8 Moms Who've Changed the World

It's no secret that we believe strongly in the power of moms. We've seen firsthand that moms can—and will—march, protest, lobby, research, and fight tirelessly for what they believe in. They will overcome societal barriers, persevere through the toughest of circumstances, and oftentimes still quip that they're "just a mom".

The thing is, there's no such thing as "just a mom". Whether it's through politics, entertainment, science, entrepreneurship, or within their own homes, moms are masters at accomplishing their goals. This International Women's Day, we're celebrating 8 mothers who've changed the world, not in spite of being a mom, but because of it.

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1. Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix is a five-time Olympian and an 11-time Olympic medalist—making her the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history (male or female). In fact, just ten months after giving birth to her first child, Felix broke Usain Bolt’s record for gold medals after winning her 12th gold medal at the 2019 World Championships! She is also known for bravely calling out Nike in an op-ed in the New York Times, stating that she was pregnant during her contract negotiations and that Nike offered her a 70% pay cut in the new contract, failing to grant the maternity protections she requested. Needless to say, Felix declined to sign the contract, instead moving on to sign with Athleta, and starting her own shoe and lifestyle brand called Saysh!

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2. Jennifer Doudna

As the current chair and CEO of General Motors, this mother of two is the first female CEO of a "Big Three" automaker… ever. If that’s not awe-worthy, we don’t know what is. She has also made sure that GM consistently scores highly in gender equity reports; in 2018 it was one of only TWO global businesses to have no gender pay gap!


3. Anna Jarvis

Anna Marie Jarvis is the founder of the Mother’s Day holiday in the United States. Anna's mother, who worked tirelessly establishing a series of Mothers' Day Work Clubs to support local mothers who were ill or unable to care for their own children during the Civil War, often said that she hoped that someone would one day establish a memorial for all mothers, living and dead. After her mother's passing, she embarked on a campaign to establish Mother's Day as a national holiday to honor all mothers!


Anna Jarvis started the tradition of wearing white and red carnations to pay tribute to mothers, because the carnation was her mother’s favorite flower. A white carnation was worn to honor deceased mothers, and a red one to honor living mothers.

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4. Sara Blakely

Being one of the youngest self-made female billionaires in the world is no small feat, but that's not why she's on our list. Following her great success, the founder and creator of Spanx decided to pay it forward. This mom of four founded the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation, which aims to help women worldwide become future female leaders through education and entrepreneurship.

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5. Marie Curie

Scientist Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, doing pioneer work on radioactivity. She also earned a second Nobel Prize, this one in chemistry. She did all that while raising her two young girls alone after her husband was killed in an accident. Single moms really are superheroes!


6. Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi was not only the first female judge in the history of Iran, she also founded both the Association for Support of Children’s Rights and the Human Rights Defense Center. Her work fighting for the rights of women, children, and refugees earned this mother of two daughters the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003—which also made her the first Iranian to ever win the prize!

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7. Candance Lightner

Candy (Candace) Lightner is the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and We Save Lives and is recognized internationally as the moving force behind reshaping attitudes toward drunk driving (as well as drugged and distracted driving). She founded MADD after her 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a multiple repeat offending drunk driver. Lightner has been credited with saving more than 400,000 lives!

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8. Jane Stanford

Jane Stanford tragically lost her son to typhoid fever when he was just 15 years old. As mothers do, Jane (along with her husband) worked to honor her son's memory by founding Stanford University. Yep, THE Stanford University was founded by a mom! Jane single-handedly ran the school for years after her husband's passing, advocated for the admission of women (the university has been co-ed since its founding) and academic freedom for all, and even made a trip to London to sell all of her jewelry in order to raise funds for the university. When she passed, she ensured her son's legacy would live on by creating The Jewel Fund, which benefits the school's library. The $500,000 fund is now worth over $20 million!

Who would YOU add to the list, Mama? We love learning about the powerful women who are changing the world! If you're looking for more ways to celebrate International Women's Day or Women's History Month, check out 5 Things Your Kids Should Know about Women's History!

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