In honor of National Women’s History Month, I have six women who in various ways are changing the world one woman at a time.

Michelle Obama –admire Michelle for many reasons – her intelligence, compassion, her dedication and passion towards causes like education and healthy eating that are near and dear to my heart. She’s many of the things I will always want to be – an amazing role model for women and girls, a brilliant lawyer, profound speaker. She and the President’s range of comic faces while reading Where The Wild Things Are to children at the White House Easter Egg Roll are so endearing you know that they are incredible parents.

Michelle is also a woman who maintains grace and dignity in the presence of white nationalist vitriol. On The Ellen Show, February 1, 2018 Obama gave great advice to those of us in America who are fearful of the current climate. The former First Lady said, “We show empathy, we care for each other, you know, we do have a lot in common. That’s what it means to lead with hope and not fear,” Obama continued. “And that’s all we have, is hope.” How right she is and another reason she has my undying admiration. I imagine that Malia and Sasha will grow up to be outstanding role models, too.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayer, and Elena Kagan – Two of the Supreme Court Justices, Ginsberg and Sotomayer, have overcome daunting odds – discrimination, poverty, and serious family illness to persevere. I admire them not simply because their smart, capable women who have ascended to the highest court in the land, but because they remained true to themselves. In 1995 Sotomayer was a fearless federal judge who single-handedly saved Major League Baseball from a devastating strike. Being a Minnesota Twins fan, I love baseball and it was crucial not to have a strike. In 1996, Ginsburg wrote the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Virginia, which held that the state-supported Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women. And Kagan wrote a very humorous opinion in Kimbel v. Marvel Entertainment giving her the reputation as the justice most in touch with American pop culture. Each of these judges support rights which are important to me and many other women.

Lady Gaga – First, I love the six-time Grammy winner’s music. Beyond that, I admire Lady Gaga’s resilience, work ethic, dedication to her craft, and talent. I love that she’s made anti-bullying a pivotal part of her platform, because it’s a genuine problem and affects people the rest of their lives. She knows that because she was bullied too. We also share a common denominator in that we both suffer from chronic health conditions (she deals with Fibromyalgia and I Crohn’s), but try to live our lives as fully as possible. I looked forward to her 2017 Super Bowl performance the same way I did Prince’s in 2007 – two favorite musicians giving all-out stellar performances. Lady Gaga is another fabulous role model, not just for girls, but anyone feels like an outsider and suffers for their diversity.

Bette Midler – Like Lady Gaga, Midler has always had her own unique style. Midler is a multi-talented performer – actress, comedienne, singer, writer, Grammy winner, Broadway star, and two-time Tony winner (She was awarded a special Tony in 1974 for “adding luster to the Broadway season” and in 2017 for Best Actress in a Musical Comedy). In September, I had the privilege to see the Divine Miss M star in Holly Dolly! It’s an understatement to say her turn as the match-maker Dolly Levi was a joy to behold. During the performance, the then 70-year-old Midler ad-libbed some great lines stepping out of character seamlessly, taking the audience along with her. Midler sang and danced with an energy of someone half her age. She too, has overcome struggles – poverty, shyness, and professional failures, only to bounce back stronger than ever. For me, Midler is truly a living legend. 

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