self-esteem

World Change Begins in Your Heart

Author, Speaker, Humanitarian

Dr. Paula Fellingham

Humanitarian and global women’s movement leader, Dr. Paula Fellingham continues to point her light toward spreading world peace and women’s empowerment for every woman on the planet. As an author of seven books, a teacher, musician, grandmother and winner of both the “Outstanding Leadership and Service” award from President Obama and the “Points of Light” award from President George W. Bush, Paula is propelling her social profit foundation, The Global Prosperity and Peace Initiative, to reach more people than any such endeavor ever has in the history of the world. Paula says each individual must see and accept peace within themselves before we can change the world. Therefore, her peace lessons begin within the heart, and she then shows how to share them in the home, and finally expand into humanity.

Target Date: International Women’s Day, March 3, 2019

Building on the landmark celebration in the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day in 2011, Paula is collaborating with organizations all over the world to launch a program developed by women for women celebrating all we have done, and providing a platform for women to help one another around the world. Using the video conference technology of Zoom, Paula is working to  produce a program that will reach 400 Million people 36,000 live events in every nation on the planet. This massive collaboration will also be available for download on Hulu.

Become a National Peace Ambassador

Paula invites everyone listening to become a National Peace Ambassador. You can sign up on PeaceandProsperityInitiative.org. It’s free and completely volunteer. You can participate as much as you want, but she has made it easy through the peace lessons, called “Peace Is Possible” which she developed for people to give in their own home. The lessons are adaptable to every age group and address problems people have every day.
Originally developed as a program for Rotary International, Paula’s “Peace is Possible” lessons teach participants how to be kind and loving to themselves, their children, brothers, sisters, classmates. She advises how to resolve conflicts in concrete practical ways, how to combat bullying and many more daily life issues. Her focus is on prevention and letting each human being know how precious they are, focusing on the fact that everyone matters and needs to believe that about themselves and everyone they meet.
Listen to more words of wisdom and inspiring projects from these two dedicated humanitarians, Dr. Nancy and Dr. Paula. Hear true stories about how women working together are making the world a far better place to live in. Check out Paula’s website, PaulaFellingham.com, and learn more about her women’s organizations that are founded on the same principles of women helping women as WomenConnect4Good, Inc.

Gifts to Heal and Transform Your Life

Kim Coles


Actress and Comedian Kim Coles has reached beyond the TV screen and the stage to share how she turned  her life around when she discovered that life doesn’t happen to you, but for you. When her five-year successful TV show, “Living Single,” came to an end, she not only lost her TV family, she lost her way. Now, she says that of course her life was more than a TV show, but the loss was so great, it was difficult to see that at the time. In the process of emerging from a deep depression, she found her gifts and reached out to help others through speaking, writing and sharing empowering stories.
 

Stories Inform, Engage, Educate and Can Heal the World

Her book, Open Your GIFTS: 22 Lessons on Finding and Embracing Your Personal Power, became an Amazon best seller and charts the way to empowerment with stories to show how others have turned their lives around by welcoming their gifts.

GIFTS is an acronym:
G = Gratitude – Kim says she wrote a gratitude journal before GIFTS . The  most difficult thing is to be grateful for the “yucky stuff” life dishes out. But those can be the most rewarding gifts because they offer the best opportunity for learning.
I = Intention – Kim advises being intentional with your spiritual to-do list and whatever you want to be in the world.
F = Forgiveness – Forgiveness opens up your heart for so much more. When you can forgive and release past hurts from events, other people or yourself, you can use those lessons to transform your life.
T = Triumph – Kim says it’s very important to celebrate your success. Take time to be triumphant about the gains you’ve made. It builds self-confidence and helps you face future obstacles with the courage of past victories.
S = Self Love – This final letter is the essence of the book. You must love yourself and take care of yourself no matter what. Kim shares this book to help women arrive at that final step so they can live their passion and purpose.

More of Kim’s Story and Free Gift

Listen to this interview for more of Kim’s personal story  and more about her free gift—a seven-day workbook for your gratitude list, intentions, triumphs and expressions of self love. She’s offering an audio book too, absolutely free. The code is near the end of the interview.   Also check out her website and realkimcoles on Facebook to keep up to date on her events and appearances.

Lead Like a Girl

10 Ways to Put Your Feminine Strengths to Work at Work

As we move further into the 21st century, the face of leadership is becoming more and more feminine. Here, the coauthor of Leading Women shares 10 traditionally feminine strengths that make women ideally suited to take their place as leaders.


For decades, women in business strove to become members of the boys’ club. We mimicked how men thought, communicated, and even dressed. But now, trying too hard to tap into our “masculine side” has gone the way of severely tailored 1980s power wear (complete with giant shoulder pads). Women have realized that we think and communicate differently—which means that we also lead differently. And—here’s the best news—because our natural skill set is increasingly valued in the global economy, we’re perfectly positioned to become today’s and tomorrow’s leaders.
(As the powerful and popular campaign by Always proves, doing anything “like a girl” is something to be proud of—and that includes leading!)
“Women already have the raw material we need to become successful leaders,” says Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly, who along with 19 other women, cowrote the new book Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life (Adams Media, ISBN: 978-1-440-58417-6, $16.99, www.drnancyoreilly.com). “We just need to shift our attitudes and master the best practices to put these natural skills and abilities to work.”
To be clear, this isn’t a contest between the sexes. As one of O’Reilly’s coauthors Lois P. Frankel, PhD, points out, women aren’t better leaders than men—just different leaders. And bonus: What followers expect from leaders in the first decades of the 21st century are behaviors and characteristics traditionally associated with women.
In her book O’Reilly has brought together 20 nationally acclaimed women authors to share their real-life advice for breaking free of women’s traditional limitations in work and community. Coauthors include New York Times and Amazon best-selling authors, corporate coaches, an Emmy Award-winning television host, and more.
Here, O’Reilly and some of her coauthors share 10 ways you can use your feminine strengths to lead like a girl:
Reframe your ideas about power.  If you think power necessarily means “command and control leadership,” think again. Women wield our own style of power and, frankly, it packs quite a punch. (Consider the fact that we influence 85 percent of all buying decisions and are thus pivotal to the success of many industries.) Often, just shifting the way we think about power can make women feel more comfortable with taking the lead.
O’Reilly’s coauthor Gloria Feldt explains that instead of seeking “power over,” women are more comfortable seeking the “power to.” Feminine power is the ability to accomplish our goals, provide for our families, and make the world a better place—and to help others do the same.
“Women understand that more for you doesn’t mean less for me, that power isn’t a finite resource,” O’Reilly comments. “The more girl power we use, the more of it there is.”
Don’t try to be the strong, silent type. Because women are seen as talkative and chatty (often non-productively so), many make a conscious effort to hold their tongues in professional settings. But research suggests that this is a misconception: Men actually talk more and hold the floor longer than women during meetings.
Claire Damken Brown, PhD (another coauthor), says that women’s reputation for wordiness might stem from the fact that our talk patterns are indirect and detail-driven, meaning that we usually provide more background information than men. But research has found that women talk to exchange information and establish cohesion.
“So as long as you stay focused on goals instead of gossip and practice the art of the brief response, it’s okay to use your words,” O’Reilly observes. “Odds are, your feminine communication is making you an effective leader.”
Ask for help. The traditional image of the “strong” leader is a man who is self-sufficient and capable. He’s the prototypical rugged individualist and never asks for help. Of course, this is an outdated stereotype, but for many leaders (male and female alike), the reluctance to ask for help persists. What we need to understand is that women have long realized the benefits of tapping into the resources and expertise of others—Will you watch the kids? What’s your advice? Can we work together on this?—and it’s an incredibly efficient—and effective—way to get things done.
“For millennia, women have actively built strong, supportive connections to help their ‘sisters’ live their very best lives,” points out O’Reilly. “Because women don’t mind admitting what we don’t know and are willing to share the credit, we are good at spotting problems and making sure they get fixed. When we don’t let our egos get in the way of asking for help, we’re far more likely to achieve progress and success.”
Take to the podium, woman-style. How many women do you know who’d rather do almost anything than speak in public? Anxiety about public speaking is common to both women and men, but it’s especially important that women overcome this fear. To advance in leadership roles, women will need to be seen and heard at the podium—and be remembered positively afterward.
Leading Women contributor Lois Phillips, PhD, says women have a natural affinity for public speaking. We tend to provide information to help listeners achieve their goals, rather than to establish dominance over the group or negotiate status. We also want to connect to our audience and have an innate ability to read and respond to their nonverbal cues.
Shift your perspective (and theirs, too). Women have a special brand of resilience. We are able not only to power through tough times, but are often able to creatively use obstacles as teachable moments and stepping stones. And a big part of this quality has to do with an ability to reframe who we think we are and what we think we deserve. (M. Bridget Cook-Burch tackles this subject in Leading Women.)
“The stories we tell ourselves about events in our lives are every bit as powerful as the events themselves,” says O’Reilly. “For example, if your company is failing in one area, you might see that ‘failure’ as a springboard to move in a fresh new direction. Being able to shift your focus away from what you don’t want to the things you’d like to create will not only help you survive and grow; it can help your entire organization become more future-focused and productive.”
 Stop trying to network. Instead, connect. Women love to make satisfying, mutually fulfilling connections with each other. (And we’re good at it!) That’s why the mile-wide-inch-deep world of social media, insincere business card exchanges, and traditional “What can you do for me?” networking often leaves us feeling cold.
“The good news is, it’s easy to start asking instead, ‘What can we create together?’” O’Reilly comments. “This is Connecting 2.0—it’s the powerful force behind the women-helping-women movement that is rapidly changing the playing field for women in business, government, education, philanthropy, and other fields. It feels good and it works.
“There are so many ways to make authentic connections,” she adds. “You can gather successful women in your community and organize a round table discussion. You can collaborate with a different team at work. You can get involved with a philanthropic cause. The idea is to reach out to other women, offer to share resources, and see what happens.”
Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. Historically, female leaders have tried to compensate for being the “emotional,” “soft” sex by keeping it all business, all the time. But women’s ability to nurture relationships can actually be a huge asset in a business context. The quality of a leader’s relationships with peers and employees can have a major impact on company culture and morale, and thus productivity and growth.
“Feminine skills like showing empathy, being emotionally intelligent, being able to put others at ease, caring about their concerns, and more are now ‘must-have’ abilities for leaders,” notes O’Reilly. “And make no mistake, these are not ‘soft skills’; they are actually quite difficult to learn and develop. Case in point: As my coauthor Birute Regine, EdD, points out, no one ever succeeded in mastering relational intelligence during a two-hour seminar.”
Extend a helping hand, especially to other women. Women are natural collaborators. We know the significance of a helping hand, mutual support, and mentorship, and we value the satisfaction and meaning that come from aiding others. In the workplace, this ability can mean the difference between being a “boss” and being a “leader”—a distinction that creates employee buy-in and engagement.
“Giving your time, knowledge, understanding, empathy, and support to other people can have a huge ROI,” observes O’Reilly. “Be especially vigilant for opportunities to help other women by being a sponsor or mentor. This can lead to improved opportunities for both of you via reciprocity. Plus, it sets a positive example and is good karma. Helping other women claim their power and passion is always a sound investment. When the hands that rock the cradle join together, they really can rule the world.”
 Use your collaboration skills to tap into “collective intelligence.” Successful collaboration is a lot more than just putting a group of people in a room and asking them to work together. As Birute Regine, EdD, notes, it requires participants to accurately read nonverbal cues and others’ emotions, to use empathy, to put ego aside, and to be sensitive to fairness and turn-taking. All of these are feminine skills. Without them, collaboration can easily devolve into group-think and follow-the-leader. With them, though, a group becomes capable of “evolved thinking.”
Furthermore, Regine says, research shows that groups are most likely to display a level of creativity that’s greater than the sum of its parts when at least half the chairs around the table are occupied by women.
“Women are adept at creating conditions of mutuality, equality, and trust—all of which are necessary for team members to feel comfortable enough to share ideas and take risks,” observes O’Reilly. “That’s why it’s so important for women in leadership positions to reach out to bring other women into the fold. When we join forces, the benefits have a powerful ripple effect that extends well beyond the original participants. No individual woman is as creative, skilled, or powerful as we are together.”
Trust yourself. From the way we dress to the jobs we do to the way we spend our time, society feels especially free to tell women how to live their lives. It’s very easy to internalize those voices and allow them to shape our choices, aspirations, and dreams—a path that leads to regret for too many women.
“Trust yourself and listen to your instincts,” O’Reilly urges. “They are usually right. Don’t let anyone make you doubt yourself by telling you what you ‘should’ think or feel. One of the best ways I’ve found to stay on track is to stay present and turn on your senses. When facing opposition or making a decision, tune in to how you’re feeling, not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally too. If you’re headed in a good direction, you should feel alive and energized.”
“As women, it truly is our time to step up and take our place as leaders,” concludes O’Reilly. “When we focus and hone our feminine skills, we can make a positive impact on our companies, our communities, and our world.”

~

Originally appeared in Working Mother, March 3, 2015. Working Mother is a women’s interest publication offering ideas, solutions and support for all aspects of working mothers’ lives, including work and family conflicts, balancing roles as a mother and employer/employee and child care

Leverage Your Strengths for Mutual Gain

Gallup Certified Strengths Coach

Marsha Friend-Berkson


Guiding teams down their paths to ever-greater success is the passion of Consultant and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach Marcia Friend-Berkson. When her marriage and business with her husband ended, her coach suggested that she analyze her with the Clifton Strengths tool. In organizing some work for an organization at the time, she realized that she naturally had tasks that energized her and others she pushed to the side. It was liberating to know that she could outsource those and focus on what she was good at.
What she learned about herself intrigued her so much that she took the workshops to become certified and for the past two years has helped several San Diego companies and social-profit organizations to utilize the system for their own team-building success. As Berkson says, when you leverage your strengths for the organization’s greater good, you realize that we’re all in this together and everyone contributes more when they work from a place of empowerment.
“What would happen when we think about what is right about people rather than fixating on what is wrong with people.”

– Donald O. Clifton, Father of Strengths Psychology

Dr. Nancy and Berkson talk about how people usually want to fix what needs improvement, rather than celebrating their talents. When Donald Clifton invented the tool, he thought it really could be transformative. Gallup’s measurement of it shows that when you leverage from your strengths, you’re three times happier in life and six times more engaged in your job. Berkson says that you soar when you understand your strengths, because they describe you, influence your choices and explain how you filter the world. And because you understand that you are good at some things, but not so great at others, you work in ways that are in sync with your natural gifts.
Women are typically strong at relationship-building skills, but don’t think it’s valued as much as analytical skills in business. However, when men discover how good women on the team are at collaboration and developing relationships, they reach out to leverage the skills that they lack. For the women, it’s validating and increases their sense of self-worth. For the men, it reveals how crucial these strengths are to the success of the organization.

Imagine being excited about going to work every day.

Gallup research shows that only 18% of the United States workforce are actively engaged in their jobs. Dr. Nancy quotes a statistic that reports over 50% of American workers are unhappy with their jobs. She wonders about how so many people could follow paths that leave them so dissatisfied.
Berkson says that’s why she is so excited about what happens to people when they find their own strengths. People get energized and happy to figure out why they are drawn to particular skill sets. People start to feel good about where their secret sauce is and how they can leverage theirs to have someone else support them.  The spirit of trust grows. The atmosphere becomes collaborative over leveraging each others’ strengths to reach a common goal. Her goal in the process is to ultimately help people become their own advocate and to be able to talk honestly about their strengths and how they would like to use them to accomplish their work.
To find out more about Berkson’s experience of how the assessment works with different organizations, listen to this interview. Then check out her website, marshaberkson.com,  for her on-going writings and to contact her with questions.

Do What Gives You Joy

Holly Dowling


Global Keynote Speaker and Women’s Leadership Expert Holly Dowling chooses every day to do what gives her joy and uses her driving passion to inspire other women to do the same. A crooked path led her from pre-law at K-State, through a career as a cruise director, life as a single mom and a VP of an international financial firm. What saw her through were her three words to live by: tenacious, fortuitous and perseverance. Now she tells women around the world to shed anything that dims their light and say yes to everything and every person who supports their passion and purpose. When Holly is brought into corporations for leadership programs, she finds that instead of professional development, women most need to focus on who they are and rekindle the power and the light within to truly make a difference in the world.

You Are Not Alone!

No matter what culture they live in around the world, women want to know, most of all, that they are not alone. Holly’s mission is to share that message and why and how they can be true to themselves and live their passion. Universally, women look outside of themselves for permission to be who they are and go after their dreams. Holly sees many women break down in tears when they realize that they have been allowing the lack of permission to hold them back. They are liberated by the understanding and the epiphany that comes with knowing they have the power to choose. Holly urges women to see every day as the gift it is. When Holly considers her day, she asks, will this client give me joy?
On the flip-side, she tells women to stay away from emotional vampires. When you feel emotionally drained, look at who you spent your time with and what you were doing. Look for like-minded people who will support you, energize you and help you live your passion. “Quit shoulding yourself” and stay true to your character. There are more inspirational quotes in her book, Hollyisms: Let Your Life Shine, which is part meditations, part journal.

Celebrate You!

Listen to more inspirations from this engaging and fun conversation and check out Holly’s website, hollydowling.com. Her free special gift for people connecting with this interview is a button on her home page to listen to one of her all-time favorite podcasts that she broadcasts, Celebrate You!

The Historic Women’s March Is Over. What’s Next?

By Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly
“Women Marched; Now What?” was the theme for a recent discussion of Women and Power at the famed National Press Club in Washington, D.C. An amazing group of people met to discuss how women can advocate for gender equality in leadership, which I believe will make this world a better place for all of us to live in. Being at the National Press Club felt like being on hallowed ground. The pictures on the wall reflected so many historical greats who had spoken at the Press Club, including Gloria Steinem, Chris Everett and our own Gloria Feldt (who joined me in facilitating this discussion) pictured during her term as national CEO of Planned Parenthood.
Take The Lead and Women Connect4Good developed the program to introduce the concepts in Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life to the Washington D.C., community. Interest in the topic has escalated since the recent general election. Whether people were happy or disappointed by the election results, the example set by Leading Women, namely a collaboration among 20 women leaders in various fields of expertise reaching out to help other women, demonstrates the most productive path into the future. The need has never been greater for women to step forward and take their seats at every table where decisions are made. We must collaborate and support one another to protect our women’s rights as human rights and to work to protect our basic freedoms and the well-being of our communities in the future.
The most important aspect of the evening was bringing people together to talk. The March demonstrated the enormous energy generated by the 2016 general election, but a hundred or more causes were represented in the demonstrations. In order for that energy to create positive change, individuals and groups need to create a focused agenda for moving forward.
Many answers were offered to the questions: What will I do now? What can I do now? Some are looking at running for an elected office. Others are talking about how they can communicate their activism and invite others to join. Suggestions came in many forms, including one woman who described how her grandson’s Facebook group in Virginia formed to stay abreast of political issues. Another suggested supporting other women in workplace meetings, keeping the recognition honest as to who was contributing good ideas and helping each other’s voices be heard.
These may seem like small actions, but the March itself began as a small action–a grassroots dynamic that grew organically and by January 21 had attracted millions of participants all over the world. Every day small actions we make change the world in unforeseen ways. It’s important to have these conversations that dig into the culture and how we allow it to shape us with regard to gender, especially if we want to change that culture into one that supports us equally. For gender parity in leadership to happen across all sectors, men and women must work together to achieve results that will benefit all of us.
We need to recognize how much stronger we are together than when we are polarized around divisive issues. The more we choose sides made up only of people who think exactly like ourselves, the more we limit our outcomes and the possibilities for future generations. We must release feeling that it’s “us-against-them” and focus on us, We The People, to fulfill our promise as a nation that offers a light of hope to the entire world.
Our discussion followed the positive flow of women united in wanting to engage and move forward in making a difference. Words like hope and inclusion, and actions like mentoring each other set the tone. The need for women to trust and support one another must form the foundation if our actions are to succeed. To get to trust, we must continue to talk, even if it’s about things that make us uncomfortable. That became a mantra for the evening. “Get comfortable talking about the things that make you uncomfortable.” This is how women can Take The Lead and join together, engaging at a meaningful level to transform our country and our world into a place where gender equality and human rights are available to all.
I am grateful for the organizations who supported this event and deserve your generous support:
Convoy of Hope Women’s Empowerment Program gives women the opportunity to generate income, which not only impacts their families, but positively impacts their country’s economic standing as well. Their goal is to empower women in El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Tanzania to make strategic, independent life choices through community-based training in peer-oriented cooperative savings groups and non-traditional micro-enterprise development. Convoy of Hope helps to facilitate sustainable income-generating activities and entrepreneurial thinking that equips women to make positive choices for themselves and their families in the area of health, education and economic welfare.
To find out more about how to help make a difference through Convoy of Hope Women’s Empowerment program, click here: https://www.convoyofhope.org/what-we-do/womens-empowerment/
Take the Lead is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that thinks like an entrepreneurial start up. Because we have set the ambitious intention of gender parity in leadership by #25not95, our scaling up strategy is collaboration. We believe that just as power is an infinite resource, when it comes to accelerating women’s leadership, the more there is, the more there is.
We partner with a wide variety of nonprofit, academic, and for-profit organizations and generous funders. To find out more about participating in our programs or supporting our goal of gender parity, check out our website, https://www.taketheleadwomen.com/
Women Connect 4 GoodThe Mission of Women Connect4Good, Inc. foundation is to educate people to develop women-helping-women networks to raise the status of women and change the world.
“We should celebrate women’s accomplishments in this male-dominated culture, even though we still earn less than men, the ERA is still not law, and millions of our sisters around the world suffer violence at staggering rates. We must follow in the steps of our fore-sisters, who founded The Red Cross, The United Way, and won the right to vote. We must connect with our sisters and create a new women’s movement of women helping women.”~ Dr. Nancy
To find out how you connect with WC4G, click here https://www.drnancyoreilly.com/women-connect-4-good/

Are We Teaching Our Children That Women Are Liars?

pexels-photo-largeRight here in the midst of a heated political season I think we can all agree that the old saying, “Liar, liar, pants on fire” still has many applications today. All you have to do is turn on the news to hear pundits speculating and commercials pointing fingers. The “he said” and “she said” accusations are just getting started, and by November most Americans will be numb and ready for it to be over.
But will it really be over? It will politically, for maybe a minute, but beyond that we definitely have some work to do as most recently pointed out by the Mormon Press. The group recently put together a chart on politicians that had been active enough on the national stage to get fact-checked by PolitiFact at least 50 times since the start of 2007. With this data they compiled “Who Lies More: A Comparison.”
The response to their chart was immediate and unprecedented, and shattered all of their previous benchmarks for reach and engagement. The main reason for the response? Commenters were furious that Hillary Clinton was rated as being rather honest. The fact that Hillary is often seen as “dishonest” isn’t rooted in her record, especially not when one compares her to Donald Trump. It is in fact, rooted in her gender. The bias is so decidedly gender specific that the Mormon Press writes, “In America we teach our children that women are liars.”
This is not a new idea. A woman’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, in doctors’ offices, and in our political processes every day. People don’t trust women to be the boss or the employee. Case in point, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. This approach is trickling down to what our children are learning. According to a piece in Huffington Post, many, through default and tradition, casually and uncritically expose children to traditions that are fundamentally misogynistic – think domestic work, pay discrimination, and sex segregation in the workplace.
On the political stage in most cases, it’s also a matter of women having to work harder and climb a different mountain than their male counterparts. As the Mormon Press writes, “Women are held to a higher standard, and punished by voters to a greater extent for perceived failings. Hillary has had to walk this tightrope of being a woman trying to get things done in public–in ways that challenged patriarchal norms even as those norms were changing. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that she’s paid a price in voter perceptions.”
In the process of climbing that mountain and working harder, many women may come across as assertive, and that too can work against them. Fast Company reports that earlier this year Stanford psychologist Larissa Tiedens and Melissa J. Williams of Emory University examined 71 studies on the way people respond to “assertive” behavior and broke the findings down by speakers’ gender. They found evidence that the well-known trade off women often face between competence and likability is considerable: Women pay a price for showing the same dominant traits that men are typically applauded for.
This is not a no-win situation. As we work towards equality, we can and will remove these preconceptions – if we all work together. It starts with our children. Any commitment to parity means challenging the stories that we tell our children and changing their views around women and equality. We need to give them examples of women doing anything and everything that men can do – with dignity and grace. We need to show them what it means to be a strong woman and fight for those we love, and for what we believe in. We need to celebrate women’s accomplishments in all areas of our community and on the national stage. And most importantly, we need to teach them from the very earliest ages that men and women are created equally. This can be an opportunity for women to work together for the greater good–for us to join hands with our sisters, and push the doors to equality – and all of the respect that comes with it – wide open.

Educated Women Are Empowered Women

Student_Graduation_Faculty_of_Economics_ULBS,_Jun_2013Education of any type, much less higher education, just wasn’t available to women during most of our history. Clear proof that things have changed – a lot – is a new report confirming that black women are now the most educated group in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics between 2009 and 2010, black women earned 68 percent of all associate degrees awarded to black students, as well as 66 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 71 percent of master’s degrees and 65 percent of all doctorates awarded to black students.

History of Women and Education in the U.S.

The American colonies were progressive in that girls were taught to read and write. But the only way they could get higher education was if a seat was left over after all the boys were served. If a woman advanced her intellect, people thought, she would be “unsexed.” The way a woman set about building her self esteem and gaining self confidence was to cultivate the appropriate feminine arts like cooking, sewing, raising children and running a household.
In 1833, the first university in the nation accepted women students and the first woman soon received a bachelor’s degree. The rest of the century saw a new first every decade: first to earn a medical degree, a Ph.D., a science degree, dentistry, architecture, mathematics and then psychology. The first woman was appointed superintendent of public instruction, and the first woman became a full professor with a salary equal to her male peers.
In the post-World War II era, the financial return to women with a higher education greatly increased. By the late 1950s, women tended to pursue female-intensive occupations such as teaching and social work after graduation. So, they majored in education, English and literature perhaps, and they often aimed at finding suitable mates in college.
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, women’s expectations of their place in the future labor force changed radically. Rather than follow in their mothers’ footsteps, they aimed to have careers, not just jobs. These careers were often outside of the traditionally female occupations. That’s when things really began to change.
In the early 1990s, adult women were as likely as men to earn a bachelor’s degree or attend graduate school. But around the middle of the decade, women began to surpass men in college enrollment. In 1994, 63% of recent female high school graduates and 61% of male recent high school graduates enrolled in college in the fall following graduation. By 2012, the share of young women enrolled in college immediately after high school had increased to 71%, but it remained unchanged for young men at 61%.

Women Are Making Amazing Progress

Today, women in the workforce are more likely to have at least a bachelor’s degree than not. They’re also making gains in occupations that traditionally have been dominated by men.
The woman-dominated majors of today are:

  • Health Professions (85% women): nursing assistant, veterinary assistant, dental assistant, etc.
  • Public Administration (82%): social work, public policy, etc.
  • Education (79%): pre-K, K-12, higher education, etc.
  • Psychology (77%): cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, etc.

Women are also holding their own in most of the STEM majors, as 40-45% of the degrees in math, statistics, and the physical sciences were conferred to women in 2012. Even better, a majority of biology degrees in 2012 (58%) were earned by women.
Pew Research Center has reported that employment and wage gains made by young women in recent decades are undoubtedly linked to their gains in education. We have made amazing progress in just 10 generations, but women have not reached parity with men, particularly in the most highly compensated fields. On average, women make up 56 percent of workers in the 20 lowest-paid occupations, but only 29 percent of workers in the 20 highest-paid occupations. It’s important to remember, in light of women’s rapid educational gains, that each and every degree conferred to a woman brings us all that much closer to parity. And parity means more than equal pay; it means equal status, equal power and equal opportunity for creating a better world.

Leading Women and Politics

Credit: Brent Danley (Creative Commons: BY-NC-SA 2.0)“Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.” – Hillary Clinton
Regardless of where you stand politically, you have to agree that history was made when the Associated Press called the Democratic nomination for Hillary Clinton, making her the first woman nominated for president by a major party. Clinton’s nomination marks a high point of a slow process of women’s inclusion in U.S. government. Sixteen women served in Congress in 1974. There were 65 in 2000, and 104 hold office there today. When you add to that growing numbers of female representation in local and state governments, it’s safe to say that, albeit slowly, women are making their voices heard on the political stage.
We also may be well on our way to equal representation, given the advances we have made in the last three decades alone. Research from around the world suggests that when a woman takes office, it inspires other women to run for office. The global nature of the U.S. presidency means that this nomination, and most certainly the election of a woman, could increase political participation by women across the United States and around the world.

The Long Road to Representation

There was a time in our history that the very thought of a woman holding any type of elected governmental office would have been preposterous. Women had no formal role in revolutionary America because they were not full citizens. In fact, women in 1700s America were represented in public affairs by their husbands or fathers. However, like women today, they exercised their economic power, and were sowing the seeds of the women helping women movement, slowly building self-esteem and gaining self-confidence.
Politically aware, Colonial women were limited on the political stage and supported their chosen parties by showing up, cooking for events, wearing colors and symbols of the party, and marrying men of the same party. It was not wise to stray too far from accepted norms or party lines, because the women who stepped outside these boundaries were depicted as whores, distorted men or victims.

Backlash Limits Women’s Self-Confidence

As women’s self esteem and confidence grew, they slowly claimed more power into the early 1800s. However, a backlash rendered them invisible for nearly 100 years, until they won the vote in 1920. At that point, progress in politics was slow, limited to an occasional woman ambassador or legislator. And that slow growth reflected public sentiment. In January of 1937, a Gallup Poll posed this question: “Would you vote for a woman for president if she was qualified in every other respect?” A whopping 64 percent of Americans said no, 33 percent said yes, and 3 percent had no opinion on the matter. In 1940, the question was asked again, this time by People’s Research Center. Respondents were even less inclined to vote for a woman — 73 percent said no.

Empowered Women Gaining Ground

In the 1960s, the tide began to turn, and by the early eighties we had the first woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and the first woman to run for Vice-President on a major party ticket. Women were first elected in numbers to the U.S. Senate in the 1990s, 70 years after American women voted in their first elections. The millennium brought the first woman Speaker of the House and in 2008 the first woman won a presidential primary. And most importantly, when Gallup asked again in 2007 if respondents would vote for a woman, 88 percent of Americans said YES.

Electing Women Makes Sense

A new study from Quorum shows that women in Congress are working hard (and together) to make real progress. In addition to other impressive statistics, the report finds that women in the Senate are more active than their male counterparts, with individual women senators introducing 96.31 bills on average to the men’s 70.72 bills. They’re also more successful—2.31 bills created by female senators were enacted over the last seven years compared to only 1.57 bills from male senators.
Further studies show that women in Congress co-sponsor more bills with each other than do the men, and are more likely to cross the aisle. Women are adept at creating conditions of mutuality, equality, and trust—all of which are necessary in governmental roles. That approach also allows people to feel comfortable enough to share ideas and take risks. The strides we make when we join forces have a powerful ripple effect.
What we’re seeing in government is a microcosm of what’s happening with women across the country –– and around the world. Today the women empowerment movement and the march towards parity is moving increasing numbers of women into positions of power. The recent White House United State of Women Summit in Washington DC is the most recent example of women joining together to address crucial issues. No individual woman is as creative, skilled, or powerful as we are together. By joining hands we are gaining the confidence we need to take our fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors.
A lot has changed in 10,000 Generations, check out my other pieces here:
That’s Mine! Women, Marriage and Property
I Can Do Anything! Women and Empowerment
Education is Women Empowerment
It’s Only Fair! Women’s Equal Status 
Anything You Can Do; I Can Do! Women at Work
How Can I Help? Women and Philanthropy 

Calling All Women Ambassadors and Expert Trainers

AmbassadorsPostcardEverywhere you look, women are changing the face of leadership. Why? Because they are tired of waiting. They want to see gender parity in leadership in their lifetimes. At the current pace, this will not happen until 2095. Some powerful leaders of today’s women’s movement are gathering in Santa Barbara April 19-21 to help bring about that change. It’s all about collaboration and women helping other women.
Like Elisa Parker, Grass Valley, CA, who started her SeeJaneDo radio program six years ago with a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “My girls were then four and seven,” Elisa recalls, “and they were questioning why their world seemed so broken. I felt I had to try to create a world that served them, to create a platform for women’s voices to bring about change.” Part of her strategy is to participate in the April Santa Barbara training to become a Leadership Ambassador.
Women made great progress in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, yet their share of leadership has remained stuck at less than 20 percent for decades. It’s even worse for women of color. Doors have been opened, yet most women still do not step through to join the ranks of leadership.
Activist leaders have noticed their reluctance and begun to organize in earnest. Contrary to the stereotype of bitchy women, these women love to collaborate and partner with others. Elisa’s effort is one of thousands, led by ordinary women and stars alike, all determined to change the power equation: Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Kimberly Bryant’s Black Girls Code organization, Rinku Sen’s Race Forward organization, Jennifer Seibel Newsom’s #AskHerMore campaign, Geena Davis’s Institute on Gender in Media, just to name a few. This movement is characterized by mutual support, encouragement and collaboration.
Longtime women’s rights advocate Gloria Feldt, a former national president of Planned Parenthood and co-founder of Take The Lead, says these powerful leaders are ready to take it to the next level. She says women can achieve parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025, that she can teach them how, and that it’s time to share her knowledge so others can do it, too. Exemplifying the collaborative trend, Take The Lead currently partners with more than 40 universities, leadership organizations and businesses.
Dr. Nancy agrees. That’s why Women Connect4Good, Inc., is underwriting Gloria’s next Train-the-Trainer in Santa Barbara, April 20-21. An application form to participate is available online. After interviewing Gloria years ago for a podcast about women’s relationships with power, they collaborated on Leading Women.
Gloria began sharing her signature 9 Power Tools curriculum with other expert trainers last year in order to accelerate women’s progress. She trained 16 diverse Leadership Ambassadors in New York City and Phoenix in 2015, all of whom were already experts working in the field, and now are qualified to deliver the training to companies and organizations.
The Santa Barbara training is the third Train-the-Trainer offered by Gloria and Take The Lead Head of Strategy, Lex Schroeder. Gloria said, “We are so excited to connect with courageous women leaders on the West Coast, by bringing Take The Lead’s training to California.”
Fast Facts

  • Women make up more than 50% of the population, are 59% of the college-educated, entry-level workforce, and control 85% of consumer spending.
  • The rapid advances women made into leadership in the 1970s and 1980s have largely stalled.
  • Whether counting women on corporate boards, in the C-suite, in politics, behind the camera or at the editor’s desk – none of the percentages rise above 20%, and most are much lower.

About the Training

  • Certified trainers can incorporate the material into their own brands or teach as a certified Leadership Ambassador with Take The Lead.
  • This training focuses on:
    • Achieving gender parity in leadership, which means advancing women to occupy half of all top leadership and decision-making roles across all sectors by 2025. This goes beyond just teaching them leadership skills.
    • Cracking the code of implicit bias that has held women back to less than 20% of leadership for decades.
    • Changing the definition of power itself. Rejecting the oppressive “power over” and claiming the “power to” accomplish something by joining with others. These concepts change women’s feeling about power from “love-hate” into “I can’t wait to use this!”
    • Fostering “Collaboration as strategy” to achieve collective leadership and systemic change through strategic partnerships.
    • Creating an intergenerational movement of women leaders,
  •  Women who become trainers join a diverse, supportive community of powerful, motivated women of all ages and backgrounds. Some are building their training businesses; all are motivated primarily to uplift and advance other women.
  • The certification process includes marketing assistance and membership in the supportive community of Leadership Ambassadors.
  • There is a fee, however organizers will seek to match participants with scholarships where possible.
  • To apply to take part in the training or for more information http://www.taketheleadwomen.com/leadership-power-tools-training/

About Take The Lead

  • Take The Lead’s 2014 launch, co-sponsored by Arizona State University and dozens of other local and national groups, filled a 3,000-seat auditorium and reached 500,000 globally via livestream.
  • Take The Lead prepares, develops, inspires, and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. It’s today’s women’s movement, the needed game changer, a unique way for women to embrace power and leadership parity.
  • In addition to offline leadership events, Take The Lead regularly hosts online learning programs, including free monthly Virtual Happy Hours and on demand learning programs, including the online certificate course version of the “9 Leadership Power Tools To Advance Your Career” workshop.
  • See more than 40 partners in Take The Lead mission
  • Read bios of diverse Leadership Ambassadors

What are you waiting for? If you are an expert trainer and want to join other women leaders, redefine power and help uplift and advance other other women, this Leadership Ambassador Train The Trainer is for you. As a Leadership Ambassador, you will bring this transformative work to new audiences so that together, we can bring women to leadership parity by 2025. Remember, it’s all about collaboration and women helping other women, and together we can do more then we can ever do on our own. Find out more about Train The Trainer HERE.
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