Changing the world one woman at a time

08-26-2009 2:44 PM

On this day, August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified that guaranteed women the right to vote.

It was a major step for one half of our nation's population and a step that undoubtedly has changed the course of our nation forever.  But it was only the beginning of creating a society that valued the contributions of women,  recognized their potential and gave them endless opportunities to change the world.  I'm certain that are a great number of women in the U.S. who feel we still have a long way to go to truly gain the level of equality that is inherent in the very fact that we are one half of the nation's population.  And in many ways, they are probably right.  However, one only needs to look outside our borders to gain a broader perspective.

This article from The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/magazine/23Women-t.html?_r=3&ref=magazine#, was shared with me today by a colleague here at Mary Kay.  As I read the article, it brought tears to my eyes for the women who still today, in the 21st century, are enduring things so evil that it's hard to imagine.  Mixed with the tears is a great deal of thankfulness, for the people who are working to make a difference in the lives of these women, whether it's offering them opportunities to receive an education or loaning them small amounts of money to help them start businesses that eventually lead to their self-sufficiency.  I also feel an enormous sense of pride that our business opportunity for women has spread into many of these countries, bringing hope and solutions to women in need. 

The small dream that Mary Kay Ash had in 1963 to provide women in America the opportunity to develop their potential and make money is now making an even more profound difference in the lives of women in India and China and 35 more markets.  Mary Kay knew then that women could change the world, if they were just given the chance.  Too bad the critics all told her "There you go again, Mary Kay, thinking like a woman", (and they weren't paying her a compliment, I assure you!).  But then again, she didn't listen. 

I look forward to the day, when, in every corner of the world, "thinking like a woman" becomes recognized as the highly-valuable gift that it is. I wholeheartedly agree with Mary Kay Ash, and the premise in this story from The Times:  we truly can change the world, one woman at a time.