“I think that it's so important that we celebrate and share stories of women who empower themselves and empowered so many others through their work with young leaders, girls, and boys alike.”

By Lauren Pardee
April 05, 2018
She Persisted Around the World
Credit: Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers

If there is one thing we can celebrate in 2018, it’s that gender equality is no longer optional. It’s the era of the #MeToo, Times Up, and the Women’s March movements, making feminism the new normal that's been long overdue. Yes, the fight is far from finished, but strong women everywhere have a lot to be proud of. As parents, it's crucial that we educate our children (daughters and sons alike) on equality at a young age, and former First Daughter, Chelsea Clinton’s new book She Persisted Around the World is the perfect resource to do so.

Clinton’s vision for instilling activism in the minds of young children started with her book, She Persisted, which quickly led to the sequel, She Persisted Around the World. Each book celebrates 13 women who are all responsible for single-handedly shaping history.

“The women from She Persisted Around the World are women who have lived and worked at different times, have chosen different paths, and have overcome different challenges," Clinton explained to Parents.com. "I hope young readers can see themselves in these women's stories and be inspired in their own lives today.”

Inspiring is an understatement, each page is graced with personalities such as Marie Curie, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Viola Desmond, Sissi Lima do Amor, Leymah Gbowee, Caroline Herschel, and J.K. Rowling—just to name a few.

“I wanted to add a mix of more well-known women but maybe not well known for their persistence,” Clinton explained. “We left some room for women who should be well known, people I certainly wish I had known about when I was a little girl.”

Empowering young minds is the end goal for Clinton, whose own children have inspired her to reach a younger audience.

“I hope that books—as the first content that children engage with—gain so much more context that is centered around real women and imaginary women who dream big and refuse to take no for an answer and persist, persist, persist, persist,” Clinton said. “One of my real joys as a parent is that my daughter—she is almost three and a half—could very much define persistence and talks about how she has to persist and how important it is to be brave. I’m so proud of her and so honored to be a part of her journey and really look forward to helping her persist."

Chelsea Clinton She Persisted Around the World
Credit: Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers

Clinton added that her son Aidan is 21-months-old so he is just starting to string words together. "We aren’t quite having conversations about persistence yet at the same level we are with his sister, but I know we will be and I just feel so excited for that as well,” she said.

By sharing stories of persistence, Clinton aims to close the imagination gap for girls allowing them to think about what they can, and hope to be. The same goes for young boys—by creating a dialogue, hopefully, no one will doubt that girls can and should be anything they want in the world.

Clinton summed up her mission with: “Part of what I hoped for with She Persisted and She Persisted Around the World is to make incredible women’s stories accessible to young readers. I worked very hard to capture in a few sentences a small bit of why I find all of the women I have now had the privilege of highlighting so inspiring, and why I think persistence is a necessary ingredient in life.”