For women in leadership, Women’s History Month holds special significance. The official recognition allows us to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of women in the past and see how those great women in history can guide the women making history today. Honoring these women and learning from their lives can make us better leaders today.
This year the theme for Women’s History Month is: “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.” The theme fits well this year as 2016 sees more female heads of state than any time in history. To help honor this year’s theme, let’s hear from a few of women in U.S. history who broke new leadership ground the glass ceiling by becoming the first of in their respective positions:
First Female Secretary of State
“As a leader, you have to have the ability to assimilate new information and understand that there might be a different view.”
Ella T. Grasso
First Female Governor Elected in Her Own Right
“It is not enough to profess faith in the democratic process; we must do something about it.”
Sandra Day O’Connor
First Female Supreme Court Justice
“Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement and remuneration based on ability.”
This short list illustrates just a few of the important milestones by women in government. Many more women in history have helped shaped what it means to be a women leader in today’s world.The sacrifices and hard work of these women helped to forge new pathways for women to follow. Just as important, they show women today how to take on new challenges and open doors that were previously closed to women. For many of these reasons, great leaders in history can help today’s leaders:
- Find a path to discovering your authentic voice
- Define your leadership style
- Lead with passion
- Persevere against roadblocks, and
- Not just survive in “a man’s world” but to change that world to be inclusive to all.
These themes and ideas as well as others will be explored in Part 2 of this article coming up on Thursday, March 10.
In the meantime, tell us what Women’s History Month means to you as a leader in our comment section below.