When you look at Rosa Parks, she was one woman who refused to give her bus seat to a white passenger thus setting the civil rights movement in America. When you look at Tarana Burke, she is one woman who is responsible for #MeToo Movement thus bringing waves globally. When you look at Oprah Winfrey, she is one woman who continues to inspire the world with her entrepreneurship and leadership. When you look at Malala Yousafzai she is one woman who refused to bow down to terrorists’ bullets thus pioneering girls’ education globally at the tender age of 10 years. And the list goes on with women who changed the world and inspired us. It is obvious that one woman can make a difference. In this article, we will discuss the women leaders who broke the glass ceiling and inspired millions of women and men globally.
Rosa Parks—Mother of the Civil Rights Movement
Rosa Parks, the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger that led to civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to social injustice. On December 01 evening in 1955, Rosa Parks quietly incited a revolution — by just sitting down.
“Are you going to stand up?” Montgomery bus driver James Blake demanded. Rosa Parks looked straight at him and said: “No.” Flustered, and not quite sure what to do, Blake retorted, “Well, I’m going to have you arrested.” And Parks, still sitting next to the window, replied softly, “You may do that.”
After Parks refused to move, she was arrested and fined $10. She remarked, “I have no police record, I’d worked all my life, I wasn’t pregnant with an illegitimate child. The white people couldn’t point to me and say that there was anything I had done to deserve such treatment except to be born black”. She spurred the Montgomery boycott and the chain of events changed the United States. Finally, the Supreme Court ruled segregation on buses was illegal in 1956. Rosa Parks was an inspiring woman who changed the face of the world by emphasizing civil rights.
Oprah Winfrey—An Inspiring Entrepreneur and Media Moghul
Oprah Gail Winfrey needs no introduction to the world. She is a self-made billionaire with a huge presence on social media trending with hashtag #Oprah2020. She is a multifaceted personality. She is an entrepreneur, actress, television producer, talk show host, philanthropist, and an inspirational woman leader. She rose from humble origins and defied all odds to become rich and voice for women causes globally. She is emotional and eloquent. She was inspired by Maya Angelou’s autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” She considers Maya Angelou her mentor. She is a voracious reader and enjoys reading self-help books. She interviewed several eminent international celebrities including Michael Jackson in ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’. She received America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in November 2013. Here are some lessons you can learn from her. Dream big. Follow your passionate areas. Be a continuous learner. Lead from the front. Walk your talk. Leverage your strengths but be cautious about your weaknesses. Take risks and learn lessons from failures. Hire people smarter than you and give them credit. Work hard, smart and wise. Stay relevant. Build your credibility and enhance your visibility. Build your leadership brand consistently. Reinvent yourself. Stay grounded. Keep people before profit. Add value to others. Don’t compromise with your principles. Be passionate about making a difference in the world.
Drawing inspiration from these inspiring women leaders, women must break their mental barriers and limitations to become agents of change globally. To conclude, one woman can change the world. Remember, that one woman maybe you!
“Can you imagine what the world would be like if women who constitute almost half of the global population had access to education and opportunities and were allowed to contribute their best? We would achieve prosperity globally in all spheres.” ―Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D., #HeForShe