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APR
16
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Anne Sullivan

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

When most hear the name Anne Sullivan they automatically think: "The Miracle Worker." While that is a fitting monicker, it is also important to recognize Sullivan not only for breaking through to Helen Keller, her deaf and blind student, but also for working with Keller to change many misperceptions about people with disabilities.

This week we spotlight Sullivan in honor of the anniversary of her birthday, which was April 14, 1866.

The famous phrase "miracle worker" originated from a postcard that Mark Twain gave Sullivan. In it, he signed off "with warm regard and limitless admiration of the wonders she has performed as a miracle-worker."

An immigrant from Ireland, Sullivan became a teacher and lifelong companian to Keller after receiving her education from the Perkins School for the Blind. Along with Keller she received an honory fellowship from the Educational Institute of Scotland, and the pair was also awarded honorary degrees from Temple University. In 1955 Sullivan was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard University.

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APR
9
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Jennifer Lee

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

Jennifer Lee, the director of the Oscar-winning animated film Frozen, is a woman helping women. Lee is Disney Animation's first female director, and she maintains the hope that featuring more "modern" princesses, like the one in "Frozen," will inspire a shift in the way that female characters are depicted, and she hopes to also see a shift of more women entering leadership positions in the creative fields.

Hoping that the film's success results in more women taking creative leadership positions, Lee says that she will talk about getting more women into creative leadership roles until equality is reached. Lee recently commented on the leadership roles in her field on CBS This Morning: "We need more women in creative leadership. We just do, so if it inspires anyone to say, 'Well, I can do that' or just casually think, 'There's no reason I can't,' then great, so let's keep talking about it until there's a day where we don't have to anymore."

Co-directing with Chris Buck, Lee also wrote the script for the film, which features two female leading characters. Having two female protagonists in the spotlight is rare out of the top-grossing movies for 2013. A recent San Diego State University study found that only 6 percent of directors, 10 percent of writers, and 29 percent of major characters are female.

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APR
1
Wednesday's Women of the Week: Dorothy Height and Gloria Steinem

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

Women's History Month may be over, but we can still recognize women who do great things. In that spirit, this week I'm breaking the mold by featuring two great women, both Presidential Medal of Freedom winners: Dorothy Height, who got us started, and Gloria Steinem, who still impacts us today.

Dorothy Height, who would have been 102 this past March, was a civil rights and women's rights activist. She passed away in 2010 at age 98, just six years after winning the Congressional Gold Medal. She served in a leadership role for nearly half of her life, as the president of the national Council of Negro Women. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994. Height fought for equal rights for both African Americans and women, and developed many leadership training programs and ecumenical education programs to ensure that generations of equal rights activists followed in her footsteps.

She is admired for her work and dedication by many, including Hilary Clinton, who said: "[Dorothy Height] understood that women's rights and civil rights are indivisible. She stood up for the rights of women every chance she had."

As a celebrated figure at the forefront of activism for women's rights, Height gave us a start, and continued to show us all we can do through her perseverance.

Gloria Steinem, who still impacts us today after celebrating her 80th birthday, is recognized as a leader and media spokeswoman for the women's liberation movement from the late 1960s and 1970s. She became a recognized writer and counterculture era political figure, winning countless awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom that she was awarded just last year.

Famous for her witty soundbites, such as "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle," and "Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning," Steinem taught us to be better women, and to fight for the right to be so. At an upcoming DVF Awards, Diane von Furstenberg's annual awards ceremony, which honors extraordinary women across the globe, Steinem is to receive the Lifetime Leadership Award. The award is presented "to an individual who has dedicated her entire life and body of work to instilling leadership, strength, and courage in other women."

That is precisely why we honor her, as well as Dorothy Height, week, to celebrate their entire body of work and how both have greatly impacted women and the progress we have made. Or, as Steinem put it: "We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach."

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MAR
26
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Canisha Cierra Turner

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

There have only been eight women to lead as student body president in 94 years of student government history at North Carolina A&T State University. This week we honor Canisha Cierra Turner, the current Student Government Association president, who is working to ensure that this number changes.

Turner's example is important, because while we often tend to focus on women on executive boards at a corporate level we must remember that in terms of leadership equality needs to be procured at all levels in a range of fields. By leading the SGA at North Caroline A&T State University, Turner shines a light on the importance of women leading in an educational environment as well.

She had this to say on the need for women to in leadership positions: "Women bring a lot to the role of president - we don't cater to just one population or demographic of students. We've had sevent great women student body presidents who did a lot for this university and now I've pushed the envelope one step forward and I'm showing the students that this is not a gender specific role."

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MAR
19
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Emily Warren Roebling

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

For this week's Wednesday's Woman of the Week we honor Emily Warren Roebling, an unsung hero in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Emily's husband, Washington Roebling, was the Chief Engineer during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, but developed caisson disease before the bridge was completed. Since her husband was bed-ridden, Emily stepped in to become the first woman field engineer and saw out the completion of the bridge.

At first her role was as a messenger. As the only person to visit her husband while he was battling his sickness, she relayed information from her Washington to his assistants working on the bridge. It was through this exchange that she began to build knowledge of stress analysis, calculating catenary curves, the strength of materials, and more.

For fourteen years Emily's enduring dedication to the bridge continued on through its completion, though she is rarely recognized or credited in history for her accomplishment. Emily took on the duties of a Chief Engineer, including day-to-day supervision and overall management of the project. She took on competing engineers, polititians, and other influential groups and defended her husband's title and their right to continue work on the project.

Thanks to Emily's efforts, the bridge was completed in 1883, and she was the first to cross the bridge by carriage.

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MAR
12
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Maggie Doyne

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

For this week's Wednesday's Woman of the Week we honor Maggie Doyne, the founder of BlinkNow Foundation and the Kopila Valley Children's Home & School in Surket, Nepal. Doyne was recently honored by the Dalai Lama for her humanitarian work in Nepal.

Doyne, who has said that she found her calling in helping others, has helped to make the world a better place for 40 children through her foundation and the school she founded in Nepal - and she's only 27. She exemplifies the sentiment that helping others to better themselves does not have to start later in life, it can begin right now in this moment, no matter what age you are or where you are in your career.

In 2010, Doyne founded the Kopila Valley Children's Home and School in Nepal with her $5,000 life savings just five years out of high school. Four years later, on February 23, 2014, Doyne was honored by the Dalai Lama, who presented her with an Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award to celebrate not only her accomplishments, but her compassion and drive to incite change for future generation of boys and girls.

Doyne has taken in 40 orphans, and lives with them at the Kopila Valley Childnre's Home, which she describes as: "A safe, calm, warm environment where the children may feel their own power, and ultimately grow to share that strength with their familities, communities, and the world."

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MAR
6
Celebrating Women's History Month, An Open Letter From Susan Butler

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

Happy Women's History Month!

This month is particularly special to me, as I'm always looking for an excuse to celebrate the contributions of amazing women all over the world. In America it all started in 1908, when the suffragettes emerge as women were oppressed and fighting for equality. They sought shorter work hours, better pay, and the right to vote. By 1920, we were finally given the right to vote.

That was less than a hundred years ago. We are still seeking equality today.

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FEB
26
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Geraldine Ferraro

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

This week we spotlight a barrier-breaking woman who ran on a major-party ticket, the late Geraldine Ferraro.

As we honor Ferraro's memory, we think not only of her proud stance at the podium as she accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president in 1984, we think of the message and legacy she left behind. That message to women was, summed up in her own words: "If we can do this, we can do anything."

Ferraro first gained national attention after she was appointed chairwoman of the 1984 Democratic Platform Committee, for which she was the first woman to hold that position. Like a true champion of women's equality, in her book Ferraro: My Story, Ferraro diverted credit back to her female supporters, saying that she owed the securing of the position to a group of Democratic women who lobbied for her appointment.

Despite the controversy of her campaign and the media-frenzy that surrounded her comments, Ferraro managed to shatter a very stubborn glass ceiling: the political realm. She set the bar for determination and fortitude when she went on from her election loss to run for the Senate twice, and to serve in the Clinton Administration as well as become an ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. She also helped to campaign for Hillary Clinton, despite the aggressive chemotherapy treatments she was undergoing.

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FEB
19
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Karen Page

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

I can attest to Karen's accomplishments and determination to help other women succeed because I have seen her dedication firsthand. Karen is a dear friend of mine, and she played a big part in helping me to make my books, Become the CEO of You, Inc and Women Count, a reality. Karen had a vision for the Institute for the Development of Women Leaders as well as the concept of a "virtual mentor" before I fully did, myself. She has been a continued source of inspiration since I took on the role of a virtual mentor to reach out to girls and women across the country.

Karen has been an invaluable partner in planting seeds in the next generation of women, and "giving forward" to countless girls and women along the way.

In addition to having a great mind for business, Karen is a celebrated author as a part of a James Beart Award-winning author team along with her husband/chef, Andrew Dornenburg. Together they have co-authored acclaimed culinary books that have generated praise and recognition from outlets like Publishers Weekly, National Culinary Review, People magazine, Bon Appetit, Entertainment Weekly, and more. Their book The Flavor Bible has been widely recognized, and named "one of the 10 best cookbooks in the world of the past century" by Alex Munipov of Forbes. Now that she has already conquered the bestseller list, Karen is once again proving her tenacity by releasing her first solo book, titled The Vegetarian Flavor Bible.

Throughout my writings I have enouraged women to mentor other women, and Karen is the epitome of a strong mentor and "chief nudger," whose passion allowed me to see what my books could mean to future generations of women (and men) around the world. For her example and her growing list of accomplishments I would like to celebrate Karen as this week's Wednesday's Woman of the Week.

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FEB
12
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Jane Goodall

by Susan Bulkeley Butler

 

I had the privilege of meeting Jane when she was being honored in Philadelphia. Though it was considered a "grown up" event children were also invited, and you could read the excitement on their faces as they held out the items they had brought for Jane to sign. It was a fun experience!

When it comes to children, Jane has inspired entire generations to give a voice to the voiceless. I love hearing stories of other women who have been inspired by her from a young age, including a friend who admitted that Jane inspired her first career aspiration as a child to become a zookeeper!

Needless to say, women still look up to the smart, elegant and witty Jane for her dedication and groundbreaking work for primatology and the sciences since the early 1960s. A protege of anthropologist Louis Leakey, Jane documented the relationships and behavioral patterns of chimpanzees, and her findings drew revolutionary parallels between primates and humans that sparked debates about evolution.

Despite the debates that ensued, Jane, however, has been recognized for her love of peace. The United Nations designated her as a peace messenger. She currently travels 300 days out of the year as an environmental and animal rights activist lending her voice to stand up for a species that cannot speak for themselves.

Recently Jane spoke in a packed auditorium at the University of the Witwatersrand to spread her message of peace and animal rights. The success of her talk solidifies that Jane is just as captivating and inspiring now as she was early in her career, which has spanned over five decades. A reporter from The Boston Globe recounted that the audience at the university broke into laughter when she mentioned her early crush, a "romantic little-10-year-old" Tarzan. When describing the fictional character raised by apes, Jane added: "What did he do? He married the wrong Jane."

So it is for Jane's work for peace and for her endless accomplishments that have helped inspire other women to enter the sciences and behavioral sciences fields that we celebrate her this week.

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Women Count White Border
OVERVIEW
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$24.95, Hardcover
256 Pages
September 2010
Purdue University Press
WOMEN COUNT
BECOME THE CEO OF YOU, INC.

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