Women’s History Month – which is celebrated in March in the United States – is dedicated to highlighting the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. Incredible individuals over the course of history have paved the way for women to become changemakers. Here are just a few shining examples that prove women in all industries, disciplines and walks of life can have a voice:
- Anne Frank – Anne Frank was a brave teenager who hid from the Nazis for most of World War II and ultimately died at their hands in 1945. Her diary, which was published after the war, offered a glimpse into life during the Holocaust.
- Mother Teresa – A Nobel Prize winner in 1979, Mother Teresa worked tirelessly in Calcutta to care for the poor and disadvantaged.
- Aung San Suu Kyi – Also a Nobel Prize winner (in 1991), Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest for 15 years in Burma (Myanmar) for her pre-democracy campaigning and only gained freedom in 2010 following an international campaign to free her.
- Billie Jean King – A U.S. tennis legend and winner of 20 Wimbledon titles, Billie Jean famously beat Bobby Riggs in 1973 for a $100,000 prize in the “Battle of the Sexes” after he proclaimed men were superior athletes.
- Princess Diana – The “people’s princess” once said, “Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.” She devoted her life to charity work and led a Nobel Peace Prize–winning campaign to ban land mines.
- Michelle Obama – A former First Lady, Mrs. Obama is a role model for women, an advocate for a variety of causes, including education and healthy eating, and a fashion icon.
- Oprah Winfrey – Oprah is a talk show pioneer and media mogul. She is known worldwide for her philanthropic efforts, particularly those aimed at educating girls and young women.
- Madonna – Madonna has achieved an unprecedented level of power and control in the entertainment industry. She has sold over 300 million records and is a songwriter, actor, film director and producer, fashion designer and children’s book author.
The World Council of Credit Unions established the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) in 2009 to tackle the industry’s gender gap, as well as to leverage resources to strengthen the economic security of women and their families. According to a recent report from the World Council of Credit Unions and Filene Research Institute, women in the credit union industry are more likely to start out in lower-level posts and – despite similar stated ambition – are less likely to achieve executive-level status. The GWLN is the industry’s only international platform dedicated to addressing and facilitating greater gender balance in leadership positions. Its programs provide women who work in the credit union industry with the tangible skills, tools and resources they need to lead, and it gives organizations actionable steps to follow. PSCU proudly shows its support of the women’s movement as a platinum sponsor of GWLN.
The GWLN now has 44 Sister Society chapters in 16 countries – a 45 percent increase in one year alone. Communities across the United States and internationally have been positively impacted as a result of these expanding chapters. The GWLN held its leadership forum in conjunction with the World Council of Credit Unions Conference in Vienna, Austria, in July 2017. More than 110 women were in attendance, representing 22 countries. The leadership forum included keynote speakers Sandra McDowell, who spoke on leading with heart and backbone, and Dr. Brandi Stankovic, who focused on leveraging emotional intelligence. During the conference, the GWLN was presented with the industry’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, for great contribution to the global credit union industry. Calyn Ostrowski, Worldwide Foundation Executive Director, and Susan Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates, accepted this award on behalf of 2,000 members from 78 countries.
Through its sponsorship of the GWLN, PSCU participated in the Executive Readiness Summit in Chicago in November 2017. The goal of the summit was to increase the female executive pipeline by equipping emerging leaders with various skills, knowledge, networks and action plans. The summit hosted 51 emerging leaders, 10 CEOs, and some executive recruiters as well. The GWLN is hosting the summit again later this year due to the success of last year’s event.
PSCU was proud to host the Sister Society leaders from around the world at its Phoenix, Ariz., office in January 2018 for the GWLN annual strategic planning session. Over 30 leaders from 17 chapters in the United States and Brazil were in attendance.
PSCU continues to evolve and promote diversity within its workforce, with a laser focus on its mission to fearlessly lead the charge to make gender equality a reality. The company strives to be a changemaker not only within PSCU but also externally, by looking for opportunities to collaborate with industry partners, such as CUNA (Credit Union National Association) and Filene, to promote and support women on a larger scale. The company’s ultimate vision is to create a community in which gender equality is a natural state, and women everywhere finally have the voice they deserve.