Breaking Into the Boys Club
By: Callie Corley
What do Kevlar, a life raft and a fire escape have in common? Besides being inventions that save people from certain death, they were all created by women. As Women’s History Month draws to a close, it’s appropriate to highlight some of the incredible accomplishments of our foremothers.
Women are responsible for inventing the dishwasher, the ice cream maker and the modern electric refrigerator. Women were also at the helm during the creation of computer software and the discovery of stem cell isolation.
It seems where women are concerned, no problem or plight is too big or too small. According to a 2016 study published by The Rockefeller Foundation, 96 percent of Americans agree that men and women are equally qualified to lead businesses. In fact, women CEOs now lead 29 of the companies listed on the current S&P 500.
However, despite the creative genius women bring to the world and the workplace, we are still trying to break through preconceptions and into the boys club. Those preconceptions include the belief that women are less effective leaders (78 percent) and prioritize family over career (89 percent).
The best and most certain way to change these beliefs is to have more women in leadership positions. But, in that same Rockefeller Foundation study, one in four Americans said there were no women in leadership positions at their jobs.
The Junior League of Atlanta (JLA) recognizes the incredible power and perspective of women. For the past 100 years, the organization has provided opportunities for its members that not only serve the community, but also enhance each member’s ability to lead and cultivate other servant leaders.
In 1918, the JLA established a program to provide free school books and lunches to children in the Atlanta Public School system, one of the first programs of its kind in the country.
Through a network of powerful, passionate women, JLA provides training and mentor opportunities for 3,500 women in Atlanta. The more women are inspired to lead, the farther we will go as a community.
A famous Greek proverb says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Thousands of children in Atlanta right now are sitting in the shade of trees planted by JLA members of decades past. It’s readily apparent, given the scope and impact of JLA initiatives, women are planting as many of those future shade trees as men.