Honoring women who have brought their feminine energy and feminine qualities into leadership roles include women who lived centuries ago. Yet no matter when they lived, the women below provide compelling examples from which we can learn.
# 1 At 20 years of age, Anne Sullivan was the teacher of Helen Keller—a child who was both blind and deaf. She trained Keller to speak, read braille, and write within months. Sullivan once wisely said, “Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.”
# 2 Florence Nightingale, who is also known as the “Lady with the Lamp,” was a pioneer in the field of nursing. Her writings inspired worldwide healthcare reform. She and other nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British hospital during the Crimean war and saved countless lives.
# 3 Margaret Hamilton was an astronaut who coined the term “software engineering.” She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work with Apollo 11, which delivered the first persons safely to the moon in 1969.
# 4 Clare Booth Luce was the first American woman appointed to a major ambassadorial post abroad, in 1953. She was an accomplished author and known for her play, The Women, which featured an all-female cast.
# 5 J. K. Rowling created and authored the world-renowned fantasy book series, Harry Potter, which sold more than 450 million copies and became a number of blockbuster films.
# 6 Dr. Erna Hoover received a patent for a telephone switching computer program in 1972, which was one of the first software patents issued. Of note, she worked on her idea while still in the hospital, following the birth of her second daughter.
# 7 Jane Goodall is a British primatologist and anthropologist, and was named a UN Messenger of Peace in 2002. She studied chimpanzees in the wild and is a leading expert on them. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute and The Roots and Shoots program, constantly working on conservation and animal welfare issues.
# 8 Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to graduate from medical school in 1849 in the United States. Throughout her life, she was a leader in public health activism.
# 9 As a young girl, Malala Yousafzai stood up against the Taliban in Pakistan, insisting girls be allowed to receive an education. In 2012 she survived a shot to the head by a Taliban gunman, and later received the Nobel Peace Prize for her human rights advocacy work.
# 10 Mother Teresa was one of the 20th century’s greatest humanitarians. She founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women who help the poor. She lived by her words, “Peace begins with a smile,” and was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016.
The women on this list who influenced me the most were Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa. I first heard of Florence Nightingale when I was a nursing student and learned the importance of sanitation—which remains a significant factor today, given the many countries that do not have clean water or access to medications when ill. Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to helping the poor, influenced me in numerous ways—teaching me to hold poverty-stricken people close to my heart and providing the simple reminder of how peace begins with a smile.
What woman, past or present, has positively influenced you and in what way? All sharing and comments are most welcome.