Who is the Woman you Most Admire?

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2017 held on March 8, we asked the FWSF board to share which woman they admire most. I believe you will be as inspired as I was as you read through this presentation of some very different but amazing ladies. I don’t believe it is about being who we are, but about aspiring to be the best we can be. In so doing we can collectively move to meet our goals, one of which might be Planet 50-50 by 2030, or another might be to have more women in C-Suite positions. The possibilities are endless…

Without further delay and deep gratitude to the ladies that collaborated – the start of our wall of Heroines:

Mary Jennings HegarMary Jennings Hegar, an Air Force veteran named one of Foreign Policy Magazine's 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 and one of Newsweek's 125 Women of Impact of 2012, and the author of Shoot Like a Girl. On her third tour to Afghanistan on July 29th 2009, she was shot down on a Medevac mission and sustained wounds resulting in her being awarded the Purple Heart. Her actions on this mission saved the lives of her crew and patients, earning her the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device (making Hegar the sixth woman in history to receive the DFC, the first was Amelia Earhart, and only the second ever to receive it with the Valor Device). In 2012, Hegar filed suit against the U.S. Secretary of Defense asserting that the Combat Exclusion Policy was unconstitutional. In 2013, the Secretary of Defense repealed the Policy effective immediately. 

I admire her for her bravery and also her incredible achievement as a thought leader. This is a tribute to her and all women serving or who have served in our military especially the many that have also gone above and beyond to better the circumstances under which women serve. ~ Sandra Camacho

Katherine Coleman Goble JohnsonKatherine Coleman Goble Johnson (born August 26, 1918, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia) is an African-American physicist and mathematician who made contributions to the United States' aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. Known for accuracy in computerized celestial navigation, she conducted technical work at NASA that spanned decades. During this time, she calculated the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency back-up return paths for many flights from Project Mercury, including the early NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon, through the Space Shuttle program. Her calculations were critical to the success of these missions. Johnson also did calculations for plans for a mission to Mars. (Source: Wikipedia)

Against all odds, Katherine persisted and persevered. She assumed a significant role in a field dominated by the elite in science and technology at a time before civil and women’s rights.  Her contributions helped make space travel possible including landing on the moon and possible future missions to Mars. These types of endeavors advance humankind to a whole new level of possibilities. ~ Kim Pugh

Leslie KnopesLeslie Knope might not be a "real person" but she kind of is. Leslie exemplifies every woman I admire: ambitious, driven, thoughtful, caring, jack of all trades and giving to name a few. I only know a small part of the lives of all the "real" successful women I could think of, but Parks and Rec allowed me to see into Leslie's life. Watching Leslie on Parks and Rec made me want to be a better person, and made me proud to be a woman.  ~ Julianna Iran

Angela MerkelAngela Merkel is a "multi-roles" woman and she has excelled in any of her roles. Without a doubt she is one of the most influential leaders in international politics, she played a pivotal role during the European financial crisis, getting buy-in from a variety of stakeholders. She is also a former scientist, PhD in physical chemistry. Last but not least she shares her life with her husband, a quantum chemist and professor.  She is the perfect combination of: hard skills, soft skills, and selfless for welcoming her better half into her daily life.  ~ Roberta Rima

Ellen RipleyMy heroine is Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, the fictionalized protagonist of the Alien film series. I think of her as a composite character, embodying many of the qualities I most admire in women. Lt. Ripley is capable of being alternately fierce and nurturing, depending upon what the situation demands; doesn’t get distracted by what others think of her – she stands up for what she believes and is willing to make hard decisions; is not without fear – she definitely feels fear, but she doesn’t let it immobilize or impede her (this is real bravery); has a soft side (she loves her cat!); and is a strong, brilliant, highly capable leader. ~ Kim Scala

Gloria SteinemGloria Steinem is someone that I admire for her tireless pioneering work focused on issues of equality, gender roles, child abuse and non-violent resolution. She is a champion of women’s and children’s rights and co-founded Take Our Daughters to Work Day, as well as numerous national and international organizations centered around self-esteem, race, education, voting, and reproduction. Women and children have benefited greatly from her groundbreaking work in more ways than can be counted.  ~ Paige Venable

Gloria Steinem started a conversation about women’s rights and kept it going for decades. Through her political activism, speaking, writing and relentless commitment to social justice she has been instrumental in moving our nation closer to equality for all.  ~ Marion Donnelly

Zora Neale HurstonMy favorite heroine is Zora Neale Hurston. I admire her for her work in collecting African-American folklore, her success as a novelist, and her determination to live her life according to her own terms. ~ Olivia Barbee

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