America’s Leading Ladies

Author: Natalie Lynn Rekstad (Member, Women Moving Millions)

It is such a pleasure (and shock) that I share that I have been curated into the book “America’s Leading Ladies who positively impact the world….. ” which profiles fifty American women doing extraordinary things in the world.  I am in the company of Oprah Winfrey, Melinda Gates, and others who fiercely advocate for women and girls and a more just and gender balanced world.  The hard cover is in production, but in the interim the e-book can be found here.  Read on for my submission to do with advice to potential gender equality advocates about embracing their role in this moment and this movement.  

America’s Leading Ladies

My core belief is that the future hinges upon a more just and gender balanced world. As the beneficiary of the first and second wave of feminism, my mission is to help mobilize significant resources to bring about equality, on my watch and in my lifetime. It is a deep honor to be on this journey with so many awakened women and men who join me in this vision, all of us with unique roles to play.

Including you, Dear Reader.

Why does it matter? In the US alone, women continue to be more economically disadvantaged, experience much more violence, earn less, and are dramatically underrepresented in positions of leadership across all sectors.

But there’s good news. As context, we’re living in the most important time in the history of humanity. Never have we had so many viable solutions to suffering, poverty, and discrimination. Never have we had so many passionate people equipped to take direct action toward a thriving planet in which everyone can live with dignity.

We are living in the sweet spot of a world and time where women are more fiercely coming into their voice, thereby becoming more fully expressed and more fully empowered. In the US, women now have the economic chops to get equality over the finish line on a global scale.

Everyone is invited into this conversation and this movement, particularly men who are holding up the other “Half the Sky.”* In fact, I’ve noticed many fathers of daughters are some of the fiercest warriors for gender equity. These men encourage their daughters to take their full space in the world as the strong, spirited, dedicated leaders that they are capable of becoming.

It matters for our sons, too, who deserve to be raised in a culture that is free of the myth of superiority.  In fact, it is their birthright to live fully expressed lives alongside our young women. To do so, they need to feel safe to be truly seen, heard, and valued as a whole, as well as to be encouraged toward great depths of thought and feeling. These are the men of tomorrow who will help bring about deep and lasting change.

We all benefit. Where there’s more gender equality, there’s more peace:  Gender equality is a more reliable predictor of peace than a country’s GDP or level of democracy. Advancing gender equality will add billions to the US economy. Gender diversity in leadership roles also boosts business performance. And close to home for all of us:  Gender equality makes children’s lives better. Teens in countries with higher levels of gender equality experience higher levels of satisfaction than teens in countries with lower levels of gender equality.

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