Women teachers in history

Women’s History Month: Trailblazers in education and sports

Women’s History Month is the perfect time to celebrate and highlight influential women across the globe. When it comes to teachers, professors, and coaches, there are plenty of role models for young girls and women to look up to. Some of these women were icons of history, while others are modern-day trailblazers, carving out new paths for all to follow. 

“The highest result of education is tolerance”

Some notable and famous professors include Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, Helen Keller and Dr. Hayat Sindi. Let’s take a look at their influence and how they have changed the world. 

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (1875-1955)

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was an American educator and stateswoman. She was a philanthropist, humanitarian, and civil rights activist as she believed that education was the key to racial advancement. Mary Jane started a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1904 that later became known as Bethune-Cookman University. Her story inspired many and enacted real change. She became the national adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his Black Cabinet. Mary Jane McLeod Bethune is an icon that will be forever celebrated for her racial advancement initiatives. 

Helen Keller (1880-1968)

“The highest result of education is tolerance,” says Helen Keller. Helen Keller was known for her influence on the blind and deaf community. She was the 20th century’s leading humanitarians. In 1920, she helped found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a nonpartisan, non-profit organization with the leading statement: “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” She mastered touch-lip reading, Braille, speech, typing, sign language, and finger spelling. There wasn’t anything this woman couldn’t achieve in her lifetime. 

Dr. Hayat Sindi (1967-present)

Dr. Hayat Sindi, a medical scientist, was the first Saudi woman accepted at Cambridge University in the field of biotechnology. She was also the very first woman from the Arab States of the Persian Gulf to complete her doctoral degree in her respected field. Dr. Sindi is the co-founder of Diagnostics for All, an NGO that provides medical care in remote and impoverished areas. She says that, “a true scientist should focus on affordable simple solutions to reach everyone in the world.” A true hero to all. 

Coaching is just one part of it, breaking barriers is another

Although we see more female coaches in college and professional sports now, this wasn’t always the case. Women like Tara VanDerveer, Kim Mulkey, and Patty Gasso have had to face huge odds and obstacles to prove their higher position in sports. These powerful women have stories to tell of their own, with extremely impressive backgrounds. 

Tara VanDerveer

Tara VanDerveer has been the head coach of women’s basketball at Stanford University since 1985. She took one year off in 1996 to coach the U.S. national team in preparation for the Olympic Games in Atlantic, Georgia. In 1990, VanDerveer was awarded the Naismith National Coach of the Year award, and the following year led the Stanford Cardinal to NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championships. Impressive right? As if that weren’t impressive enough, she has won over 900 games for her team. Beat that!

Kim Mulkey

Kim Mulkey has been a name in basketball since she was young. She was one of the first players in the country to join the boys on an organized team. At Louisiana Tech University, she was an All-American Point Guard. Mulkey is currently the head coach of women’s basketball at Baylor University, a top-ranked school. She has won two NCAA National Championships. Kim Mulkey is simply undefeatable. 

Patty Gasso

Patty Gasso played softball at California State University Long Beach growing up, then began coaching at Long Beach City College. She led her team to an impressive record of 161-59-1. After, she spent twenty seasons coaching the women’s softball team at University of Oklahoma and compiled a record of 901-281-2 with a winning percentage of .762, the highest all-time among all softball coaches. Gasso’s team played in the Women’s College World Series seven times and won the national championship in 2000. Incredible to say the least. 

Celebrating their legacy

What do all of these women have in common? They are legends, icons, and barrier-breakers. If you are wanting to uphold their legacy by celebrating their accomplishments, check out OpenSesame’s list of courses for Women’s History Month. The courses range from women-led leadership skills to assertion techniques. Look no further for courses that will improve your organization by empowering the women within them:


With courses offered in multiple languages, and available on multiple devices, OpenSesame helps companies like yours develop the world’s most developed and admired global workforces. Check out our free course of the week, and if you have any questions contact us at info@opensesame.com today.