Chances are you have heard people say time and again you can do anything you set your mind to do. It may sound easy, but it is usually anything but. All you need to do is ask someone who has been trying to lose the same 20 pounds for the last 20 years! Still, with the right determination and a willingness to find the appropriate resources, if you have obstacles to overcome, you can manage them. It takes time and perseverance. During March, we learn about women who have accomplished what seemed impossible and did it with pure determination and unwavering perseverance.

Closing Gaps, Breaking Glass Ceilings

Since the Europeans first took over this country, women of all colors have had to fight for their rights. Yet, over 20 years into the new millennium, there is still a pay gap between men and women. Full-time female workers receive 83 cents to every dollar earned by men. This gap continues into retirement, with women receiving 70% of men’s income.

Despite the obstacles and drawbacks, women have continued marching forward in all territories of life. The first female law school graduate was Ada Kepley in 1870. She graduated from what is now known as Northwestern University. That same year in a mining town in Wyoming, Esther McQuigg was appointed justice of the peace and became the first woman judge in the country. Fast forward 111 years later, and Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, where she served until 2006.

Kamala Harris accomplished the most amazing feat of becoming the first female to attain the second-highest position in the United States government. But, as all the women who went before her in the field of law, she had obstacles, challenges, and naysayers to contend with.

All the women who have worked to close the gaps of disparity and inequality and break the glass ceilings have emulated the popular mantra, paraphrased from the Edgar Guest poem, “It Couldn’t Be done: They said she couldn’t, so she did.” They never let anything stop them from achieving their best.

Bold, Brash, and Brave

Shirley Chisholm once said, “Tremendous amounts of talent are being lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt.” Women don’t wear skirts as much as they did back then, but talent is still being lost, albeit not as readily these days as in the past.

Even in days past, women took on jobs and did as well, if not better than their male counterparts. Consider Stagecoach Mary. Born into slavery at the end of the Civil War, Mary Fields migrated north to Ohio when she was freed. Eventually, she moved to Montana, where she protected the mail in the 1890s, dressed in men’s clothing and carrying two shotguns. She was the first African American woman to carry mail, and she became a legend.

History is full of stories of brave, outspoken, and sometimes quiet women who have broken with the norms and danced to the rhythm of the drummer within their hearts. These women have paved the way and provided the fuel for those who have come after them. Your challenge today is to find at least one woman who inspires you and spurs you on to overcome those things standing in your way.

I am personally thankful for all the inspirational women who have helped mold me into the man I am today. From the women who raised me to my wife and children and more, I am lucky to be surrounded by such great people. Appreciate the great women in your life and support them, as they have surely supported you!