March brings us International Women's Day, a time to celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
Also in March, Women's History Month is celebrated. So this week, we wanted to honor three incredible historical women who have broken barriers and made an impact in their fields: Georgia O’Keefe, Ella Fitzgerald and Coco Chanel.
Each of these women has a unique story that inspires us to push boundaries and achieve our own dreams.
Each is a fantastic role model for a young girl, learning about her opportunities in the world.
Georgia O’Keefe was a ground-breaking artist who redefined what art could be.
Ella Fitzgerald was one of the most influential jazz singers of all time. And Coco Chanel not only changed the way women dressed and thought about themselves but became a role model for female entrepreneurs for over a century.
Their stories remind us that anything is possible if we set our minds to it. So this International Women's Day, let's celebrate these amazing women and all that they have accomplished.
The mother of American Modernism and the first female painter to gain respect in the New York art scene.
O'Keefe is best known for her paintings of nature - flowers and desert landscapes.
Her work shows both the subject and her personal, emotional reaction to the subject - a layer of abstraction that had only really entered into the world of art at the turn of the 20th century.
Georgia O’Keefe was born on November 15, 1887, in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. She was the second of seven children.
Her father was a successful businessman and her mother was a stay-at-home mom. From the age of 12, Georgia knew she wanted to be an artist. She went to art school but found herself uninspired by a lot of the (at the time) formal styles she was taught.
After high school, Georgia studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. She then moved to New York City in 1916 and studied under William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League of New York. It was there that she met her future husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz.
The two shared a strong personal and professional relationship and Stieglitz encouraged her to take her art seriously as a profession.
In 1917, Georgia had her first solo art show at the Anderson Galleries in New York City. The paintings were of flowers and landscapes from her home state of New Mexico. She soon became known as a painter of American Southwest landscapes.
However, it was not until the 1920s that she started to become famous. In 1924, she had a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum that was very successful.
The following year, she had her first show at the Stieglitz Gallery in New York City. This show caused some controversy because people were not used to seeing paintings of flowers made in such a realistic way.
Georgia continued to paint throughout her life and was even honored with a one-woman show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1956, when she was 69 years old. She died on March 6, 1986, at the age of 98.
The "First Lady of Song", Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia.
Her father was a shipping clerk and her mother was a maid. Ella was the youngest of seven children.
Ella started singing when she was very young. When she was 12 years old, she won an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. After that, she started performing at clubs in Harlem.
In 1934, she won a contest on the radio show, "The Amateur Hour." This led to her being signed by the bandleader Chick Webb. Under Webb's guidance, Ella became one of the most successful jazz singers of all time. She performed with Webb's band until his death in 1939.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Ella had many hit songs, including "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," "I Got Rhythm" and "The Lady Is a Tramp." She also won 13 Grammy Awards.
Ella continued to perform until her death on June 15, 1996, at the age of 79.
Coco Chanel is the creator, strategist and marketer of the world's most famous perfume, Chanel No. 5. Over 100 years old (launched in 1921), Chanel No. 5 is still considered the most famous perfume on the market. In typical Coco Chanel style, the perfume was inspired by scents commonly used among the less chaste women of Paris in the 1920s.
She celebrated the freedom from formality and modesty that women of the roaring 20s discovered following the devastation of World War One.
Coco Chanel was born on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France. Her father was a cloth merchant and her mother was a singer. As a child, Coco loved to sew and make clothes for her dolls.
When she was a teenager, Coco moved to Paris and worked as a seamstress. In 1913, she opened her own fashion house, Chanel Modes.
In the roaring 1920s, Coco introduced the "little black dress" and the "bob haircut." Both took inspiration from working women, glamorizing the looks of the masses for the wealthy fashion elite.
Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971, at the age of 87.
Celebrating International Women's Day
International Women's Day is a day when girls are celebrated. International Women's Day is on the 8th of March, but you can celebrate International Women's Day for children anytime!
Read books by female authors, watch movies made by women, listen to music by female artists or listen to a podcast by a female host.
There are lots of great books, movies, and music by women that you can enjoy with your daughter! Use the time to explain why we need to support such creators, artists and thinkers.
Explain to your daughter that there truly is a whole world of opportunities out there waiting for her.
Spend time to talk about important women in our world today, some initial ideas could be,
- Scientists - Astronauts, for instance. Since humans have started leaving Earth, only 65 women have ever gone into space. The gap between female and male astronauts is closing however inspiring the next generation of female scientists is vital to keep this trend going.
- Politicians - no matter which side of the political divide you're on, there are inspiring stories to show that women are just as important in the seats of power as their male counterparts.
- Sports Stars - The sports world is full of incredible female athletes, whose dedication to their training and sport are excellent inspiration material for any young girl.
- Entrepreneurs - Support a female entrepreneur. Whether it's supporting a large successful multinational headed by a woman, or a local cafe. Women's day, and Women's history month, is a great time to take your daughter (or son) out for a treat and to talk to them about the importance of women.
Proud supporter of girls
We at Meland are a proud supporter of girls. We feel that education and empowerment is the best way to support long-term efforts to minimise the gender gaps we have in our society.
We're big proponents of learning through play and expanding opportunities for girls from an early age.
Our toys allow girls to develop creativity, through imaginative play and dress up; develop fine motor skills, though our arts and creative sets; and develop gross motor skills through sports and games.
Learning should be fun and engaging if it's going to take hold during early childhood. We believe in providing a wide range of options for young girls will ensure they find something that will inspire them to explore.
Women's Day, and Women's History Month are important dates on our calendar and we hope you've been inspired to take some time out with your daughter and that you have a wonderful time together.