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Jessica Dickenson

Trailblazing Women: Paving the Way to Success

It's essential to recognize and honor the remarkable contributions of these pioneers who have left an indelible mark on the world and whose shoulders we stand on today.

Throughout history, women have defied societal norms and shattered barriers to rise to positions of leadership. From social work to nursing, entrepreneurship to technology, these trailblazing women have paved the way for future generations, challenging the status quo and proving that gender is not a limitation to success. Many women have not only broken into their respective industries, but they also made an impact that still can be felt to the present day.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, it's essential to recognize and honor the remarkable contributions of these pioneers who have left an indelible mark on the world and whose shoulders we stand on today.

Social Work: Jane Addams  

Jane Addams was a pioneering social reformer, activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. She is best known as the founder of Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago that provided essential social services to immigrant communities. Addams's work at Hull House laid the foundation for modern social work practices and advocacy for social justice.

Addam's service to others didn’t stop there. During her lifetime she was also involved in the National Child Labor Committee, the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, the National American Women’s Suffrage Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In 1910, Addams received the first honorary degree awarded to a woman from Yale University and in 1931, became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Her tireless efforts to improve the lives of the marginalized and disadvantaged exemplify the transformative power of compassionate leadership. She rightly deserves the title of Mother of Social Work.

Nursing: Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale has almost become a household name. If you don’t know anything else about her, you still likely know her as a famous nurse.

Often referred to as the founder of modern nursing, Nightingale revolutionized the profession through her tireless efforts during the Crimean War. In late 1854, she was asked by the Secretary of War to organize a corps of nurses to tend to the sick and fallen soldiers in Crimea. Given full control of the operation, she quickly assembled a team of nurses and made some drastic changes. Her emphasis on sanitation, hygiene, and patient care laid the groundwork for modern nursing practices and helped establish nursing as a respected profession for women.

She returned home to England to a hero's welcome, but Nightingale wasn’t one to sit around. She funded the establishment of St. Thomas' Hospital, and within it, the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. Thanks to Nightingale, nursing came to be viewed as an honorable vocation where it had been seen as menial work.

Nightingale's pioneering work continues to inspire nurses around the world to this day.

Entrepreneurship: Madam C.J. Walker  

Madam C.J. Walker was an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and one of the first self-made female millionaires in the United States. Even more remarkable, she accomplished all this as an African American woman during a time when few received the recognition they deserved. Walker overcame incredible odds to become a model for all businesswomen.

Walker wasn’t born with a silver spoon. She was born to parents who had been enslaved, suffered abuse at the hands of her brother-in-law, was widowed, and experienced hair loss. Most people would give up, but Walker was a talented entrepreneur with a skill for marketing and saw an opportunity to help women who were in the same situation she was in.

Walker achieved success by developing and introducing a line of beauty and hair care products for African American women and then began employing other women. The eventual self-made millionaire used her fortune to fund scholarships for women at the Tuskegee Institute and donated large parts of her wealth to the NAACP, the Black YMCA and other charities.

Walker's entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to empowering other women through economic independence serve as a testament to the transformative power of perseverance and determination.

Woman in Technology: Ada Lovelace

When you think of the first computer programmer, you probably imagine a man in the early 60s, but you would be completely wrong. Ada Lovelace, often regarded as the world's first computer programmer, made groundbreaking contributions to the field of technology in the 1800s!

Her work on Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, an early form of computer, laid the foundation for modern computer programming. While Babbage and his assistants had sketched out programs for his Analytical Engine before, Lovelace’s were the most elaborate and complete. It is said that Babbage himself “spoke highly of her mathematical powers, and her peculiar capability — higher he said than of anyone he knew, to prepare the descriptions connected with his calculating machine.”

Lovelace had an incredible understanding of mechanics and, although she died at the young age of 36, made lasting contributions to the field of computer science. Lovelace's pioneering achievements continue to inspire women in technology and serve as a reminder of the importance of diversity and fresh perspectives in the field.

Education: Malala Yousafzai

Some people may take education for granted, but it is a privilege. Malala Yousafzai knows this better than most.

Despite facing threats and being assaulted for the act of advocating for female education, Yousafzai continued her activism and became an international symbol of resilience and hope. Her unwavering dedication to education equality has inspired millions of women, girls, and men around the world and brought attention to the importance of ensuring every child, regardless of gender, has access to quality education.

Yousafzai established the Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to achieve the future she chooses, and became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate in recognition of her work.

These remarkable women have made significant strides in their respective fields, challenging stereotypes, breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations of leaders. As we celebrate Women's History Month, let us not only honor their achievements but also commit to creating a more inclusive and equitable world where all individuals have the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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