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6 Trailblazing Women Who Signed Their Way to the Top

Vijith Menon

The higher up the ‘corporate ladder’ you go, the fewer women in leadership roles there are - Mercer

Women are trailblazers in every field they have chosen to pursue. From engineering to liberal arts, they have done it all. Enduring hardships, systemic bias, and personal struggles to stand at the top, women have persevered to become role models for generations to come.

Women are taking center stage and giving younger women just joining the new workforce real role models to emulate by carving their niche and overcoming many obstacles and hurdles. Today, equality and diversity in the workplace are common values shared among almost all employers and their staff. However, this wasn’t the case just a few years back, especially for women. Therefore, by showcasing the evolution of women’s role in the workforce, we recognize the resilience and perseverance of the women that came before us and the strength of those who continue to fight today.

It wasn’t until after the 1970s that real changes could be seen in the workplace for women. A male-dominated job market saw a spike in women taking on new jobs that were once “traditionally male occupations” - Britannica, 2021.

History of Women’s Rights

A generation of women has suffered and fought for the women of today to enjoy their rights. For example, the Women's Rights movement that started in 1848 allowed women to ask for their rights from the government. Started by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an American writer and activist, it asked for equal liberties for women. She listed various grievances women faced and how they were treated unjustly.

The second wave of the Women's Rights movement started in the 1960s. The U.S. government decided to take an active role and established a Commission with Eleanor Roosevelt heading it. The report issued by the Commission highlighted the various issues of discrimination faced by women. It led to state governments launching their commissions to research conditions and recommend changes.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was established in 1964 to investigate discrimination complaints against companies. This ensured that women did not face discrimination based on color or gender. In addition, the success of the Women's Rights movement led to various smaller splinter groups that catered to the needs of a specific group of women, like Latinas, Asians, African-Americans, and others.

The inclusion of Title IX in the Education Codes of 1972 provided women equal access to higher education and professional education—this increased participation of women in all significant avenues of life, from sports to medicine and law. The National Organization for Women (NOW) was responsible for women employed in sectors ranging from drivers to airline pilots and veterinarians.

Today, women hold 28% of the seats in the U.S. Congress and have successfully signed local, state, and federal laws that expand women's freedom and rights.

6 Trailblazers Who Signed Their Way to the Top.

Organizations require women who are self-driven and thrive when working with people. They want to use their talents to contribute positively to the organization and society. Here are some women who have conquered peaks and climbed the ladder:

  • Kamala Harris, Vice President of the U.S. – Kamala Harris was an accomplished lawyer and senator before becoming the Vice President of the U.S. She had resisted pressure from the Obama administration to settle on a nationwide case against mortgage lenders and their unfair practices. She won a judgment with a payout five times higher in 2012. As one of the first women of color in this position, she has pledged to fight for causes plaguing women and pave the path for future women leaders.

  • Cynthia Marshall, CEO of Dallas Mavericks – Cynthia Marshall is the first Black female CEO and takes action to create safe and productive workplaces. Despite being from an underprivileged background, she battled against the odds to attend UC Berkeley on a scholarship. As a result, she has elevated diversity and inclusion at numerous organizations and gained recognition for her leadership skills.

  • Melanie Perkins, CEO of Canva – Melanie Perkins is one of the most recognizable CEOs in the technology industry. Canva, her brainchild, is utilized by 85% of Fortune 500 companies. Canva gained success by helping schools design yearbooks in Australia and eventually gained traction in the United States.

  • Indra Nooyi, Former CEO of PepsiCo. – Indra Nooyi is the former decision maker of PepsiCo and has become a model of exemplary leadership for generations of women. She sits on various reputed organizations' boards and receives accolades for her initiatives. In addition, she is the first woman to have endowed a chair at the Yale School of Management.

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice – The former associate justice of the U.S. was a pioneer for gender equality and a strong advocate for woman's rights. She wrote on landmark cases such as reproductive rights and pay equity and was outspoken against sexist laws.

  • Christine Lagarde, President of European Central Bank – Christine Lagarde has spent her entire career in the banking industry. She helmed the International Monetary Fund at the peak of the European sovereign debt crisis. She has helped in shattering stereotypes and champions gender inclusion.

In 2023, we could still say that the movement for women's empowerment, although on its way, still has a long way to go. Although there have been major breakthroughs for women over the last few centuries, there are still mountains to climb with regard to the workplace today, including equal pay, etc. The workplace needs to transform for women to feel included. People in a position of power need to take more initiatives to sponsor development programs exclusively for women or comeback programs for new mothers to create a new pipeline for strong women leaders. Sign your new policies with a trusted e-signature platform like DrySign. Remember to check out our Special Women's History Month discount and get FLAT 50% off on any of our plans.

Sign Your Way to the Top with DrySign.

Sources: catalyst.org | bain.com | pewresearch.org

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.

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