In recent years more and more societies all over the world have begun to recognize the vital contributions of women to commerce, their communities, and civic life. Whether it be Afghan women voting in a presidential election or women starting micro-businesses in Ethiopia, the worldwide trend toward greater equality is clear. Yet "the denial of women's basic human rights is persistent and widespread," as a 2005 United Nations Population Fund statement put it.
This publication offers a glimpse at how women in one country – the United States – have helped shape their society. These notable women – from the Native-American Sacagawea, who guided white settlers through a vast wilderness, to Sojourner Truth, who fought for the end of slavery and equal rights for all; to Rosalyn Yalow, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her research into a new technique for measuring substances in the blood – believed that they had a contribution to make and did not shrink from the obstacles in their way. This account of their accomplishments is a reminder that all societies benefit from the talents and expertise of their women.