International Women’s Day 2019: Celebrating Local Leaders, Celebrities and Everyday Heroes

International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8 and will be celebrated with a theme of #BalanceforBetter because “a balanced world is a better world” — and we couldn’t agree more.

As we get ready for this day to celebrate women and continue to work toward equality, we rounded up a few of our favorite articles about inspirational women. Read on and then find out how you can get involved on March 8 and beyond.

38 of Chicago’s Top Black Women of Impact 2019 Name the Women Who’ve Inspired Them Most

38 of Chicago’s Top Black Women of Impact 2019 (and the Women Who Have Impacted Them)
Photo by Justin Eisner on Unsplash.

In honor of Black History Month, we asked some of Chicago’s top black women leaders about the women who have impacted their lives the most.

Chicago’s 25 Most Powerful Women 2018

Chicago's 25 Most Powerful Women 2018
Photo by Aaron Bean on Unsplash.

Female leadership is on the rise in a big way right now, and the world is taking notice. Here at home, look closely at where the most positive impact is being generated around Chicago, and there’s a good chance you’ll find an inspiring woman pulling the strings. From senator, Supreme Court justice, and MLB owner to CEOs, presidents, and philanthropists, these 25 women are Chicago’s top female movers and shakers.

Chicago’s 24 Top Latina Leaders in Philanthropy and Government

National Hispanic Heritage Month: 24 of Chicago’s Top Latina Leaders
L to R: Maricela Garcia, Scarleth Lever Ortiz, and Patricia Mota (Photos courtesy of each leader.)

This past October, Make It Better celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring Latina leaders who are making the Chicago area a better place.

‘Black Panther’ Star Danai Gurira Talks Growing Up in Zimbabwe, Finding Her Passion, and the Drive to ‘Do More’

‘Black Panther’ Star Danai Gurira Talks Growing Up in Zimbabwe, Finding Her Passion, and the Drive to ‘Do More’
Danai Gurira (right) (© Marvel Studios 2018)

In addition to her brilliant portrayal as the powerful warrior Okoye in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” which was nominated for seven Oscars this year, including Best Picture, and “Avengers: Infinity War,” Danai Gurira has also wowed audiences as Michonne on AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead.” But, while you may know OBIE, Helen Hayes, and NAACP Award-winning actor Gurira as an on-screen powerhouse, you may not know that she’s also a supremely talented playwright with a fascinating backstory.

Watch: Emily Blunt, Robin Roberts and Other Leading Women Share Inspiration and Advice for the Next Generation

Disney: Emily Blunt and Marisa Torre
Actress Emily Blunt and Marisa Torre (USA, age 17) take part in Disney’s #DreamBigPrincess global video series, produced and directed by young women from the UN Foundation’s Girl Up initiative. Offering inspiration from trailblazing women, the series will be shared on social media to unlock up to a $1 million donation to Girl Up. (Photo courtesy of Disney.)

Oct. 11, 2018 was International Day of the Girl and ahead of the important youth-led day of awareness and activism, Disney launched a new video series as part of their #DreamBigPrincess campaign, which encourages kids everywhere to dream big by highlighting the ambitious, independent, empowering qualities not only of Disney princesses but also of inspiring real women across the globe.

7 Women Shaking Up Chicago’s Cocktail Scene

Women Behind Bars: 7 Fearless Chicago Beverage Stars
Jennifer Wagoner (Photo by David Turner Photography.)

These women are fearless in confronting challenges and expectations; authentic in their passion for hospitality and educating people about craft beverages; compassionate in how they treat both the people they work with, and those they serve; and ethical in manner and outlook. They have to be, to succeed in an industry where women behind the bar still routinely encounter sexism, whether overt or thinly veiled; being a “lady bartender” often comes with a shot glass of harassment.

Maria Shriver Talks Fitness, Family and Her Quest to Cure Alzheimer’s

Maria Shriver
Maria Shriver (Photo by Kwaku Alston.)

When Maria Shriver’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (and later died from the disease in 2011), it set her on a course to support the search for a cure for the devastating disease. Her nonprofit, The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, addresses how Alzheimer’s is particularly brutal to women, who suffer from it at an alarming rate.

Meet 3 Inspiring Women at the Forefront of the Gender Equality Movement

3 Notable Forces Leading the Gender Equality Movement
(L to R) Andrea Pino, Ai-jen Poo, WE’s Sharmili Majmudar, Mónica Ramírez, and panel moderator Laura S. Washington (Photo courtesy of Women Employed.)

This summer, local nonprofit Women Employed held its signature event, The Working Lunch, of which Make It Better was a proud media sponsor. In celebration of 45 years of being an active voice and changemaker for working women, Women Employed invited three activists who are making waves in the women’s movement nationally. These three featured panelists are empowering all women to raise their voices and fight for respect and equity in the workplace, on campus, and beyond.

Sarah Paulson Talks Auditioning, Playing Unsympathetic Characters, and the Women Who Inspire Her

Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson at Steppenwolf’s 2018 Women in the Arts luncheon. (Photo by Kyle Flubacker.)

She’s played a witch, a psychic, and a woman with two heads, but at Steppenwolf’s 2018 Women in the Arts luncheon, award-winning actress Sarah Paulson (“The People vs. OJ Simpson,” “American Horror Story,” “Twelve Years a Slave”) played the part of “honoree.”

How Tattoos Give Strength to Breast Cancer Survivors: One Local Mom’s Story

Local Breast Cancer Survivor's Story Makes Its Mark on the Big Screen
Grace Lombardo (Photo courtesy of documentary “Grace.”)

How does one take the physical scars from a double mastectomy and turn them into something beautiful so that they no longer serve as a reminder of the emotional scars? For 37-year-old North Shore mom of three Grace Lombardo, that meant covering her mastectomy scars with elaborate floral tattoos, a process that is captured in a new and raw short documentary titled “Grace.”

How to Raise Confident Girls

How to Raise Confident Girls - Make It Better

Seven in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some area, from appearance to academic performance to interpersonal relationships, according to research by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. That study also revealed the startling fact that 75 percent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating, compared to 25 percent of girls with high self-esteem. Here are some top tips from the experts on what parents can do to help their daughters feel confident.

Feature photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels.