The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea on Vera Rubin, Explorer:

“Vera continued to work on galaxy clusters and observed that their rotation curves defied predictions made according to contemporary theory. Narrowing her focus to single galaxies, she detected the same disconnect. The rotations of the galaxies were so swift, Vera hypothesized that gravity alone wasn’t sufficient to explain why they didn’t splinter apart. It was the first real evidence for dark matter, which scientist Fritz Zwicky had originally suggested after observing that galaxies seemed to be held together by something more than their own mass. Vera surmised that galaxies contain many times more dark matter than ordinary matter. Subsequent research would confirm her conclusions. We now know that dark matter accounts for 85% of the mass in the universe.”

Vera Rubin: “We have peered into a new world, and have seen that it is more mysterious and more complex than we had imagined. Still more mysteries of the universe remain hidden. Their discovery awaits the adventurous scientists of the future. I like it this way.”

Chelsea on Wangari Maathai, Earth Defender:

“Wangari’s work was not without opposition. Periodically, her efforts were met with significant, even violent resistance. In January 1992, she learned that her name was on a list of pro-democracy activists being targeted by the government for assassination. The next month, she joined mothers of political prisoners being held by Daniel arap Moi, Kenya’s autocratic leader. Wangari and others took part in a hunger strike at a local park. The police broke up the demonstration and beat Wangari so brutally that she was knocked unconscious… Still, she refused to give up on her mission."

“I was always struck by Wangari’s recognition of herself as a role model. She once said in an interview, shortly after she won the Nobel Prize, that young women would come up to her with tears in their eyes to congratulate her, and that ‘she knew what they were really saying was, if you can do it, then maybe I too can do it’. At the time of her death in 2011, the Green Belt Movement had planted more than fifty million trees…the total only grows.”

Hillary and Chelsea on Venus and Serena Williams, Athletes:

“Contrary to what their performance on the court might suggest, Venus and Serena aren’t superhuman. They have both spoken publicly about how painful it is to be on the receiving end of ugliness and hostility—and about their determination not to let it distract them from doing what they do best.”

Serena Williams: “What others marked as flaws or disadvantages about myself—my race, my gender—I embraced as fuel for my success. I never let anything or anyone define me or my potential. I controlled my future.”

Venus Williams: “We work hard and we learn from our losses. Because just like on court, your losses teach you how to win.”


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