Women have always been leaders.
Despite popular perceptions, women have always led in their local communities, governments, businesses, and will only continue to blaze pathways for the rest of us to follow. As mothers and nurturers, women lead. As organizers, creators, and multi-faceted doers, women lead. As people who make everyday decisions and create action, women lead. In every case, women have shown us that unfeigned leadership isn’t about requiring a following of thousands or elevating one’s self through authoritarian strategies—but about lifting others up, no matter the circumstances. When a woman affects one life, they are a natural leader in their own right. This is not a recent phenomenon; nor did women begin to demonstrate these dynamic qualities until recently.
The contrary is true in fact: women’s leadership—distinctly in Black, Brown, Indigenous spaces—has been a central, though often misrepresented or under-represented, part of history. These preeminent stories are often untold and remain overlooked on many levels. Simply stated: they’ve been shrouded in patriarchal forms of hierarchy.
Pervasive gender injustices and biases against women not only violates a woman’s right to live free but also undermines their innate power and contributions. When we fail to acknowledge women as equals—viewing them as nothing more than commodities or fallen victims or caregivers within the domestic domain—we are bound to never knowing true equality. If we are to build a better, sustainable, equitable world, we must recognize women as having been vital agents of change to the progress made thus far. We must finally understand that progress depends on the full co-operation and collaboration of all partners. Real progress always will be a co-ed endeavour.
Recognizing goes beyond the literal term—it involves valuing participation, supporting growth, addressing hindrances and needed competencies, challenging systems that uphold gender beliefs and stereotypes, and championing unique and diverse female and female-identified women efforts across all aspects of human life.
The fight for each woman to have their voice heard and respected is a global one, beginning in our own homes and hearts.
Women have always been leaders. Now, then, and evermore.