When our friend, Ret. Captain Brenda Berkman, a pioneer in the first class of women FDNY firefighters (1982), shared an illustration that artist Ashly Jernigan created of her, we were intrigued. When we dug a bit further and learned it was just one of a hundred “awe-inspiring women” the Swiss artist is working on, we needed to know more.

Ashly’s “100 Days of Awe-inspiring Women” started with the global art craze #THE100DAYPROJECT, in which anyone can choose an action they will commit to every day for a hundred days, and then post that action on Instagram. This is the fourth 100 day project that Ashly has done, and she’s loving it.

As an illustrator and the mom to a “hilarious and incredibly strong-willed almost 2-year-old daughter named Zoe” Ashly decided on the theme for her project after brainstorming ideas with her husband. “It just seemed like a no brainer. I’ve always thought of myself as fairly strong in my values and opinions, but one thing I really struggle with is the way I view myself physically. This is something I definitely worry about passing on to my daughter, so for both her benefit and mine, I’m continually working to fight the negative way I tend to view my physical body. I don’t think just telling Zoe (or myself for that matter) to be confident is enough. I need to truly believe that I’m good the way I am and in turn teach her by example. This 100 day project has definitely helped, because every single day I’m learning about another strong and brave woman whose achievements and legacy have absolutely nothing to do with the way she looks. I’ve just grown to love these women so much. These women are simply my heroes.”

Michael, Ashly’s husband and the “biggest male feminist” she knows, has been helping her curate the women to be featured.

In addition to Brenda Berkman, a few of Ashly’s other favorite illustrations from the project include: Jane Goodall, Cipe Pineles, Harriet Tubman, Ada Lovelace, Sampat Pal Devi, and her great grandmother Mary Graber Latimer, “who was exiled from her Mennonite community for refusing to take the blame for being raped and becoming pregnant with my grandmother.”

“I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.” Day 22/100- Harriet Tubman. #100daysofaweinspiringwomen Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross, c.?1822 – March 10, 1913) was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved people, family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raidon Harpers Ferry. During the Civil War, she served as an armed scout and spy for the United States Army. In her later years, Tubman was an activist in the struggle for women's suffrage. – – – – – – #harriettubman #theundergroundrailroad #abolitionist #suffragette #the100dayproject #wonderwomen #womenwelove #feminism #drawingoftheday #drawing #painting #paintingoftheday #illustration #illustrator #illustrationoftheday #digitalpainting #digitalpaint #digitalillustration #procreateapp #procreateappart #procreate #ipadpro #ipadproart #handlettering #lettering #biography #minibio #womenofwonder #realwonderwomen

A post shared by A S H L Y J E R N I G A N (@ashlybird) on


Day 11/100- Cipe Pineles. #100daysofaweinspiringwomen Cipe Pineles (June 23, 1908 – January 3, 1991) was an Austrian-born graphic designer and art director who made her career in New York at such magazines as Seventeen, Charm and Mademoiselle. She was known for her trailblazing as the first female art director of many major magazines, as well as being credited as the first person to bring fine art into mainstream mass-produced media. She married two prominent designers, twice widowed, and had two children and two grandchildren. – – – – – – #cipepineles #artdirector #graphicdesigner #trailblazer #the100dayproject #wonderwomen #womenwelove #feminism #drawingoftheday #drawing #painting #paintingoftheday #illustration #illustrator #illustrationoftheday #digitalpainting #digitalpaint #digitalillustration #procreateapp #procreateappart #procreate #ipadpro #ipadproart #handlettering #lettering #biography #minibio #womenofwonder #realwonderwomen

A post shared by A S H L Y J E R N I G A N (@ashlybird) on


Day 33/100- Sampat Pal Devi. #100daysofaweinspiringwomen Sampat Pal Devi is the founder of the Gulabi Gang, also known as the Pink Sari Brigade, mother of five and former child bride Sampat Pal Devi is one of the most hands-on change agents in India. The Gulabi Gang have been active since 2010 in northern India and are famed for their opposition to domestic and other violence against women. Wearing pink saris and armed with bamboo sticks, they visit abusive husbands in an attempt to help the men change their ways. To date 270,000 people have joined the cause, in a country where everyday violence against women reaches the headlines all too rarely. – – – – – – #sampatpaldevi #gulabigang #pinksaribrigade #the100dayproject #wonderwomen #womenwelove #feminism #drawingoftheday #drawing #painting #paintingoftheday #illustration #illustrator #illustrationoftheday #digitalpainting #digitalpaint #digitalillustration #procreateapp #procreateappart #procreate #ipadpro #ipadproart #handlettering #lettering #biography #minibio #womenofwonder #realwonderwomen

A post shared by A S H L Y J E R N I G A N (@ashlybird) on


DAY 50!!!!/100- Mary Graber Latimer. #100daysofaweinspiringwomen My great-grandmother, Mary Graber Latimer, (October 25, 1897-March 24, 1988) was raised in a Mennonite family on a farm in Ohio together with 8 siblings. When Mary was 11 years old, her father died, leaving her mother to work the farm while Mary was left to care for her two youngest siblings and cook, clean, wash and iron for the entire househol. Already as a young girl, Mary stood up for herself. When she bobbed her hair and was told she would have to stand in front of the congregation and admit her wrong doing, she refused. At the age of 18, Mary was raped by the owner of a home she was cleaning and became pregnant with my grandmother. She was again told to stand in front of the congregation and admit her wrongdoing, but she refused. As a result, she was forced to leave the community. She kept her daughter, Kathryn, and moved to Oregon, where she met and married Andrew Charles Latimer. In 1910 they had a son, Buddy. In 1920, her husband was killed in truck accident, leaving Mary with only 10¢ in her dress pocket. She found employment and raised her two children on her own. In 1944, while serving in WW2, her son Buddy was shot down over Germany. Amid so much tragedy and heartbreak, Mary was a pillar of strength, resilience, and humor (her cackle was legendary). She was gutsy, feisty, and in her eighties was still on the roof of her house washing windows. Mary Graber Latimer, Great Granny, was the kind of woman I dream of becoming. – – – – – #greatgranny #gutsygranny #legendarycackle #the100dayproject #wonderwomen #womenwelove #feminism #drawingoftheday #drawing #painting #paintingoftheday #illustration #illustrator #illustrationoftheday #digitalpainting #digitalpaint #digitalillustration #procreateapp #procreateappart #procreate #ipadpro #ipadproart #handlettering #lettering #biography #minibio #womenofwonder #realwonderwomen

A post shared by A S H L Y J E R N I G A N (@ashlybird) on


Since the project launched, Ashly has been getting some great feedback and is even considering putting a book of the illustrations together. Yes please!

To keep up with the project, you can follow Ashly on Instagram.