Aug. 26: Time to Celebrate, Time for Action

“From leading women to women leading, gender equality is in sight.” This quote from Vision 2020 Co-Chairs Lynn Yeakel and Rosemarie Greco sums up one of the core ideals of Vision 2020 — encouraging women to take on leadership roles. Women leaders throughout history have been tireless in the pursuit of gender equality. Today marks 90 years since the suffragists secured the right to vote for women. What would 2010 be like without their sacrifices and perseverance?

Vision 2020 asked its National and Visionary Delegates what difference it makes to have women leaders. Below are some their responses in their own words:

“Particularly when diverse women are in leadership positions, an important signal is sent to girls and boys; that one’s gender should not limit one’s aspirations, and that we all benefit when different types of people are in decision-making positions.” — Janet Kroll, Pennsylvania

“Twenty years ago, my 6-year-old daughter asked me whether or not girls could be firefighters … I gave her the answer mothers give their daughters. Of course girls can be firefighters — girls can do anything they choose to do — with hard work, determination, education, opportunity and a willingness to challenge the status quo.” – M. Susan Savage, Oklahoma

“As our children’s generation witnesses women in active leadership roles, they will not think of women leaders as an exception but as a normal part of life.” — Kate Campbell Stevenson, Maryland

“My vision for 2020 is hopeful more women will pursue and accept leadership positions while changing the stigma of women leaders, through the recognition of their equal capacity for commitment, constructive assertiveness, and success in the workplace.” – Deb Fischer-Clemens, South Dakota

“The day that a woman in leadership becomes no more a novelty, but an expectation of our population demographics; the day that the term ‘natural strategist’ becomes associated with women rather than the too often default assumption of female stratagem (feminine trickery and wiles) as a means to a leadership position will be a era of process, progress and forward thinking.” – C. Lynn Lewis, South Carolina

“Although there are more women leaders, the numbers have moved glacially, critical mass remains elusive, and there is persistent skepticism about the difference women leaders make. Is there something here that is more impenetrable than glass architecture?” – Ruth Ann Gillis, Illinois

“We are not saying that we are best as leaders, but we should emphasize that we are ready for full partnership and equal opportunities to exercise our innate and acquired skills that make us an asset to any endeavor. And, if our society is to live and thrive in sync with the contemporary interpretations of our Constitution’s inalienable rights, it is high time for equal duties and rights to accommodate the burgeoning empowerment that utilizing women’s full potential brings to the table.” – Carmen Delgado Votaw, Maryland

“Do we lead differently? Not always. But hopefully we are more open to compromise, more willing to try different models, and more willing to identify the talents of others. If we had to work harder to get there, the sense of appreciation of what it takes often carries down through the entire organization.” – Florine Swanson, Iowa

“Traits that women have used for years to hold families together, organize volunteers and events, motivate and nurture, and manage budgets and households (multi-tasking) are valuable skills for today’s leaders if they want to make a difference in the workplace or in the world. However, these traits have been trivialized and have led to misrepresentation of the true talents women bring to the table.” – Patricia Pierce, Tennessee

“Their life experiences of generally not being at the tables of power and yet having tremendous responsibilities and requirements placed upon them have resulted in a different way of being and of leading.” – Catherine Lamboley, Texas

“We are women… We have earned our respect and guard it carefully. We are proud of our accomplishments and humble when recognized. We are confident and let no one take us down. We are powerful and diplomatic. We are brilliant and always learning. We are givers and we take what belongs to us. We are selfless. We are women who understand the realities of how hard we have had to work in all aspects of life to achieve the tremendous successes in our lives. We are defined by our contributions to the betterment of the world.” – Valerie Murzl, Nevada

“Women and men do not live in the same economic world. Women don’t work in the same jobs. Women don’t make the same money. And they certainly do not juggle the same roles. There are more single moms than ever before, putting most of the child care responsibilities on women, oftentimes while they work and go back to school or for additional training. If they are married, they too often find themselves coming home from a job only to work a second shift as housecleaner and mother.” – Lori ShraderBachar, Iowa

“Men cannot fully represent women, and woman cannot fully represent men. We share this amazing world together and we are jointly responsible for the increasingly complex decisions about its ongoing form and viability. It takes both of us to be in leadership, it takes both of us to weigh opportunities and challenges and it takes both of us to generate the best solutions.” – Rania Habiby Anderson, Kansas

 

“While having women in positions of leadership has the power to change our society and improve women’s lives, it is important to note that the world needs leaders who advocate for other women. There are many women who use their power and privilege to limit the rights of women … If women want to have equal representation in all spheres and sectors, it is critical that we encourage women leaders to advocate for women who do not have the same opportunities and power.” — Erin Parrish, Minnesota

Vision 2020’s delegates have powerful voices and they will use their voices to empower women. Aug. 26 is not only a significant date in history, but it also marks a noteworthy date for Vision 2020: It kicks off the next decade where the National and Visionary Delegates will work to bring about gender equality by Aug. 26, 2020. Support your state’s National Delegates and keep up with Vision 2020’s projects by visiting Drexel.edu/vision2020, becoming a fan of Vision 2020 on Facebook and following Vision 2020 on Twitter.

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About equalityinsight

Vision 2020 is a national coalition of organizations and individuals united in their commitment to achieve women’s economic and social equality. Join Vision 2020 today! http://www2.drexelmed.edu/vision2020giftsonline/Individual.aspx
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