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BECOMING Aof impactBY SHERII SHERBANIt took more than 70 years but an effort that began with just a few, grew to millions, and changed the world for women.WOMEN are often put in a position of having to fully examine all the ways that life has dealt them an unfair blow. I challenge you instead to seek the answer to a new question... How has your life had a positive impact on others?Women have had an interesting path in the United States. Even in our short history we have been able to accomplish amazing things. The te- nacity of just a few moved mountains, so to speak. That same tenacity continues even today.On August 18, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, enfranchising wom- en, was finally ratified, giving women the right to vote. More specifically, this amendment prohibited any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote based on sex. This could be viewed as the first, and most significant, victory for women. Interestingly enough, a struggle like this is not won overnight and sometimes in our eagerness today we forget that in order for systemic change to occur it takes perseverance.The woman suffrage movement is often thought to have its beginning in 1848 at a wom- en’s rights convention held in New York. It took 50 more years of working to educate the public about the validity of woman suffrage.Under the leadership of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and other women’s rights pioneers, “disenfranchised” suffragists circu- lated petitions and lobbied Congress to pass aconstitutional amendment to enfranchise women. As tradition would have it, many politicians were unwilling to listen to a “disenfranchised” group, leading women to finally understand that they needed to win the right to vote in order to achieve reform. As a result, the movement turned to the masses.At the turn of the century two new groups were formed. The first, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), underthe leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, was a moderate organization that lobbied President Wilson and Congress to pass a woman suffrage Constitutional Amendment. In the 1910s, NAWSA’s membership numbered in the millions. The second group, the National Woman’s Party (NWP), under the leadership of Alice Paul, was a more militant and aggressive organization.It took more than 70 years but an effort that began with just a few, grew to millions, and changed the world for women.Momentum continued as women were nationally recognized for their beauty as wellas their brains. In 1943, the US Army hired six women mathematicians to set up and operate the Army’s newest top-secret weapon in World War II. The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was the first electronic, digital computer. These unsung heroes figured out how to wirethe electrical connections that enabled ENIAC tocomplete 300 multiplications per second. Continually, women have taken on the roleof leadership in new ways. They have movedfrom the kitchen to the boardroom. They have taken on careers that have helped to reshape the respect that women can now hold. They have been inspired and honored by their peers.Interestingly, students in the Women in Leadership class at the University of San Diego researched and profiled the leadership contribu- tions of women making a difference in the world. Not surprisingly, the qualities that the women in leadership exhibited were prominent in both their working environment as well as in their personal lives.The results yielded eight similar characteristics that were common among these women. Most dy- namic was that, for them, leadership is a lifestyle and a choice to act in a certain way. It’s about who they are as well as what they do.The good news is that this can also be a blue- print of sorts for young women that ultimately seek to impact the world around them. A professional title is not necessary to exhibit these qualities and they can be valuable in nearly anything you might choose to do from your personal life to your career journey.Be optimistic. It’s more than what you say; it’s an attitude that you bring with you wherever you may go. The person with a positive attitude6 SCENE 4304 I WOMEN IN BUSINESS

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