Kira Cochrane on role models for young women

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Via Jenny Rohn and Martin Robbins this morning, I learned of a great article in the Sunday Guardian that speaks to the need for women role models. As writer and Guardian women’s editor Kira Cochrane leads off the article:

Young women desperately need role models – and what the media gives them is heiresses, sex objects, surgery addicts and emotional wrecks. There must be better suggestions.

Even before I became the father of a small woman, I tended to have a research laboratory composed primarily of women, including all three of my Ph.D. students.

I thought about this the other day when posting the top 5 search terms for Nobel laureates at the Foundation’s website. One of the five searches was for a woman – Marie Curie – an amazingly noteworthy woman scientist but who did her prize-winning work more than 100 years ago (Physics, 1903; Chemistry, 1911).

What about today? Who are the women role models? Not just in science – anywhere.

One recent one in our household has been Kelly Bruno, best-known nationally as a contestant on Survivor Nicaragua (don’t go to the site unless you want an autoplay advertisement – you know, because Survivor doesn’t get enough ad revenue). Kelly is a UNC-Chapel Hill medical student (Duke Biology/Pre-Med undergrad) who has been a below-the-knee amputee since an infant. She is the picture of persistence and accomplishment, physically as an endurance athlete and intellectually as a book author and future doc. The Ranger Up soldier website has a great overview of her triathlon record, including the Arizona and Original Ironman in Kona, and some of her own diary entries from 2007 where she supported other amputees in a Solider Ride run by The Wounded Warrior Project.

Sadly, she recently suffered a loss of her own – her physician father and own role model was killed during the Haiti earthquake earlier this year. He had been serving there on a mission for Food for the Poor with students and fellow faculty from Lynn University in Florida (four students and another faculty member were lost).

Other good profiles of Kelly Bruno are at Starcasm and her prosthetics supplier and sponsor, A Step Ahead.

Who do you suggest as other high-profile role models for young women?

Source: Kira Cochrane, Role models: someone to look up to, Guardian (UK), 31 October 2010.

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