B is for Brainy, Bold & Beautiful

The second in a series discussing the Class of 2030.

When I was young I loved watching the TV show The Bionic Woman. I particularly loved how Lindsay Wagner was portrayed. She was smart, she helped people, she was pretty, and she didn’t wear clothes my mother would ground me for life for wearing! This was a woman I could aspire to.

It’s been a long time since the Bionic Woman saved the day, but we still haven’t quite got role models for girls figured out. There is still a focus on outward appearance – make-up, hair, fashion. Thankfully, more and more we are hearing about role models who break that old mold – bright, young women who are making a difference in the world.

Take Emma Yang, for instance. She developed Timeless an app she developed to help her grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Or how about the Three Irish Teens, Sophie Healy-Thow, Émer Hickey, and Ciara Judge,  who won Google’s Science Fair using bacteria to grow food? Their experiment uses seeds treated with microbes that speed growth and increase yields by as much as 70%.

Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta wanted to help earthquake victims in Haiti and came up with Luminaid, an inflatable solar light that can pack flat, to help alleviate dangerous night-time conditions like the safety hazards of candles.

Likewise, Ann Makosinski, a Google Science Fair 2013 Award Winner, developed a human-powered flashlight to help the 1.4 billion people in the world without electricity who live in “light poverty”.

What do all these exemplary women have in common? They saw a need and were bold enough to think they could do something about it! They used their brains to create a way to help others – and not just people they know, they helped people in meaningful ways all over the planet.

These young women exemplify what I hope is a trend that will keep growing – a trend to inspire the Class of 2030. A trend where being brainy isn’t shunned, where it’s okay to be bold enough to follow your dreams, and where people aren’t afraid to put brainy and bold together to help others. That would be beautiful.

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