Which women do you look up to? Are they successful entrepreneurs, talented performers, or historic activists?
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the women who have shaped the world. It also highlights inequalities that persist to this day.
In honor of this year’s theme #Choosetochallenge, we asked our colleagues at Mind Tools which female challengers they look up to, and what we can learn from them.
What Can We Learn From Influential Women?
Michelle Obama is best known for her role as first lady of the United States. But her career has spanned decades. And it’s involved everything from studying at Harvard Law School to campaigning for equal rights and opportunities for minorities.
Product Manager, Carrie Horvath believes Michelle Obama is a great role model. Carrie says, “she always rises above any politics, remains calm and collected, and leads by example.”
Greta Thunberg has already caused quite the stir, aged just 18. Thunberg transformed a one-person protest outside the Swedish Parliament into a global environmental movement. And she did it armed with only a cardboard sign and her own grit. She even addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference when she was just 16 years old.
For Editor, Matthew Hughes, Thunberg’s stoicism has long been a source of inspiration: “Her resolve in the face of aggressive critics, and how she’s dealt with the pressure of becoming a symbol of the fight against climate change at such a young age – I can’t help but marvel.”
Susie Wolff has spent her career breaking up “boys clubs.” She was the first woman in 22 years to join a Formula One race weekend. After her retirement, she co-founded “Dare to Be Different,” a non-profit organization that helps women to pursue careers in motorsport.
Customer Retention Executive, Jaye O’Farrell-Stevens looks up to Wolff not just for her sporting achievements. “Despite the odds, she has continued to climb the ladder, secure senior roles, and achieve record successes. And all while helping to change the status quo.”
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is no stranger to adversity. She’s a woman of color working in space science. And she’s dyslexic. But through it all, her childhood passion for space has persevered.
Aderin-Pocock’s unwavering positivity has been an inspiration to many. They include Senior Editor, Charlie Swift. “I challenge anyone not to feel happy and inspired after even a brief dose of her energy, enthusiasm, expertise – and passion for life!”
Redefining Women’s Work
There aren’t many with as rich and varied a career as Chrissie Wellington. She negotiated on the political world stage for clean water and sustainable development. Then she travelled to Nepal to work in an orphanage. And when she returned to the U.K., she made a name for herself as a successful triathlete.
“She was probably the U.K.’s greatest unsung athlete for years, winning the Ironman World Championships in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011” says Senior Editor and fellow Ironman enthusiast, Keith Jackson.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or “AOC,” as she’s known) has been a changemaker from the start. She is the youngest woman to serve in the U.S. Congress. And she won political office in 2018 while working at a local taco restaurant in New York.
Marketing Executive, Natalie Benfell admires AOC’s work ethic and drive: “She’s passionate, fearless and works hard to drive real change.”
Which women inspire you? Share your female role models in the comments section, below!