In recent weeks, several parents have called out big national chain stores for their poor selection of girls’ Halloween costumes, including this one. Melissa Wardy of the blog Pigtail Pal & Ballcap Buddies wrote a great piece a few years ago summing up the problem. Unfortunately there are too many “sexy” costumes for young girls and never any that help girls exercise their own power.
So how about giving your daughter – or son! – costume ideas based on a real woman public leader? Here’s a round-up of some of our favorite costumes and costume ideas, plus some reading suggestions to help you both learn about these important trailblazers.
1) Supreme Court Justice
This baby blows us away with his Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg costume. Three other women have also served on the nation’s highest court: Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan, and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Any of these women would be fine choice for a girl looking to make her own case.
For inspiration, read: Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World, For young kids, check out Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx.
2) Madam President
Does your little one have presidential aspirations? Fortunately there are a number of women to choose from, including current candidates Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina.
Many other women have run for president in US history, including Carol Moseley Braun and Shirley Chisholm. [We can’t get enough of the Because of Them We Can series featuring girls dressed as famous Black women leaders. Check out their site and get some amazing posters!]
Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for the US presidency. There are also several women currently serving as presidents in other countries, including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. Wilma Mankiller was the first woman to serve as chief of the Cherokee Nation.
For inspiration, read: Chisholm’s Unbought and Unbossed or Sirleaf’s This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President. For kids, read: A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull; Madam President: Five Women Who Paved the Way; or Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman’s Race for the Presidency.
In this country’s history, 37 women have served as governors in 27 states. Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming was the first woman to serve as governor in the United States when she was elected in 1925.
There are six women currently serving as governors: Mary Fallin (R-OK), Nikki Haley (R-SC), Susana Martinez (R-NM), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kate Brown (D-OR), and Gina Raimondo (D-RI).
For inspiration, read the autobiographies of past women governors, including Up the Capitol Steps: A Woman’s March to the Governorship by former Oregon governor Barbara Roberts and Straight from the Heart: My Life in Politics & Other Places by former Texas governor Ann Richards.
4) Member of Congress
There are plenty of women trailblazers in US Congress to pick from.
Patsy Mink was the first woman of color and first Asian woman to serve in the US House of Representatives. Barbara Jordan was the first Black woman elected to Congress from the deep South.
For inspiration, read: A Heart in Politics: Jeannette Rankin and Patsy T. Mink and Barbara Jordan: American Hero.
The new Suffragette movie reminds us that many women fought for our right to have a voice in our democrazy. Girls and young women can pick specific woman suffragists to emulate or simply be themselves.
For inspiration, read: Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. For kids, read: You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?, Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage.
Happy trick or treating!