Each year the recognition of International Women’s Day expands, reaching across the globe. At Tiara we do like to remind people of the origination of the day, in the early 1900s, to recognize milestones in gender equity and women’s rights. Although the day came into being around the same time as the Hallmark Greeting Card company was founded, it was definitely not invented as a greeting card occasion. It is a day we pause and remember groundbreaking moments and women who paved the way for opportunities women have today.
Unfortunately, we are a long way from gender parity globally. As documented in the World Economic Forum’s 2018 report, we are well over a hundred years away from true gender parity. Until then women know that it takes extra effort to contribute and recognized as equal to their male counterparts in the measurable dimensions of Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment.
On this day, we feel it’s useful to both take an unfiltered look at the imbalances that still exist so we are motivated to do what it takes to reach not only gender parity, but equal opportunity for all underrepresented people.
At the same time, we do like to acknowledge how far we’ve come, and in a Facebook LIVE broadcast, three of the Tiara Global Leaders share specific stories of women who had the courage, wisdom, strength, endurance, and tenacity to pave the way for us today. Below is the video recording and brief synopses of their stories, and we hope this inspires you to research what women made it possible for your life to look the way it does today.
In the United States, we often remember Susan B. Anthony as the leader of the women’s right to vote. However, there were other key players, namely Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone right their with her, leading the fight for the vote over a span of 70 years. It’s easy to forget something that we may begin to take for granted took that long.
Joanne Woodward was an intelligent, talented, creative force whose work included prominent roles as a lead actress as well as running influential philanthropic efforts. She is the first woman who had a star placed on Hollywood Boulevard, and she navigated her movie career with grace and strength. She was married to Paul Newman, and together they rose above Hollywood stereotypes in their partnership, family, body of work, and philanthropic endeavors.
Madam CJ Walker
Madam CJ Walker (born Sarah Breedlove) was one of the first female entrepreneurs, and the first American woman who was a self-made millionaire. She began her life in poverty; she was the first of the six children in her family to be born after the end of slavery. After a hard life of physical labor and financial hardship, she began working as a saleswoman for Annie Turbo Malone selling her hair products. From there she created her own product line complete with manufacturing and sales agents. She used her expanded influence as a Civil Rights Activist and Philanthropist.
The Widow Clicquot
The Widow Clicquot (born Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin) became one of the first successful international business women in history when she risked her inheritance and took over her husband’s sparkling wine business. Not only did she make it a revered, desired Champagne, she completely reinvented the Champagne-making process, which is still followed today.
Patsy Mink is known as the Mother of Title IX, which was an extraordinarily influential equal education opportunity amendment. It’s known for its impact on sports for girls, but included equal access to educational opportunities in 10 categories. Patsy was also the first Asian American woman and woman of color to serve on the United States Congress, as well as a high school basketball player for Maui High School and the first Japanese American woman lawyer in Hawaiian history.
Katherine Graham stepped into the presidency of the Washington Post Company in September 1963, following her husband’s death. From 1969 to 1979 she also held the title of publisher. Under her leadership, the Washington Post became one of the most influential and powerful newspapers in the country, committed to tenacious investigative journalism that contributed to Watergate.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King was instrumental in the pay equity, using her influence as a public figure and tennis champion to insist upon equal pay for equal work. Her willingness to be a spokesperson and activist changed the landscape for female athletes, and she stands for empowerment and equality in all she does.
Katharine Hepburn was committed to doing her career and her life her way. Intelligent, quick, funny, committed, and headstrong, she did not conform to the Hollywood expectations from insisting upon wearing trousers to living independently as a single woman for the majority of her life. By having the guts and confidence to be herself in the public eye, she paved the way for what was coined as “the modern woman.”