Kori Carter is an American track and field World Champion, winning the Gold Medal in the 400M hurdles in 2017. She was a 9-time All-American at Stanford University where she won the NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the 400M hurdles, setting a collegiate record. She has been an AFH Member Athlete for over 7 years.
“If you can see it, you can be it.” -Elizabeth Marvel
Women’s History Month is not only an opportunity to honor the accomplishments of women, but also to provide inspiration for others. Women and their contributions have often been pushed to the shadows of history instead of celebrated to the extent they deserve. By putting the stories of women at the forefront, we are able to motivate real change in the world. I know this because the stories of amazing women have been a constant inspiration in my life. This inspiration was initially sparked by my mother and her love of reading.
My mom made sure that everywhere I went I always had a book in my hand. We weren’t allowed to watch TV on the weekdays. If my siblings and I weren’t doing homework our free time options were either playing outside or reading a book. We took weekly trips to the local library and something my mother would always do was find books that told the stories of black women in whatever I was interested in at the time. She brought me books about Mae C. Jemison and Madam C.J. Walker when I showed interest in science and math. I read books about Wilma Rudolph, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee because my mom saw how much I loved sports. I was constantly being exposed to new worlds with women who looked like me as my guides.
These women were rarely mentioned in my classrooms. Our education system focuses primarily on the lives of white men, which can often feel unrelatable for women and people of color. It limits our understanding of the world and fails to acknowledge important contributions of incredible individuals and social movements.
Growing up, I didn’t realize what my mother was trying to do for me. She knew that if I could see myself in the women I read about, I would see that my potential was limitless. I gained the confidence to try new things because their stories told me I was more than capable. Reading about women accomplishing their goals and dreams told me that there was no reason I couldn’t accomplish mine.
I’m forever grateful to my mother for exposing me to a world where my gender was an indication of my strength and intelligence, not of my limits. Women’s History Month is a great opportunity to build female self-efficacy by spotlighting strong role models. However, the work does not stop at learning about these women. We must also invest more resources in an effort to end gender inequality. Here are some easy ways you can do this:
- Buy from women-owned businesses.
- Get girls involved in sports! I know personally that being an athlete has given me so many benefits.It has bolstered my self-esteem, helped me to become a leader, given me long-lasting friendships, and exposed me to cultures from across the world. Also, did you know 94% of women who hold C-suite level positions are former athletes?
- Watch women sports! We’re really out here balling, and the national women’s soccer team and WNBA are at the forefront of social justice.
- Mentor young women in any way you can.
- And of course, read books about great women and share them!