In July, our co-founders attended the UN Empowering Women And Girls 2030 Summit where, after a chance encounter with an inspiring NASA In-space Manufacturing Project Manager, they learned about a group of pioneering 9th grade girls who have started the first-ever feminist club at their high school in Alabama. It’s the brainchild of 14-year-old Madison Werkheiser who – cue unbridled cheers – counts Women You Should Know as “one of their primary motivators and resources”! With our pride-filled hearts soaring, the WYSK team sprung into action and sent off a care package to Madison and her friends. This is the priceless note we received in response.
Hello, I’m Madison Werkheiser. First, I want to thank you so very much for the amazing Women You Should Know package for me and my friends! It means the world to us that you have taken your time to allow us to be part of the Women You Should Know legacy and it is very personal for me.
Around last year I began studying feminism and important figures in the movement. Everyday my mom would show me the person you guys posted about, which sparked even more interest. I became a big advocate and began shaping my morals around the movement. One of my closest friends, and my only male friend, questioned the movement more and more as I began to embrace it. He would call me asking about an anti-feminist YouTube video or to tell me about another article about how the wage gap wasn’t real. This, as counter-productive as it seems, helped me understand the movement to the best of my ability, support it even more, and create counter points for every problem he could find. At this point I began seeing first-hand how feminism connected to politics, which ignited my interest in the broader political system.
Now, I have joined my school’s High School Democrats Association, Debate Team, and have joined in starting the Young Advocates for Equality Club. I have also begun following many great feminist YouTube channels like Laci Green, who is my favorite of the bunch. I’m still discovering so many impactful figures, like Bell Hooks. We also recently had to read A Raisin in the Sun for school, and I found Lorraine Hansberry extremely impactful due to the fact that she was a black, lesbian, female playwright that made it on Broadway.
Witnessing strong female leaders, such as you, who have created a powerful resource such as Women You Should Know provides a real-world, inspirational example of how I, too, have the ability and can be empowered to impact policy and people’s views from a local perspective, and hopefully one day from a global one.
Sincerely from your loyal Alabama fan,
Pictured from left to right above are some of the 9th graders who are involved in getting the Young Advocates for Equality Club up and running: Madison Werkheiser, Natalie Spence, and Jenni Rice (a.k.a. the “WYSK Alabama Squad”).
Doing the work we do, we have the incredible privilege of getting to know some truly extraordinary women and girls. Madison, Natalie, Jenni, and Abigail are no exception, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude to have them as part of the WYSK community and look forward to helping and mentoring them in any way we can.
In speaking with Madison’s mom Niki – the aforementioned “inspiring NASA In-space Manufacturing Project Manager” – about the girls’ pioneering new venture, she shared, “Watching these young ladies create their own organization where their voices can be constructively heard and seeing them so filled with passion and inspiration is about the greatest gift I could imagine and you are a big part of that.” It’s our privilege to share in that gift and an honor to support this next generation of young leaders and champions of equality as they set out to fearlessly blaze a new and critically important trail in their own community.