Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Women on the Rise

I read an amazing article this week in the New York Times about women who are finding the athlete side of their personality later in life. As recently as 30 years ago, women were discouraged from competitive sports, particularly from running. As a runner, that fact still stuns me and makes me grateful for the times when I was raised. For my mom and for millions of women like her, the road was not easy along any path, particularly when it comes to being fit and active. That is a recent phenomenon. One I am very grateful for.

The article left me thinking about what other areas of life have been off-limits to women that are now seeing the tide turn. Certainly in women being entrepreneurs and controlling their own careers. Great strides have been made in media - there are so many to name in that field. From Oprah to Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour, Arianna Huffington. And the list goes on. I am always proud of how many female business journalists have been featured as our media chronicles this latest economic downturn. I often think that women are running the reporting from Wall Street: Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett are terrific examples.

I am now reading a book entitled Another Day in the Frontal Lobe. It's the story of Katrina Firlik, a young neurosurgeon. She was the first woman accepted into the neurosurgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Certainly in healthcare, and particularly in fields like neurosurgery, women like Dr. Firlik are paving the way.

Technology is seeing its fair share of women on the scene. Ning co-founder
Gina Bianchini, Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz, and Charlene Li who authored the book Groundswell while at Forrester Research, immediately spring to mind. Having made great strides in this industry, women have a long road ahead. Fast Company recently ran a feature on some of the most influential women in tech. It's a good read and I highly recommend it.

In politics we are lucky to have so many women taking the helm. I am very proud that Secretary of State Clinton heeded the calls during this difficult time that America's reputation is facing around the world. I cannot imagine anyone better suited for the job. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shirley Franklin, and Janet Napolitano are other shining examples of the many that serve in all levels of government.

I consider fields like energy, transportation, and engineering and wonder how women will make their marks in those areas in the coming years. It will be exciting to watch and to take part in that development. With so many incredible female role models to learn from, women are poised for take-off.

The photo above was taken by Filip Kwiatkowski for The New York Times.

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