Here’s to some of the world’s most outstanding women!
To celebrate the contribution of generations of women throughout history and up to the present day, the month of March has been designated Women’s History Month. As CEO of Avante Insurance and the daughter of our founder Francisco (Paco) Fernandez, I am proud to be carrying on the family business and the commitment my parents made to serving our customers and the community. As a woman who is a business owner, I know the challenges that women face today and am delighted to celebrate the many accomplishments of women throughout history who’ve made significant contributions to society. Each year, a theme is chosen for this special month-long tribute and this year, it’s Honoring Women in Public Service and Government. Here’s a look at some of those women, both past and present, and a highlight of their accomplishments.
Susan B. Anthony
Did you know that at the age of 17, Susan B. Anthony took it upon herself to collect anti-slavery petitions? She’s best known for fighting for women to have the right to vote and for presenting what would later become the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to congress. Her unwavering work for social reform and her commitment to women’s equality and anti-slavery resulted in her being publicly ridiculed and arrested while trying to vote in 1872. But Anthony’s indelible impact on society is evident in the fact that her portrait featured on a U.S. coin serves as an everlasting tribute to her efforts.
We’ve all heard the stories of this amazing abolitionist and Union Spy. Harriet Tubman had incredible courage and compassion, helping to rescue nearly 70 slaves and their families through the Underground Railroad. Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about her was that she was born into slavery, suffering violence like whippings and beatings as a young girl and a serious head injury at the hands of a slave master, yet she not only had the fortitude to escape, but the bravery to help others escape as well.
Another proponent for women’s rights, Alice Paul was the main leader of the campaign for the 19th Amendment and spent more than 50 years as the leader of the National Women’s Party. It was largely because of her efforts and the work or her organization that the amendment passed and secured constitutional equality for all women.
A Bangledeshi doctor, Humayra Abedin was drugged, held against her will, and forced into marriage by her own family. After and since her release, she has campaigned for awareness of forced marriage in Asian communities, leading to more victims of this practice coming forward.
Helen Bamber, who passed away in August of 2014, left a legacy of compassion and accomplishment. A British psychotherapist, Bamber dedicated her life and career to helping people, most notably the survivors of the Holocaust in Germany after the concentration camps were liberated. She helped to found Amnesty International and co-founded the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.
The first woman to hold a high ranking government office in the USA, Jeannette Rankin was elected to congress from Montana in 1916. She further distinguished herself as the only member of congress to vote against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor and as one of only 56 members who voted against entry into World War I.
At the age of 79, Elizabeth Dole has much to be proud of. Her political career has spanned decades and included being the first woman to serve as Secretary of Transportation in the United States. She graduated from Duke University and Harvard Law and served under president Richard Nixon as his Deputy Assistant for Consumer Affairs before he appointed her to the Federal Trade Commission. She also served under Presidents Ronald Regan and George H.W. Bush and was the head of the American Red Cross.
These women, and many others, have paved the way for all women to realize their true potential and to make their own, unique impact on society and the world. Whether you’re a small business owner or are aspiring to build a successful career, celebrate Women’s History Month by recognizing the immense potential all women have and our ability to achieve anything we set out to do.