Angela Merkel


Angela Merkel was recently voted in for her forth term as Chancellor of Germany. Regarded the current Leader of the Western world by some,  she has strived to make the German voice the most rational in a world with a growing sense of populism and isolationism. And because I have a soft-spot for all things STEM, I have to also point out that she received her Doctorate in Chemistry in 1986.

Jennifer Brockman


Jennifer Brockman was named program director of the newly formed Sexual Assault and Education Center at the University of Kansas in 2016, bringing her 16 years of victim advocacy experience to the university. Recently, she has spearheaded an art installation on campus called “What Were You Wearing”, which re-creates the clothes victims were wearing before their assault, accompanied by personal testimonials. “We’re hoping students can see that this narrative they’re fed — that someone’s clothing causes sexual violence — is false.”

What Were You WearingJennifer Sprague

The biggest gut-punches are probably the children’s clothing throughout the piece. One testimonial: “A sundress. Months later my mother would stand in front of my closet and complain about how I never wore any of my dresses anymore. I was 6 years old.”

Edith Windsor


RIP Edith Windsor, who passed away on Tuesday, September 12th. Edith was a LGBT activist and plaintiff in the historic United States vs. Windsor case, which overturned a section of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. This ruling directly paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage two years later.

Alex Wubbels


Two days late on this post (I’m the worst). The good news is that unless you’ve been living under a rock these past two weeks, you have already heard of badass Alex Wubbels, the Utah nurse who was violently arrested, but never charged, for refusing to go against hospital policy (and the law) by removing blood from an unconscious patient. The body-cam video quickly went viral.

The patient in question was involved in an accident when another motorists, while speeding away from police, crashed into the patient; resulting in significant burns bad enough that paramedics had to sedate. Because the patient was not under arrest or conscious to give consent, it would have been unlawful to take blood. Because you know, the Constitution. Detective Jeff Payne, who was somehow in a “Blood Draw Unit” that apparently doesn’t teach when you can and cannot draw blood, went ballistic.

Alex was pretty calm and collected during the encounter before the arrest, which is amazing in itself because I would have been a high-stressed anxious mess with cops in my face for any reason whatsoever. So yeah, huge props to this dope nurse.

BONUS BADASSERY: Alex is also a two time national alpine ski champion who competed in the 1998 and 2002 Olympics, because of course she did.


“Look at me navigate this Constitutional Law course”

Dianne Feinstein


You don’t drop out, you take defeat after defeat after defeat, but you keep going. – Dianne Feinstein

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) started her rise to badassery in extremely tragic circumstances: going from the San Francisco board of supervisors (and the first female chair), to being appointed mayor following the double-assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk.

Since then, it’s been a flurry of other firsts: the first woman to sit on the Judiciary committee, the first female chairwoman of the Rules Committee, first woman to co-chair the inaugural committee, and the first female chair of the Senate intelligence committee. She was instrumental in the assault weapons ban of 1994 and is currently fighting to revive the ban since its lapse.

In December of 2012, she fought against both the C.I.A. and a Barack Obama White House to share a summary report of post-9/11 used torture techniques to the public, and is still fighting to get the whole report (7,000+ pages) released.

Ruth Pfau


Not all of us can prevent a war; but most of us can help ease sufferings—of the body and the soul.

Ruth Pfau

A day late due to travel for work, but here we go!

Dr. Ruth Pfau was a German-born physician and nun who dedicated her adult life to the fight to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan through both a medical campaign, as well as a moral one. She was appointed as the Federal Adviser on Leprosy to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in 1979 and while not completely eradicating the disease, was able to help drive the number of cases from 19,398 in the 1980s to 531 in 2016. It is estimated that the 157 leprosy clinics she established across the country treated over 56,780 people, helping Pakistan to be listed as one of the first Asian country to have leprosy “controlled” by the World Health Organisation in 1996. These efforts and her life of service earned her the nickname “The Mother Theresa of Pakistan”. Dr. Pfau passed away earlier this month on August 10th. She was 87.

Pauli Murray


photo by Schlesinger Library / Radcliffe Institute / Harvard University

Pauli Murray was a civil rights and women’s rights activist, a poet, a lawyer, an author, and an Episcopal priest (the first African American woman to be ordained). She was friends with Langston Hughes in her youth and Eleanor Roosevelt throughout her adult life. She also a co-founder of the National Organization for Women with Betty Friedan. Her top school choices for undergraduate and law schools denied her because of her race or gender, and yet she still persisted and kicked ass at Howard University; her senior thesis directly helped Thurgood Marshall in Brown vs. Board of Education. She was appointed to the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women by President John. F. Kennedy. In 1965 she co-authored “Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII”, which was so influential that Ruth Bader Ginsburg listed her as a co-author in her Reed vs. Reed brief.

The more I read about Pauli Murray, the more my head spins. She was so incredibly ahead of her times and yet did not let that stop her from laying down the foundations to help the later civil rights and women’s rights movements.

Further (wonderful) Reading:

The Many Lives of Pauli Murray – The New Yorker

Here’s The Perfect Candidate To Replace North Carolina’s Racist Silent Sam Statue – Huffington Post

Rachel Ignotofsky


Photo by Thomas Mason IV

Designer and Illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky was briefly mentioned in an earlier post when talking about her book Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World. Well, she’s back at it again with her new book Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win.

I loved to read when I was young (a passion that I’m glad is still alive and well). Looking back, I don’t recall too many of my fiction books having a protagonist that wasn’t male (talking animal books included), or ones that delved into the wonderful history of great female pioneers. How sad is that?! I’m so happy to see more and more children books detailing female badass world-shakers that can be enjoyed by both girls and boys. I am very quickly building up a collection for my future children and hope that they are just as passionate about reading as I was, and that it will be normal for them to have role models of every gender, race, and religion.


Rachel has an Etsy store, if you’d like to check it out

Susan Collins & Lisa Murkowski


Short and sweet today:

Because. They. Were. The. Only. Ones. That. Tried. To. Stop. This. Nonsense.

Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) were the only GOP senators to vote “No” across the board during the recent Health Care circus that was the Republican repeal efforts; including a “No” for the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would have increased the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million in 2026 relative to current law as estimated by The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). Psssst, John McCain voted “Yes”

While I don’t share a lot of their views in terms of governance, these two women are true mavericks.

Laverne Cox


In 2014, the ridiculously talented Laverne Cox was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a daytime Emmy for her portrayal of Sophia Bush in Orange Is the New Black. If you’re one of the five people to haven’t yet seen the Netflix show, I highly recommend it. One month earlier, she was the first openly transgender person to be on the cover of Time magazine. Aside from being a great actress, she is also a dedicated activist for the LGBT community, receiving the Stephen F. Kolzak Award by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) in 2014, given to “openly LGBT people who have made a significant difference in promoting equality for the community”.

Further Reading:

Laverne Cox flawlessly shuts down Katie Couric’s invasive questions about transgender people – Salon

Laverne Cox Is the First Transgender Person Nominated for an Emmy — She Explains Why That Matters – Time