Women and Leadership: Times have changed


Olivia Reinert, Rampage Special Contributor

From time to time, the Rampage publishes work from students in Journalism class. While these writers are not part of the regular staff, their work meets many (or all) of the same requirements of those on the Rampage staff. We congratulate these writers on their work!

It’s been less than 100 (98 to be exact) years since the law was passed to allow all women to legally vote in the U.S. In the time that has passed by since then, rights have been gradually getting better for women.

Sarah Noll Wilson, for example, runs her own business, coaching others on leadership. “I was lucky,” she said, “Growing up I had two older sisters to luck up to. I was taught predominantly by women.”

Her journey into the business world has been, for the most part, met with little criticism due to her gender. “There have been moments, though.” said she. “Most of the companies I’ve work with have had mostly male leaders, and sometimes seeing other women is hard to come by.” Oftentimes she was told to ’dial her passion down,’ or to be less expressive.

In her experience, it feels rare sometimes to encounter women who are willing to push their own limits when it comes to business ownership. They tend to keep their businesses smaller. That has not been Noll Wilson’s approach. “Society teaches us to second-guess ourselves. To ask, ‘should I?’ when the answer is a definite, solid yes.”

The change in how women act in society has been especially clear to those who were around when the idea of a woman owning a business was intangible. Janet Noll notes how much different things are now, then they were when she was growing up.

“There were not many role models,” she said, “Other than my mom. I didn’t even have many female teachers in school. It wasn’t until Mrs. Kennedy came along that we women really had a strong role model to look up to.”

Mrs. Kennedy was more vocal than all the other first ladies, putting herself upfront more often than her predecessors.

“She showed us that we really could do more,” said Noll. In the fifties and sixties, there were only a few roles women could access. Teachers, secretary, and nursing was basically all that was available.

“Of course, that was normal back then,” she said. “No one thought twice about it. We were told it was a man’s world. But it’s not anymore. Times have changed.”