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Feminspire | April 17, 2014

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Women You Should Know: Vivienne Harr, Angela Merkel & More

Women You Should Know: Vivienne Harr, Angela Merkel & More

There are a lot of extraordinary women who have made a positive difference in the world, and we think you should know about them. These are well-known and everyday women alike who do incredible things that often get minimal media coverage. We are here to spotlight those women and girls who are working towards a greater purpose through their selfless acts, hard work, and a desire to help the world and its people.

As of last week, an 8-year-old girl named Vivienne Harr has raised over $30k for the Half Moon Bay-based nonprofit called Not For Sale, which fights human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Harr has named her business Make-A-Stand! Lemonade: The Sweet Taste of Freedom. She has been working diligently all summer selling lemonade for $2, until she and her dad decided to make it free and allowed their customers to “Pay what’s in your heart.”

Vivienne decided to support this charity after she discovered there were kids who live intensely different lives than her. She is working to “give them a little hope” with her lemonade stand and says that her heart “feels the most full” when she gives. Her ultimate goal is to raise $150,000 and she only uses fair-trade lemons to maintain anti-slavery in her cause.

Says Vivenne from her blog makeastandlemonade, “I have discovered that, even though we hear a lot about the bad, the world is mostly good. Most people are kind and supportive and want what’s right.”

Angela Merkel, the current Chancellor of Germany, was named Forbes #1 Most Powerful Woman. She secured this spot based on a specific methodology that ranks women based on money, media, and impact. She is followed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at #2 and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at #3.

This is the second year in a row for the Chancellor to be named Most Powerful Woman, and it’s easy to see why. Merkel is an environmental queen from her efforts to reduce greenhouse gases by renewing the Kyoto agreement, promoting the usage of electric cars and plans to reduce energy usage 10 percent by 2020, and her plans to run an industrialized nation on renewable energy.

Angela Merkel has been the Chancellor since 2005, with an approval rating of 70%. With the nickname “Iron Lady,” she is active in modern progression and has established herself online with her YouTube channel, Die Bundesregierung (Federal Government) in which she directly answers citizen’s questions.

Grace Hopper, born Grace Brewster Murray on December 9, 1906, was a groundbreaking and inspirational woman in United States military, engineering and computer science. Before her death in January 1992, “Amazing Grace” earned numerous awards, attended several prestigious universities, and was a ranked officer in the Navy.

Following her New Jersey prep school education, Hopper graduated from Vassar with a degree in mathematics and physics and then continued to Yale where she earned first a Master’s and then PhD in mathematics. After marrying New York University professor Vincent Hopper in 1930, she returned to Vassar to teach mathematics. Soon after her professorship began, however, Hopper’s sense of adventure and yearning for knowledge lead her to join the United States Navy Reserve. After years of serving as a programmer on the Reserve’s computation program, she was disappointed to be turned down by the Navy proper due to her age (38). Though she remained in the Navy Reserve, she turned her attention to computer science.

Hopper said in regards to her passion, “To me programming is more than an important practical art. It is also a gigantic undertaking in the foundations of knowledge.” The UNIVAC I was the first commercial computer produced in the United States, and Grace Hopper had a hand in its creation.

Throughout her military career, Hopper won eight awards, managed to retire and return to service multiple times, and was the oldest commissioned Navy officer on the oldest commissioned ship in the United States. She worked post-retirement as senior consultant at a major computer systems vendor until she died in 1992 at age 85. Grace Hopper’s legacy lives on through the multitudes of buildings and programs named for her as well as the young people, male and female, she continues to inspire.

Each week, Feminspire will be highlighting those amazing women who are underrepresented in the media. Do you have any suggestions for who we should profile next? Please leave us a comment! 

Written by Rose Shapiro and Leah Moreno