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Honorable Mention Chapter Award

 

 

WHEN WOMEN ASPIRE, THEY INSPIRE

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By: Fiona Macpherson | Mar 19, 2021

We all have our own interpretation of what makes a good leader and which female leaders we look to for inspiration. Leadership is using the art of motivation, not authority and power, with a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal. In order to succeed, female leaders can often come across as rule-breakers as they face gender stereotypes.

For many, 2020 was a year they would rather forget, but for a select few ladies it was a year they will never forget. It was the year Kamala Harris was elected as the first Black, South Asian female vice president, Sarah McBride became the first transgender state senator, Jane Fraser was announced as the first woman to head a major U.S. bank (Citigroup) and Katie Sowers was the first woman and first openly gay coach in Super Bowl history. 

It makes me so happy to hear about all these firsts for women, but I can’t help but always ask, “Why has it taken so long?” Generation X women appear to be the generation who are currently cracking that infamous glass ceiling, with both Gen Z and millennial women hot on their heels eager to shatter it into a million pieces. However, throughout history women have been fighting to have their voices heard and overcome multiple obstacles to pave the way for the successful women of today.

I imagine everyone knows the story of Rosa Parks and her fight against social injustice; however, the lesser-known side to the story is that after the incident on the bus, she subsequently lost her job, which led to financial struggle, and was ostracized by her community, which eventually led to her and her family leaving Alabama.

More recently, Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani student, was shot in the head at the age of 15 for speaking out against the ban of education for girls. She moved to the United Kingdom for medical treatment and has since won the Noble Peace Prize, written a best-selling memoir and is a prominent activist. While most of the world see her in a positive light, not all are in agreement and some schools in her home country observe “I am not Malala Day” in protest of her views.

I could not write this without a mention of one of the greatest female leaders of our time, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “Notorious” RBG was not a first for women, but she was a trailblazer in opening male eyes to the existence of sex-based discrimination. After graduation, Ginsburg struggled to find work in the legal field in New York City. “I struck out on three grounds,” as she later put it. “I was Jewish, a woman and a mother. The first raised one eyebrow; the second, two; the third made me indubitably inadmissible.”

These are great examples of women who put their lives and livelihood on the line to take a stand on something they believed in, which would not necessarily benefit themselves but benefit those around them and future generations. These changes did not happen overnight; some only put a small dent in changing the world, but a dent is better than nothing! Those small dents are created for us to follow and become leaders ourselves. Starting with your friendship group, workplace, community – as Ginsberg said, “fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Your inspiring leader does not need to have won a Nobel Prize or invent the fire escape (yes, that was a lady named Anna Connelly). That person could be your mother, grandmother, best friend or colleague – someone who never gives up and has a dream that you want to support and help them achieve.

 

Author

Fiona M
Fiona Macpherson
Vice President Business Development at etc.venues, New York

Fiona Macpherson has been a member of MPI Greater New York since 2017 and an active member of the recently formed Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Originally from the UK, she moved to New York in May 2019 and works for etc.venues as VP business development.

 

 
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