In a recent study in Boulder, it was found that the city is leading the nation on gender equity. Currently, the national average for women’s wages are 84% of what men make. In Boulder the average is 88%. Boulder is obviously a special city, leading the nation in multiple avenues from preventative measures for climate change to progressive gender equality. This got me thinking about famous women in Boulder and the steps they have taken to catalyze change in their city and nation.

If you were lucky enough to visit the Pioneers: Women Artists in Boulder exhibit last year at the Art Museum at the University, you might have seen some paintings by Eve Drewelowe, a famous artist who lived in Boulder during the early 1900’s. In the 1920’s, Drewelowe and her husband moved to Boulder where she taught art classes and founded the Boulder Art Guild. She had a love of western landscapes and drew these almost exclusively, finding the most joy in painting the views in Aspen and Colorado. Much of her landscapes are abstract and saturated with color, almost fantastical, as if these were the ways she imagined the world should look. Most of her works display elements of realism and abstraction, and much of her ethic and inclinations were towards environmentalism and subtle critiques on human’s intervention in the natural world.

In more contemporary times, Kaplan Chawla was the first Indian-American women astronaut, and flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997. She attended the University of Colorado to receive her PhD in Aerospace Engineering. She worked with NASA in the 80’s and worked on research for vertical/short landing and takeoff concepts. In 1991, she joined the NASA Astronauts Corp and was selected for her first mission in 1995. She was the mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. Unfortunately, on that mission the Space Shuttle disintegrated in the atmosphere and the crew did not make it. However, Chawla’s legacy lives on and she continues to be an inspiration for many young girls. While on her first mission, exiting Earth’s atmosphere she stated, “You are just your intelligence”.

There are many women around the world who are inspirations for younger generations. These are just a couple of examples of women from Boulder who persevered and dedicated their lives to their passion, leading to successful and inspirational careers.