“Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes’; they will say, ‘Women don’t have what it takes.'” — Clare Boothe Luce
There have been many women who have broken barriers that have allowed for more women to do things in fields that weren’t always “women friendly” and who also helped more women know that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.
There are some great examples of women who have helped pave the way for more women to break down barriers. There’s Dr. Mae Jemison, who was the first African American astronaut into space, helping prove that the field of science doesn’t have to be male dominated. There is also, Grace Murray Hopper, who was a computer scientist, one of the first programmers for the Harvard Mark 1 Computer and helped develop the first complier for a computer programming language. In addition to her contributions to computer science Hopper was also Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper of the United States Navy. She served in the navy starting in 1943 during World War II and continued on active duty until 1986.
Besides science and the military, another traditionally female-lacking field, is business. Helping change the view of business being for men is Indra Nooyi, who is the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. As CEO she has raised the company’s top line 10% to 43.3 million dollars and has broken the stereotype of man power in the business world, showing that a woman can not only be in charge but can also excel in business. Beside Nooyi’s success as a CEO for a well-established business, there is also Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Ash began Mary Kay in 1963 and turned it into a multi-billion dollar empire that not only speaks to what women can accomplish when they put their minds to it, but also gave millions of women the opportunity to support themselves and their families.
These women were not afraid to follow their dreams. They dominated fields that were thought of as a man’s fields and had great success. There are many other women that have made it to the top of achievement that I haven’t mentioned that make it possible for the rest of us to succeed. As an African American woman who wants to go into the law field, which is a male-dominated field, I have to fight harder to get what I want. My mom always showed me that everything is possible if you have the mindset to complete the task laid before you. As I look at the generations before me, I see that I can accomplish anything as a woman.
The contributions of these and other successful women have shaped our society and our lives in very positive ways. It is imperative that we constantly remember their great works. Whether its elected leaders or business leaders, champions of the arts or community advocates, famous figures or the everyday woman, we owe a lot to those women, past and present. When women share in each other’s successes, we help pave the way for future generations to become tomorrow’s leaders. Even though March was Women’s History month, we need to honor the women that have paved the way to our success not just in March but every day. We should not be afraid that we as women will come up against obstacles, because everybody is capable of achieving their dreams and we should never let anybody tell us that we are not cut out for a job.