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Inspire Inclusion by Becoming a “Superpower” Role Model for Girls

By Cecilia Landeros 

We love this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” because inspiration is a key driver to achieving gender equity.

That’s why we encourage all of you successful women out there to inspire others with your journeys by becoming a Superpower Role Model for Girls Leadership Academy Meetup (GLAM). It’s easy, it’s impactful, and I explain how to do it in this article.


Inspiration is a powerful but often overlooked ingredient in success. A lot of people don’t realize the extent to which inspirational role models are lacking among women. In fact, according to research commissioned by LinkedIn, a quarter of the women surveyed reported having recently changed jobs because there were no inspirational role models to look up to in their previous position. 


The same report revealed that more than 40% of women surveyed said they would be more successful if they had an inspirational role model in the workplace, and 55% of them said that there is a lack of relatable role models in the workplace.  

 

The conclusion is evident: being exposed to successful, inspirational women is an important motivator for women in their leadership journeys.


Just to be clear, there is no lack of successful, inspirational women out there doing great things and changing the world! The “inspiration gap” has more to do with many of these women not being celebrated or not given their due recognition.  

 

Among the many examples of this, consider the six women that programmed the U.S. Army’s ENIAC computer and created the world’s very first software program to calculate the equations needed for ballistics tables during World War II. They were the world’s very first computer programmers and yet they went unrecognized until a Harvard student came across photos of the ENIAC computer 40 years later and wondered who the women in the photos were. Kathy Kleiman’s research led her to the four surviving women of the original six, and she heard their fascinating stories. She founded the ENIAC Programmers Project to record their stories and give them the recognition they deserve. 


Portrait collage of the six pioneering ENIAC computer programmers, featuring Betty Snyder Holberton, Jean Jennings Bartik, Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum, and Frances Bilas Spence, celebrated for their contributions to early computing

So, how can you promote gender equity by helping to close this “inspiration gap”?  

 

First of all, don’t be shy about sharing your own success story. A lot of us make the mistake of thinking it pompous to speak about our accomplishments, but the fact is that letting others have a glimpse inside your leadership journey and being open about your challenges, your struggles, and your achievements is an act of generosity that pays more dividends in the lives of other women than you could imagine! 

 

Second, proactively seek out younger professionals to mentor and assist in their leadership journeys. Nominate them for awards, recommend them for promotions, or simply invite newer colleagues for coffee to lend an ear and some advice. 


A practical thing you can do right now is head over to GLAM’s Superpower Survey for Women, answer a few questions about yourself and your “superpowers,” and upload your headshot. Doing this will add you to the inspiring group of Superpower Role Models 

 

Once your profile is approved and published, you’ll be given a certificate that you can include on your LinkedIn profile to inspire other women to share their stories and inspire the next generation of leaders! 

 

Girls Leadership Academy Meetup (GLAM) is a nonprofit business and leadership program for girls aged 8-12. It was founded by iTalent Digital CEO Renée La Londe to give girls a taste of computer coding and the world of STEM, expose them to inspiring women role models, and teach them business and leadership skills like business planning, public speaking, vision boarding, and much more. More than 1,000 girls have been impacted by this life-changing program, which is always offered for free so girls of any socioeconomic background can participate.  

 

GLAM girls learn about superpowers like communicator, entrepreneur, manager, persuader, and others. The Superpower Role Model Gallery is a place where girls can learn about successful women that have the same superpowers as they do and be inspired by the different career opportunities and leadership paths that women with the same superpowers have had.  

 

You can’t be what you can’t envision, so this exposure to women leaders is a key component of the GLAM program and a big driver of motivation and confidence-building for girls.  

 

By being willing to share our own leadership journeys and being proactive about celebrating the successes of other women, we can all play a part in inspiring inclusion

 

Cecilia Landeros is Director of DE&I at iTalent Digital and Director of Operations at GLAM. 

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