Past and Present Game Changers: Principals of Leadership and Overcoming Adversity. A Tribute to Women’s History Month
As the earth wakes up from its winter slumber, we welcome in the month of March and the hopes of warmer temperatures. We also celebrate Women’s History Month. Originally a weeklong observance, in 1987 Congress passed into law an extension to a month long tribute. The purpose was to educate the masses and commemorate the foremothers who have paved the way for women’s rights; making the impossible, possible. Who were these trendsetters, movers and shakers, and trailblazers? We can mention hundreds of women’s names as quickly as we flip through $1 DVDs at a yard sale; instead let’s slow down and discus a few women who has changed life as we know it.
Interior of St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, c. 1917. Maggie L Walker National Historic Site
In good ole River City in Richmond, VA, Maggie Lena Walker was the first woman to become a Bank President in 1903. Walker was very passionate and worked tirelessly to raise money for African Americans who were in need of medicine, food, and financial assistance to buy homes for their families. She founded a Penny Savings Bank through the Order of St. Luke and served as President. Its goal was to encourage savings and facilitate loans to community members; by 1920, the bank had helped about 600 families purchase homes. Picture, if possible, not being able to buy a home because the bank determined who was worthy of a loan. Many dream of one day owning a home of their own. Maggie used her gift of dedication to keep pushing through societal challenges. She raised money for those who were in need. She postponed her personal goals and dreams so she could help those achieve theirs. She went on to become a respected leader in the Richmond community and worked continuously for equal rights. United States. National Park Service. “The St Luke Penny Savings Bank.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
Still not swayed to believe that Women’s History Month should matter?
As the upcoming election looms ahead, imagine not being able to vote for the next Commander in Chief — just for being born female. In fact, women have only had the right to vote in the U.S. for 96 years; less than a lifetime for some. How was a woman’s right to vote achieved? With the addition of a little thing called the nineteenth amendment and a woman named Susan B. Anthony, who started a revolution. Most commonly known as the founder of the Suffrage movement, she was also active in the Temperance and Abolitionist movements. She used persistence to overcome the obstacles before her, and never gave up. She avidly believed women should be allowed the same rights as men. Through constant opposition, harassment and abuse, Susan and many others fought so we, the modern women of America, could place our ballots and participate in the U.S. Elections, without scrutiny or persecution. “Susan B. Anthony House.” :: Her Story. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
In many instances, individuals who were simply motivated by their own desires made women’s history without any intention. Mo’ne Davis, a little league baseball pitcher hailing from the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA was just such an example. Davis probably never thought something she loved doing would change little league baseball forever. With her signature 70+ mph fastball, she led her team to victory. Mo’ne was the first girl to pitch a shutout game, and earn a win, in Little League World Series history. Because of this feat, she was named Sports Illustrated Kids’ “Sports Kid of the Year” and became AP’s (Associated Press) youngest Female Sportsman of the Year. Davis used determination to lead her to greatness at the young age of 13. She made the sport her own and enjoyed every minute. “Mo’ne Davis on This Week’s Sports Illustrated Cover.” Mo’ne Davis on This Week’s National Sports Illustrated Cover. Web. 21 Feb. 20
These three women only scrape the surface of accomplishments in women’s history. Each of them exhibited particular traits, persistence, determination, and dedication, leading to their success. Here are some tips on how to make a difference yourself. Ask yourself these questions, do I have these qualities? How can I make an impact? A positive answer to these questions could be your first step to changing history forever.
If you have a passion you believe in, get involved. Join a community center in your neighborhood, volunteer at a charity you support, or mentor someone in need.
Share your dreams with your friends, family, coworkers; get them involved to help you achieve your goal. You never know, you might share similar goals and can work together to accomplish them. Never give up on something you believe is right.
Adversity will appear but stay the course.
So many of us give up or lose momentum when we think results are not happening fast enough or when we expect them to happen. Be patient and approach it from another angle. Feel empowered as a woman knowing that anything you want, you have the power to go get it and should. Speak up and do not hold back, you just might change history and join the endless list of foremothers who left their mark in the sand of life.
Happy Women’s History Month!