26th August - 95 years ago, on this day, women won the right to vote. The culmination of a 72 year movement, the passage of the 19th amendment of United States Constitution was a victory for womankind, and a big step forward in a necessary and crucial campaign of equality. And while this is something we take for granted, maybe we should stop for a minute and think - what if this step hadn’t been taken? What would be the rights and perceptions of women today? Would the women who shape and influence the world today still be doing so? Let’s take a look at some of these women.
- Hillary Clinton
An American politician and stateswoman, Hillary Clinton has served as Secretary of State, Senator from New York, and First Lady of the United States. Currently a presidential candidate in the 2016 election, she is a distinguished lawyer and spirited activist.
One of the most influential and well-known woman in the world, Hillary Clinton is practically a household name. Would the present times be the same if all that had not happened a century ago? Yes, we can certainly argue that things would have fallen into place eventually, but perhaps this generation would have lost out on one of the most dynamic and passionate activists it has ever seen taking a place at the center stage. And wouldn’t that have been a shame?
A German politician and former research scientist, she is best known as the first female chancellor of Germany and one of the architects of the European Union.The Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and the Leader of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000, she is the first woman to hold either office.
According to Forbes, Angela Merkel “continues her reign as the most powerful woman on the planet for 10 years running,...clinching a third four-year term of Europe's most vibrant economy”.Leading a once reticent Germany to new prominence on the global stage couldn’t have been an easy task, but she certainly executed it with aplomb. What would the world order,the economy, the power map of the world be like, we wonder, if she wasn’t where she was? It certainly wouldn’t be the same, that’s for sure.
Co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Huffington Post, nationally syndicated columnist, radio host, and author of 14 books, Huffington was named as number 12 in Forbes ' first-ever list of the Most Influential Women In Media.
One of the leading entrepreneurs and journalists our generation has to offer, she nearly single-handedly did what even men have trouble doing: built her own business against all odds. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news aggregator and blog that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet, and won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2012. Compared to a time when women couldn’t vote or have credit cards in their name, she’s certainly a prime showcase of how far that first step towards a level playing field has taken us.
An American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, Winfrey is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011.Dubbed the "Queen of All Media", several assessments regard her as the most influential woman in the world.
Then, they had to stage demonstrations and rallies, lobby political organizations for support, and go so far as to picket the White House just to have their fight for equal rights heard. Now, millions have so often tuned in, just to hear her speak. Today, the mere mention of her name holds immense clout...can we even imagine this if the mindset of this age was still, “women are meant to be seen and not heard”? No, we can’t. A world in which these rights were delayed or perhaps denied certainly doesn’t bear thinking about.
Who she is: An Indian-born, naturalized American, business executive, Indra Nooyi is the current Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business in the world by net revenue. She has consistently ranked among the World's 100 Most Powerful Women.
Known for being steadfast, disciplined, and tough, her innovations and approach have taken the company to new heights, showing steady revenue growth and a rise in stock price. One of the most respected and powerful women in the typically male dominated field of business, she makes it hard to remember a time when women couldn’t serve on juries, or even get an Ivy-League education barring the rare exception! To lose a presence like this would undeniably have been a shame.
And there we have it. But there are plenty more names that could be added to this list. The amendment made 95 years ago, though a big step,was just the beginning of the long road to equality --- and we're not there yet.
Today, women across the world do face inequalities on personal and professional levels, but the conditions have definitely improved. Women have proved to the world that success , irrespective of gender ,belongs to people brave enough to follow their dreams.Now it is upto us, to ensure that humanity continues on the path that leads to a world where gender demarcations barely exists.