It was a good day for women in business and tech everywhere when Marissa Mayer, 37, became chief executive of Yahoo and announced that she is seven months pregnant. She inspires so many women and that got me thinking about how important successful women are to other women.
In a couple of my recent posts, I discussed some of the challenges faced by women in business and tech. Generally speaking, these worlds continue to be male-dominated industries and although women make up 46.6% of the US labor force, they still face a lonely climb to the top. For many women, especially in the early stages of their career, this is a challenging environment to work in, and it can be intimidating and off-putting. I believe that women can do anything we choose to. But I also believe that most of us can’t do it alone.
As a woman, I think that one of the most important elements in accomplishing our goals is having a great role model. A female role model. We need somebody who’s gone before us to light the way. Somebody we can learn from, observe, study, and copy. Watching a woman lead by example can have a profound effect on the attitudes and ambitions of young women. She is a companion, a trusted partner, a teacher, a mentor, a friend to laugh with, a guide to push us in the right direction.
A recent article by Forbes discusses the “role model effect” of women leaders on inspiring the next generation. The article speaks to the powerful and inspirational effect of women leaders everywhere, and the compelling case for enforcing female quotas on corporate boards and in politics. While I’m not sure that implementing quotas is the best solution, I definitely agree that we need more women leaders and role models.
I myself am privileged to have a really great woman role model in my life. I won’t mention her name here because I’m not sure that she’d want me to, but she makes a big difference in my life and I hope she knows who she is. I am fortunate to have this rare woman to inspire and motivate me, expand my world and encourage me to do things I might not have thought think possible.
I hope you all have a role model to inspire you.