. Some list pioneers in their fields or women who helped change the world. Other women credit their first role models—their mothers, teachers, or mentors. Who are the women most inspiring to you?
SYLVIA EARLE has explored and helped protect the world's oceans for the past 60 years. She has led more than 100 underwater expeditions. Earle's movement, Mission Blue, encourages others to help protect the oceans too.
"Three women made me believe that I should follow my dream of being a scientist: my mother, Alice Earle, who allowed me to explore at an early age; my teacher Edna Turner, who assured me it was okay to be different; and my hero, Eugenie Clark, who led by example on diving expeditions."
NATALIE COUGHLIN is a champion swimmer from Vallejo, California. She has won 12 Olympic medals. She shares the record for the most Olympic medals won by an American woman.
"ALICE WATERS, because she has used her success in the culinary realm to benefit the California public school system and schools nationwide through her Edible Schoolyard program. It teaches kids in a fun way. Through these programs, children are empowered with the knowledge of taking care of themselves and the environment."
Chef and restaurant owner CAT CORA is the first woman to be named an Iron Chef on the Food Network show Iron Chef America.
"ROSA PARKS and Mother Teresa were fierce in their beliefs. They never wavered in their determination to change the world for the better."
Artist and author FAITH RINGGOLD is known for her painted story quilts and books, which tell stories about African Americans.
"ROSA PARKS helped spark the civil rights movement by refusing to move to the back of the bus. My book If A Bus Could Talk tells her story."
Author LOIS LOWRY won the Newbery Medal in 1989 for Number the Stars and in 1993 for The Giver.
"Even as a child, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. But I don't recall wondering about who had written the books I loved—except Indian Captive, by LOIS LENSKI. I had not felt such a personal relationship with a book—and with its author—until that one. I read it again and again."
KAREN NYBERG is a NASA astronaut. She recently completed a six-month mission to the International Space Station.
"Everyone knows Sally Ride—the first U.S. woman in space—but she was one of six women who were selected as ASTRONAUTS in the late 1970s. They blazed the trail and made it possible for me and other women to go into space."
Primate expert JANE GOODALL spent 26 years studying chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Through the Jane Goodall Institute, she works to protect chimpanzees and improve the world for all living things.
"My mother, VANNE MORRIS-GOODALL, encouraged my love of animals and gave me books about them. After reading Tarzan of the Apes when I was 10, I wanted to live with animals in Africa. When I first traveled to Gombe to study chimpanzees, my mother was with me for the first three months. She said that if I really wanted something, worked hard, and never gave up, I would succeed."
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, from Arizona, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2012. She was shot in 2011. Now she fights for responsible gun ownership.
"I look up to ISABELLA GREENWAY, the first U.S. congresswoman in Arizona history. As a widow with three kids in the 1920s, she owned a factory, an inn, and an airline. In Congress, she worked hard to help veterans and the poor. Those things would be hard to achieve even today. She was a tough Western lady!"