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Shelby Knox: A Woman Making History

March 7, 2010

30 Women Making History
In recognition of the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month, Women’s Media Center is profiling 30 extraordinary women making history.  Our goal is to raise $10,000 to support WMC Exclusives — every dollar raised will go directly toward hiring women writers to comment on major news stories and report topics often neglected by the mainstream media. Will you contribute $30?
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Shelby Knox: A Woman Making History by Michaela Monahan Shelby Knox first made a name for herself as the subject of the 2005 documentary “The Education of Shelby Knox.” The film, which won the Sundance Best Cinematography Award and the SXSW Audience Award, chronicles Shelby’s life as a high school student growing up in the ultra-conservative town of Lubbock, Texas, and her evolution from a Southern Baptist Republican to a passionate advocate for comprehensive sex education and gay rights. Flash forward 5 years, and Shelby has established herself as a leading feminist voice in the national movement for fact-based sex ed in schools. A sought-after speaker, she travels across the U.S. to talk to young people about the importance of reality-based sex education and the power of youth activism.  In a 2008 interview, Shelby said “It’s the teen voices that count the most in issues that relate to them. All the adults in the world can tell a school board that they need sex education or that there needs to be gay-straight alliances to support high school students. But the students’ voices are the most important. In the end, if you win or lose, you made a difference just by making the problem known.” At the young age of 23, Shelby is a Huffington Post blogger (read the piece she co-wrote with Women's Media Center president Jehmu Greene during WMC's Super Bowl campaign: Super Bowl Sexism, by the Numbers) and was recently picked as one of the “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter” by In February, Shelby was honored by NOW-NYC with a Susan B. Anthony Award for grassroots activism. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Shelby during my internship at the Women’s Media Center. As a recent college grad myself, I am amazed and inspired by how much Shelby has already accomplished. Women’s Media Center is amplifying the voices of women and girls – and I think Shelby’s is one voice we’ll be hearing loud and clear for years to come.