POSTED MARCH 22, 2013 | 0 COMMENT(S) | BY GERRIANN FAGAN
March is Women’s History Month. According to the National Women’s History Project website (http://www.nwhp.org/blog/), this year’s theme is “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination, honoring women throughout history who have used their intelligence, imagination, sense of wonder, and tenacity to make extraordinary contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”
Last week, I heard Gloria Feldt, who is 71, speak. Ms. Feldt is the author of No Excuses – 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power and a prominent women’s activist.
Another inspiration is Sheryl Sandberg, the 43 year old COO of Facebook, who recently released her book, Lean In – Women, Work and The Will to Lead. The book shares personal stories, uses research to shine a light on gender differences, and offers practical advice to help women achieve their goals.
I wondered if Women’s History Month looks different through the lens of a 71 year old and that of a 43 year old woman?
While they were born 28 years apart and come from different backgrounds, there are many similarities in their messages. Ms. Feldt asserts that women often take steps forward and then fall back. She encourages everyone, not just women, to look at power differently – think about the POWER TO … rather than POWER OVER. Ms. Sandberg believes that there aren’t more women in the board room because women unintentionally hold themselves back. She encourages women to lean in, “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.
In honor of Women’s History Month, both women remind us to take a renewed look at what women can do, instead of what they can’t do. A lot can be learned from these two women about women becoming powerful leaders.
Much attention has been given to gender and generational differences. To avoid relearning the hard lessons that people before us learned, we need to make an effort to know and celebrate our history. We need to seek out role models and mentors. If you want to learn how to be a leader, consider immersing yourself in leadership. Spend time with leaders you admire. Read about leaders who are no longer with us. Learn about your family history. Keep a journal about your journey. The journal will be helpful when you have taken steps forward and fallen back. All of these tips can help with your career development and achieving your goals.
We would love to hear about female leaders that you admire!