Today is International Women’s Day, March 8th. This year, in observation of this empowering day, let’s take a moment to reflect and honor some of the most influential women of all time.
Beginning as early as 570 BCE with Sappho, an ancient Greek poet writing about love and passion. She is known as the first lesbian poet and hails from the island of Lesbos, which the word lesbian is derived from. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. Her works depict strong love and passion for both men and women equally. She was also compared to Socrates by the philosopher Maximus of Tyre as one having a circle of like minded individuals brought together by their love of art, poetry and culture. It has even been suggested that she was the head of something more formal such as a school, but this is only a theory.
More recently, Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani woman of only 20, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and has fostered positive change in education and women’s rights in her country. She started writing a blog for the BBC regarding her views on education and life under the pending Taliban rule of her area. She became a public speaker on the topics of women’s rights, especially in education. Soon, she began to receive death threats for being so outspoken. She was later sought out by the Taliban and was shot. She survived the attempt. By almost successfully being assassinated, over $2 million people signed the right to education bill in Pakistan. On July 12, 2013, she was asked to speak at the United Nations for a group of 500 youth regarding access to education worldwide.
It is encouraging to know that such influential women lived so very long ago or are still living today-all working towards something larger than they but accomplishing so much in the process!
On the list are some super successful and powerful women who have helped impact the way that women are seen today in society, business and entrepreneurship: J.K. Rowling, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Billie Jean King, Margaret Thatcher, Katharine Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Helena Rubinstein, Emily Murphy, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Blackwell, Margaret Fuller, Sojourner Truth, Jane Austen, and so many others.
Women in today’s business and franchising environment need to keep stepping outside of their comfort zone and strive to be in leadership roles within their organizations, or in entrepreneurship. We need to continue to take risks and put ourselves out there. More women need to start businesses and there needs to be more women involvement-especially in the franchising space. According to recent data, the number of women who are either the founder or co-founder of a business has only risen to 18% this year, up from 9% in 2009. That is only a 50% change in 8 years time. We can do better than that!
We need to use our woman-ness to dominate the business world. We don’t need to compromise ourselves or our femininity in order to do so either. We must use our passions and our heart to guide us. We must also use our intelligence, inquisitiveness, and emotions to our advantage. Every gift and talent we possess must be kept within reach among our arsenal. We must not take no for an answer. We must continue to collaborate and share best practices and ideas for the success of all. We must continuously learn and grow along the way. We must use our mistakes and our past as a way of navigating the future.
Together, we will succeed and prevail. Together, we will stand, united for the good of all. Today, women everywhere come together to improve the lives of our future!
Together, like all those before us, we can continue to impact the way that the world views not only women, but human beings. Women globally must continue to stand up for their rights and band together to foster even more positive change regarding the way that women are viewed, especially the way we view ourselves!