Teaching language and literature is a great opportunity to expose your students to great female role models. There are so many great inspiring females to use as stimuli, but there are some that lend themselves directly to different explorations of language. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started. ## Classic Fiction A Japanese film adaption, a musical, a ballet, an opera, a graphic novel and even a song by Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights continues to ignite interest and passion over 170 years after it was first published. But what does the author, **Emily Brontë**, have to offer young people today in the way of inspiration? Emily self published Wuthering Heights alongside her sister. Knowing that female writers weren’t respected, she published the book using a male pseudonym: Ellis Bell. This story provides a great starting point to have a discussion about women writers, recognition and equality with students. J K Rowling’s choice to write under a male pseudonym for her crime series novels is perhaps a sign that there is still some work to be done. There is also a Learning by Questions series of [Question Sets studying Wuthering Heights](http://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Understanding-Fiction-Wuthering-Heights-1-Vocabulary-/) to ignite conversation about gender roles in the 1800s. ## Studying speeches It is hard to think of another female who is quite as inspirational as **Malala Yousafzai**. Her dogged determination to provide equal opportunities in education for young girls across the world is quite something, but Malala has many other accolades. Malala survived a gunshot wound to her head and neck at the age of 15 and was not expected to survive. She was the youngest person to ever receive the [Nobel Peace Prize and her speech](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOqIotJrFVM/) inspired activists across the world to continue the fight for children’s rights. She has received over 40 awards and honours for her bravery and activism and she even became a UN Messenger of Peace in 2017. Malala’s speeches are a great springboard for students to investigate the use of language in public speaking. Another fantastic female speaker is **Michelle Obama**. She is proof that women can stand up for their own passions and interests without being overshadowed by the accomplishments and beliefs of the men closest to them. Michelle Obama has clearly walked her own path and does an incredible job of explaining her political passions in a way that young people can understand and relate to. She often speaks about the burden that intelligence can have on young women and [breaking down the barriers of expectations, specifically for women from ethnic minorities.](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYsmVozjww4/) A great woman with great speeches to explore with your students. ## Non-fiction and biographies There are many women whose biographies you could study as part of a non-fiction scheme of work, but it is common knowledge that there is a severe lack of women in STEM. Why not show your students that it doesn’t have to be that way? **Mae Jemison** is the first African-American female astronaut. She was the first African-American woman to be admitted into NASA’s astronaut training program. Onboard the Endeavour, in 1992, she then became the first African-American woman in space. She has received several awards for her accomplishments. Jemison is a great example of a woman not allowing history to dictate and stunt her dream of becoming an astronaut; an inspiring role model for students who struggle to see beyond the expected gender roles of females. If you want your students to learn more about Mae Jemison and her achievements, our [Question Set on her achievements is a great introduction.](http://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Short-Reads-Biography-Mae-Jemison-1-Pre-read/)