12 Women Who Are Changing Motherhood as We Know It

Adriana Velez | Apr 18, 2013 Good News

kate middletonTime has announced its 2013 list of the 100 most influential people. And guess who's on the list? A lot of women -- women who are having a profound impact on motherhood as we know it. Not all of these women are mothers, either. But we feel their influence. Here are just 12 we think are especially meaningful for moms.



  • Kate Middleton


    Pacific Coast News

    Are you ready for Royal Motherhood 2.0? Lady Di was an inspiring fashion icon, and Kate Middleton is, too. But Kate also brings a more down-to-earth image to the palace. Moms may not relate a whole lot to her experience, but we're all watching out for her more modern style of parenting to emerge. Not to mention -- if she has a daughter, that girl could also inherit the throne.

  • Beyoncé


    Mrs. Carter World Tour

    Beyoncé, the ultimate mama-diva. Has motherhood ever looked this sexy and powerful -- on stage, anyway? Since becoming a mother, Bey has managed to project a kind of warm, maternal protectiveness around her small family. And yet she's still going on tour, singing for the presidential inauguration and the Super Bowl, ruffling feathers by calling herself a feminist and Mrs. Carter. Not to mention, if wearing a bodice decorated with Swarovski crystal nipples doesn't say something about superstar celeb motherhood, I don't know what does.

  • Sheryl Sandberg



    Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has been urging women to Lean In long before she wrote the book. She's an advocate for women's leadership in business, but part of her message includes urging men to lean in more at home. She's totally changing the conversation about work-family balance.

  • Michelle Obama


    White House

    Some people may take offense at Michelle Obama's suggestion that we might want to try and raise some healthy children. But I'm one mom who actually prints out her "Let's Move!" activity calendar for her family. The first lady also works with Jill Biden to improve the lives of military families through the initiative Joining Forces.

  • Gabrielle Giffords


    U.S. Congress

    Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who survived an assassin's bullets, has been a tireless advocate for common-sense gun control legislation. Someday she and others will succeed in making America safer for all families.

  • Malala Yousafzai



    Malala Yousafzai is an education and women's rights activist who was shot in the head by a Taliban would-be assassin. She survived and remains defiant and committed. Because of girls and women like her, mothers can imagine a different future for their daughters.

  • Jennifer Lawrence


    What is Jennifer Lawrence doing on this list of women changing motherhood? I just think she's been a spectacular role model for our daughters. We've seen her play strong, fearless heroines who are loyal to their families -- especially her character Katniss in the movie Hunger Games. How amazing for moms to be able to point to these courageous characters as examples of what a daughter can be. And in person? I think we all love how down-to-earth and funny she is.

  • Elena Kagan


    Justice of the Supreme Court Elena Kagan weighs in on many cases that affect moms. This summer she and the Supremes will rule on two cases that could change the rights of families headed by two moms -- or two dads. Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor points her out as especially influential on the court.

  • Jenna Lyons



    Jenna Lyons is inspiring to working moms because of her accomplishment -- she's the executive creative director of J.Crew and one of the most influential people in fashion, period. But she's also made motherhood more stylish, giving women a youthful but practical everyday look. As designer Prubal Guarung puts it, "She’s allowed mothers and daughters to dress with the same kind of attitude." And who can forget the infamous time she painted her son's nails pink in an ad?

  • Joyce Banda


    ASTRAIA Foundation

    Joyce Banda is Malawi's first female president (and the second female president anywhere on the continent of Africa). She's long been a women's rights activist, focused on improving the lives of mothers and daughters -- though not without a few clashes with Madonna!

  • Lena Dunham



    Hide your daughters! There's no doubt that moms have very mixed feelings about Lena Dunham, the creator of controversial TV show Girls. One the one hand, who wouldn't want their daughter to achieve such wild success? On the other hand, OMG, is that what kids are really up to these days? Lena scares moms a little bit, I think. But she may also be forcing us to have some uncomfortable but necessary conversations with our kids.

  • Marissa Mayer



    No matter how you feel about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, she definitely caught our attention when she practically gave up her maternity leave. And then -- she abolished working from home! A lot of us fear the precedence she may set for other working moms. On the other hand, why don't we ever worry about men who return quickly to work after becoming fathers? Marissa is making moms ask some difficult questions about what it means to be a working mom, and how you make that work.

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