Noteworthy Women

Encouraging and Empowering Remarkable Women

Tag: women’s rights

Shakira: The Philanthropist

Many of us know Shakira for her amazing singing and belly dancing skills, but did you know that the Colombian superstar is also a huge advocate and founder of non-profit organizations?

Born in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1977 to a Colombian mother and Lebanese father, Shakira comes from a very multicultural background. She started writing music at an early age, her first album debuted in 1995 and has experienced nothing but success ever since.

Although Shakira is a great singer, songwriter, performer and dancer, it is her involvement in philanthropic work that is truly inspirational.

According to her official website, “Shakira’s humanitarian and advocacy work is focused on universal education and early childhood development, particularly the health, nutrition and stimulation of children who are not yet in school.”

Shakira’s Piez Descalzos foundation is dedicated to bettering the lives of children in Colombia by helping them receive a better education as well as the resources needed for maintaining good nutrition and health standards. The foundation has helped create several schools that all have a set of basic guidelines that aim to improve the overall standard of living of children in need. There is a belief that involving these children in the programs offered at the institutions will contribute to the overall improvement of the general community.  According to their website, “more than 10.000 children and 67.000  youths and adults benefited” from their programs. 

A second non-profit organization that Shakira is  an active member of is the ALAS Foundation, which was started by some of the most recognized Latin American artists, business leaders, and intellectuals. This foundation focuses on early childhood development because they believe that it is one of the most effective ways to fight against poverty.

Lastly, Shakira is a part of UNICEF through her appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador. UNICEF focuses on the rights of children, with an emphasis on providing education for children all across the globe. Shakira has been an ambassador since 2003 and within some of her trips she has lead ” two global fundraising campaigns to help life-saving supplies reach the world’s most impoverished and at-risk children.” (

It is not only impressive but also inspiring to learn that a celebrity as popular as Shakira has such a great involvement in non-profit organizations that focus on children. There are millions of women in our world who are doing great things for the better of their cultures, communities, families, and the rest of the world. We all know we come in all shapes and sizes but so does the manner in which we decide to help and inspire others. Shakira is able to do both, not only through her music but through her humanitarian work. That is something Noteworthy Women applauds and we wish to continue to share the stories of these wonderful women with our readers.


Feature Friday: Malala Yousafzai

As one of the most famous and influential Pakistani activists for female education, Malala Yousafzai, has changed the game in feminism. In 2009, Malala wrote an anonymous blog that described the lifestyle under the Taliban. Later that year, she was discovered as the one behind the blog posts that became a documentary. This also put a target on Malala by the Taliban and she’s still targeted today.

Malala attended a school that her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, had founded. After the Taliban began attacking girls’ schools, she gave a speech in September 2008 titled, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” According to BBC’s article, Malala was only 11 years old when her anonymous diary captivated audiences. She wrote under a pseudonym – Gul Makai, the name of a heroine from a Pashtun folk tale. Malala was able to document the chaos that her and her friends underwent while they saw students from their class dropping those classes due to the fear of being targeted by the militants. Malala and her family were then forced to flee the valley when a government military operation attempted to clear the region of militancy. Seen as a passionate campaigner, Malala consistently received support and encouragement in her activism from her parents. Her father was even the one who had the idea of starting a blog.

“For my brothers it was easy to think about the future,” Malala tells me when we meet in Birmingham. “They can be anything they want. But for me it was hard and for that reason I wanted to become educated and empower myself with knowledge.”

Once targeted by the Taliban, Malala was shot in the head in 2012, but survived and went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at age 18! BBC writes, “The bullet hit Malala’s left brow and instead of penetrating her skull it travelled underneath the skin, the length of the side of her head and into her shoulder”.

Malala’s diary: 3 January 2009:

“I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat.

My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools

Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taliban’s edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.”

“I didn’t want my future to be imprisoned in my four walls and just cooking and giving birth” – Malala

In 2009, a documentary was produced about Malala.  The Guardian reviews this film as, “No squeamish cultural relativism: women’s education is a must in Muslim countries, non-Muslim countries, everywhere, non-negotiable. Guggenheim’s film is inspiring.”

A fund has been set up in her name to help children in education around the world.

“She is an extraordinary young woman, wise beyond her years, sensible, sensitive and focused. She has experienced the worst of humanity, and the best of humanity – both from the medics who cared for her and the messages from many thousands of well-wishers.”

Ms, Mrs & Miss— let’s talk feminism

Throughout history, countless numbers of brave women have helped pave the way for the women of today.  It is through their dedication and commitment that modern women have the ability to vote, work and stand up for their beliefs. There’s no denying the United States is currently facing a period of extreme division across its borders. Yet, regardless of the causes we fight for, we must remember the women who forged the way before us; they’ve handed the baton over to us. We are responsible for continuing their legacy, empowering others and engaging in actions that bring great change to the world.  We must be our own support system— a source of inspiration to each other and continue blazing the trail as women in history.

Noteworthy Women is a platform dedicated to featuring such personalities— women of the past, women of today and the women of tomorrow. For many years, feminist ideals have been misunderstood and taken for granted. In order to reverse this stigma associated with feminism, it is important to help people see the true values that feminism stands for. 

Noteworthy Women is the product of four female Undergrad students from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. These women, who come from different states/countries, backgrounds and ideals, understood the power their unique experiences could have when united with one goal of de-stigmatizing the ideals of feminism. With this blog, they hope to serve as an example to other women, that any woman can make a difference be it small or large by taking a stand.

“Strong women aren’t simply born. We are forged through the challenges of life. With each challenge we grow mentally and emotionally. We move forward with our head held high and a strength that cannot be denied. A woman who’s been through the storm and survived. We are warriors!” – unknown

The blog’s content will focus on showcasing women who have done remarkable things over their lifetime, made sacrifices for causes dear to them and stand proudly for who they are. The gallery will feature visual components to help readers feel as connected as humanly possible to women they may never have the chance to meet face to face. Feel free to connect using the contact information available. If there are women you want to have featured, shoot us an email and we’ll happily create a post. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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