Amelia Earhart: Our Model for 'the Century of Women'
Jane Mendelsohn: Earhart's image can lead the way
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2012 3:36 PM CDT
Undated picture of Amelia Earhart at the controls of her plane.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Amelia Earhart was so much more than a daring pilot who tried to circumnavigate the globe. She was "a symbol, a myth, a star on which to hang our fantasies," writes Jane Mendelsohn in the New York Times. Mendelsohn "was inspired by Earhart to do something that at the time felt daring and frightening and possibly very stupid: write a novel." That book, I Was Amelia Earhart, launched her writing career, and with Earhart back in the news, Mendelsohn believes the fearless pilot can inspire us all.

"It is being said more frequently, more loudly and with more evidence and conviction that the 21st century is the century of women," writes Mendelsohn, and "in Amelia Earhart we have something, someone, to offer the 21st century: a heroine. She was a leader, not a passive bystander." Organizations like Girl Effect, 10 x 10, and Women, War and Peace are leading the way, showing that female empowerment can change the world. Earhart would love it, and "gives us good shoes to fill."