Teach Your Daughter About Powerful Female Role Models: Oprah Winfrey

Oprah headshot

Oprah headshotIs Oprah Winfrey a good role model?  

Some say no; she doesn’t produce value, she doesn’t have good morals, she’s a TV celebrity which, in itself, doesn’t really do anything good for society, she’s just after the money, she sells snake oil.

Others say yes; she grew up in poverty, she overcame severe personal struggles and abuse to make something of herself and her life, she tries to unite people and move us forward as a society, she is inspirational, a generous philanthropist, and positively benefits society.

For each of us to come to our own conclusion, it helps to know what it really means to be a role model.

Mirriam-Webster defines a role model as “a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others”.

Dictionary.com provides a fuller definition:  a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.”

Has Oprah Winfrey done anything in her life that fits these definitions?


Forbes magazine reached out to ForbesWoman communities on Twitter and Facebook to determine the most inspiring woman in the world.

After “mom”, Oprah Winfrey was at the top of the list and was named the Most Powerful Celebrity by Forbes in 2010.

Oprah is a successful businesswoman, owner of Harpo Productions, and a TV network.

She is a multi-millionaire and has launched the careers of several now successful people.

Oprah launched her broadcasting career at the age of 19, being the youngest person and first African-American to at Nashville’s WTF-TV.

Oprah Winfrey values education as a way to lift yourself out of poverty and create a future.

Through her private charity, Oprah has offered hundreds of grants to organizations that help educate and empower women.

Through the “Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program”, she provides scholarships to those who want to give back to their communities.  Her leadership and philanthropy is not limited to the United States.  She even created a leadership academy for girls in South Africa.

Oprah was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth…she worked hard for her achievements even in the face of severe personal struggles with childhood abuse. As a result, she initiated the National Child Protection Act in 1991 to establish a database of convicted child abusers.  In 1993, former President Bill Clinton signed the “Oprah Bill” into law.

The list of things that Oprah Winfrey has accomplished covers ten pages on her official biography website.  The list of awards she received takes up one whole page alone!  I encourage you to check it out to learn more about why many think that Oprah Winfrey is a good role model for our daughters.

Click here for more:  http://www.oprah.com/pressroom/Oprah-Winfreys-Official-Biography

Teach Your Daughter About Powerful Female Role Models

Throwback Thursday 1

Throwback Thursday 1Media mogul Oprah Winfrey

Politician Hillary Clinton

Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas

Actress Emma Watson

First Lady of California, journalist, and activist  Maria Shriver

Author J. K. Rowling {who began her writing career as a single mother}

What do all these women have in common?  

They are considered to be among the most powerful, inspiring female role models of our time.  And this list could be joined by many, many more women who exhibited power, courage, and leadership throughout time.

Why is acknowledging these women {or women like them} so important to society, and more importantly, to our own daughters?  Because as mothers it is our obligation, our duty, to inspire our daughters, to teach them lessons, to provide them with the tools they will need to carve their own successful paths, to instill confidence and competence, and acceptance of their bodies.

Do we, as mothers, want to empower our daughters to make a difference in the world?  Then we have to go beyond just telling them they should develop their own power as a female and strive to make a difference; we have to show them how to do so.  It provides them with a visual or a map of what is possible, that there are obstacles, and how to overcome them.

It also counteracts the “negative” role models that are out there.  And let’s face it, part of the reason our daughters may be confused in this area is because of the mixed messages they are bombarded with through the media of women who use sex and their bodies to feed a man’s sexual appetite just to make a buck then turn around and claim to be empowered and if they can do it, why not?

Let’s explore what makes some of the women above great role models.  And remember that if we look, we can find some outstanding examples in many areas, whether they are in media, government, business, sports, art, or even just an everyday someone that you know personally.  The series starts in two weeks with the first role model.