One of the first US delegates to the United Nations, the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, a strong advocate for women’s rights and civil rights and declared ‘the world’s most admired woman’ by the New York Times, Eleanor Roosevelt probably isn’t a bad place to start when looking at women in leadership in their own words.
Women in leadership in the spotlight
Today, the 8th of March, marks International Women’s Day (IWD). As the IWD website points out, the World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.
We have a long way to go to reach gender parity, but today isn’t just about how far we still have to go; it’s also about celebrating how far we have come.
And so, in celebration of the powerful, intelligent and inspiring women that set what research has shown to be a vital example for young girls around the world, we give you women in leadership in their own words.
The Woman’s Hour Power List
Each year the Woman’s Hour Power List looks at the 10 most influential women in the UK: ‘they have power not necessarily because they are in politics or run big businesses, but because the way they behave or what they say changes the way we think.’ – Jenni Murray.
Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.
Dara Richardson-Heron is chief executive of the Y.W.C.A. USA and has more than 20 years of leadership and management experience in the healthcare, corporate and nonprofit sectors. Speaking to the New York Times, she said:
It’s important for women to know that having a voice really means having a track record of success and accomplishments, so that people want to listen to what you have to say, because you’re saying something of value. So use your voice, but use it strategically.
Geena Davis, the actress known for films like Thelma and Lousie, is also the founder of the Institute on Gender in Media, ‘the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under.’
When my daughter was a toddler, and I started watching little kids’ TV shows and G-rated movies with her, I was thunderstruck by the stunning dearth of female characters. But no one else seemed to be noticing. My friends were completely surprised when I pointed it out. If I happened to be in a meeting with a studio executive or a producer, I would ask them about it and, to a person, they reassured me that the problem had already been fixed. I realized I wouldn’t get anywhere without the numbers. So, I commissioned the largest study ever done on children’s television and films and founded my Institute on Gender in Media, to engage the industry through research, events, and educational programs. – Geena Davis
Before LeanIn.org, before the book, there was the TedTalk. Facebook COO and board member, LeanIn.org founder – whatever you think of Sheryl Sandberg she has made her success visible and done what she can to hold the ladder steady for the women coming up behind her.
Short, sweet and to the point
When women do better, the economy does better. Empowering women is key to poverty reduction and growth. http://t.co/A89hwCfn6X
— Christine Lagarde (@Lagarde) December 7, 2013
- ‘Leaders of the future will have to be visionary and be able to bring people in — real communicators. These are things that women bring to leadership and executive positions, and it’s going to be incredibly valuable and incredibly in demand.’ – Anita Borg, computer scientist and founder of the Institute for Women and Technology.
- ‘There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’ – Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State
Supporting tomorrow’s women in leadership
Here at Templar we offer training in practical approaches for women in business (look out for our upcoming white paper). We help women in leadership make the most of their abilities and strengthen their communication and negotiation skills, in order that they can become the female leaders of today and tomorrow that all businesses need.
(Hat tip to WordPress for the lead image)