Mothers as role models

Female Role Models That Can Change Your Life

Are you a woman that would like to make an impact? Picking a female role model can be the key to make your dream come true. We have made a list with the most inspiring women who we consider amazing female role models.

Why Is It Important To Have A Role Model?

The most important reason for choosing a positive role model is to learn from someone who has already walked the road ahead of you. As a result you can learn from other people’s successes and mistakes. Modeling someone else’s behavior and strategies can be a key to your personal success.

Maybe you don’t want to be the next female Nobel Prize Winner or a famous female artist  like Beyonce, Lady Gaga or Angelina Jolie. But with a high probability you will have a variety of goals that might even be competing with each other. And if you don’t want to fail like Hillary Clinton for example you better look for a successful role model first. 

How To Choose A Role Model?

Before starting to choose a role model ask yourself what your aspirations are. What are your goals in life? Try to list your top five goals and start looking for someone who has at least reached one of them already. Then aim to find a  “blueprint” for your behavior. Try if you can create useful habits by copying a successful person’s behavior. 

Which mindset does your role model have?

In “Tools of Titans” Tim Ferris has dedicated a book to “icons”. He suggests that a major key to success is to simply copy the strategy or mindset of those people to be successful as well. Also, make sure to think how to measure success. 

What else do you need to keep in mind when choosing your role model? According to a Dutch entrepreneurship study on role models the impact of a role model does not only depend on how much you and your role model are alike. The impact depends on your relationship with your role model.

Thus positive role models seem to be people who we can spend time with and who are willing to share their experience with us. 

Why is it a good time to find your role model?

There have never been more famous female role models, especially in America. Due to the amazing work of the Civil Rights movements there are many open doors. Thus it has never been an easier time to be a woman.

As women we should learn to take advantage of the possibilities we have. Each of us has to try to open the door even a little bit more. 

What is a Role Model?

The most holistic role model definition is the following: 

A role model is a person whose 

  • Behavior, 
  • Character,
  • Mindset, 
  • Example, 
  • Success

inspire others, such as employees, children or friends and family.

Who Is My Role Model and Why?

What makes a good female role model? What are women looking for when they look for their personal “female hero?” “Women who have courage,” is a common answer. “Like Michelle Obama”.  Millennial women love her for her feel good initiatives and her kindness. She is probably one of the strongest female role models of modern America.

In contrast, middle aged females look for personality traits in other women. like kindness and warmth. Furthermore they look for women who have loving relationships with their spouses and other family members. In addition they admire females who know how to be a mother and loving partner. For them, making the world a better place begins at home. 

Most of all, modern women  look for female role models who take over responsibility in organizations and are following a professional career. In addition those females search for people who also have positive lifestyle habits or the power to express themselves as artists, scientists or politicians. 

Ruth Bader Gainsburg – a popular female role model

When asking young people for their favorite famous female role model Ruth Bader Gainsburg is named frequently. The former judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit  is famous for her fight against gender discrimination. Thus she is  one of the strongest female role models of modern America.

What Makes Women Leaders Successful?

When I was a teenager German Chancellor Angela Merkel was still a young woman. She had just gotten her first job as Minister for Women and Youth. The iron curtain had opened a few months before. I could sense her talent and I knew I had found my role model in her. At an event in Munich surrounded by thousands of people I took all my courage and asked her: how do I become a leader like you? She smiled and I could tell she was not prepared for a question like this. At this point she was still very shy and I bet she didn’t know she would become the most influential female leader. She said: “have the courage to get involved. Take over responsibility.” 

Angela Merkel a powerful role model 

How did Angela Merkel get so amazingly powerful? At the time “Germany’s Chancellor Helmut Kohl wanted someone female, quiet and a former East German for his first post-reunification cabinet” . Was it luck at the beginning? Lothar de Maiziere, who went on to be East Germany’s last prime minister recommended her to the German Chancellor. Kohl became like a mentor for her. Because of her quiet personality he probably trusted and underestimated her. “One of the things people don’t always understand about her is she’s… actually a ruthless political operator,” says Jonathan Powell, who got to know her when he was chief of staff to the UK prime minister. “The way she dealt with all of her rivals in the CDU was extraordinarily Machiavellian from that point of view. She would get rid of them in a switch of an eyebrow.”

Why female role models love to be underestimated

Maybe her biggest secret is to get people to underestimate her. If you think appearance is a key to success, Merkel teaches the opposite. “She didn’t seem to care about her outward appearance at all,” says Lothar de Maiziere, “She looked like a typical GDR scientist, wearing a baggy skirt and Jesus sandals and a cropped haircut.”

So what else made her so powerful? She grew up in a world without the right for free speech, but in a political household. “The young Angela had to learn to keep her cards close to her chest for fear of drawing the attention of the Stasi, the secret police. She has learnt to operate in silence and spin her web behind the scenes. This is also a powerful tool we especially find with introverts of whom Angela Merkel is one of the most famous ones.

How female role models win their battles

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” This quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg seems to describe very well how female world leaders like Angela Merkel rules her country. 

“Angela Merkel always knew where she wanted to end up, but she took time to find a way which everybody could go along with.” says Ursula von der Leyen, who has worked in every one of Merkel’s cabinets since 2005 and is now the President of the European Commission. Caution, consensus and if necessary delays, have always been hallmarks of the Merkel leadership tools.  

Why female CFO`s should be role models 

Female chief financial officer are great female role models. The reason is that within the first 24 months of appointing female CFOs, companies saw, on average, a 6% increase in profits and an 8% better stock return, compared to performance under male predecessors. As a consequence, these women brought in $1.8 trillion of additional cumulative profits.

The researchers of S&P Global Market Intelligence had looked  at 6,000 companies on the Russell 3000 over the last 17-years.

“One of the reasons female CFOs may be outperforming their male peers is because they’re held to a higher standard, said Daniel Sandberg, senior director of quantitative research at S&P Global, and the author of the report”

Two female CFOs women might want consider are Dhivya Suryadevara, who is the CFO of General Motors. The second is Ruth Porat who is the chief financial officer of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google.

Role Model Theory

There has been intense research on role model theory. A British study at the University of Exeter has focused on the effectiveness of role models.

Here are some important facts that researchers found about role model theory that have practical implications.

  1.  A role model and the aspirant should share group membership like the same social background for example.
  2. In real life we need attainable role models who embody a variety of goals such as having a good work-life balance, overcoming gender-specific barriers, and being successful.
  3. The degree to which one believes that one can reach one’s personal goals in a field or career is an important predictor of career intentions.
  4. Role models are a very individual choice and can differ widely. 
  5. Researchers found that men generally made more effective role models for female  students. 
  6. Soft skills like competence, warmth and morale are very important when picking a role model.

Famous Female Leaders in History

Who are some of the most impressive female leaders of the past century? Let’s look at five of them: 

Why is Queen Elizabeth II an outstanding female role model?

Her Majesty has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history. She got married in 1947 and her husband Prince Philip is known for his lifelong support for his wife and family. “The Duke of Edinburgh has been – in her own words – her ‘strength and stay’ during her reign”

The Queen is probably one the best role models for female leadership. The reason is that she believes in leadership by example. “Servant leadership means that she considers her work as a service and treats other’s work in the same way.”  

She has gained a positive public image because of her hard work and dedication to public service. Her ability to respect others is another great leadership quality she has. 

Why is Mother Teresa a good female role Model?

“She founded Missionaries of charity in Kolkata, India. For 45 years she was looking after the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. It was a pretty depressing job. She was a selfless servant leader who dedicated her whole life to making others lives better.  Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity had 610 missions in 123 countries which served people with HIV, leprosy and tuberculosis. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India’s highest civilian honor in 1980 for her humanitarian work. Thousands of people were inspired by her servant leader behaviors that followed her footprint to contribute their life to the charity. Mother Teresa had always insisted that her followers live in the same poverty as the people they served. Just like what she said when she was awarded the Nobel  Peace Prize: ” I am unworthy, I accepted the prize in the name of the poor. The prize is the reorganization of the poor world…By serving the poor I am serving Him.”

Why to choose Margret Thatcher as a female role model?

The “Iron Lady” of British politics served as the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. She was  the first woman to lead a major Western power in modern times. “The belief that economic freedom and individual liberty are interdependent, that personal responsibility and hard work are the only ways to national prosperity, and that the free-market democracies must stand firm against aggression — had won many disciples.”

It is very interesting to notice how important her husband was for her ability to be a leader.She wrote in her memoir The Downing Street Years” (1993):  “Being prime minister is a lonely job. But with Denis there, I was never alone.” 

Why is Maya Angelou a great female role model?

The great Afro-American writer led through words. One of her most famous quotes explains why she was such a powerful leader that touched people’s hearts.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

A good leader has the ability to pay attention to how he makes others feel. 

Why Madeleine Albright is a famous female role model

She was the first female United States Secretary of State in U.S. history, having served from 1997 to 2001. She is well known for her perseverance during her career and the sense of humor that opened her many doors. Albright got divorced in 1982 and obviously managed her very successful career without the support of a partner. Albright started working out in her sixties and is widely known for being able to lift heavy weights.

She has written a beautiful, funny and entertaining memoir that is especially an  inspiration for those who need a push to speak up. Albright  is capable of making fun of herself while reflecting on world affairs.

.https://www.harpercollins.com/products/hell-and-other-destinations-madeleine-albright

Entrepreneurial Role Models

In the United States 40 percent of all businesses are owned by female entrepreneurs .

Famous women entrepreneurs are not necessarily visible to all of us. One of the most successful entrepreneurs is the Australian Gina Rinehart who is a mining magnate. She built her wealth after dropping out of university. She is considered to be the richest Australian. 

America’s most popular female entrepreneurial role model

A more popular role model is the Floridian Sara Blakely. She founded the American intimate apparel company Spanx.https://www.spanx.com/saras-world In 2012, Blakely landed on the cover of Forbes magazine for being the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Blakely

She is known for her great sales talent.  Blakely has been a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, along with billionaire Tony Ressler. 

Why having role models matter for entrepreneurs`success

If you are more looking to get support from your role model, data shows that mentors are more likely found in family settings. The Dutch study has shown that entrepreneurs rarely seem to have “icons” as role models but rather people with strong personal ties. But role models

matter for pursuing an entrepreneurial career. One third of the entrepreneurs said they would have never started their business venture without the role model.

Male Role Models 

There are many men who want women to succeed. And science has proven that men can be very successful role models for women.

So how do you pick a good male role model? The male role model should have a similar set of values. If you are not sure about your own, try our article on personal core values.

 A successful relationship of any type highly depends on a similar set of values. It also helps if he is accessible for you. Time to share thoughts and ideas or asking for help is very important. 

Are you just looking for a single quality? Like success in business or a great father? Check your network first. Role models have a higher impact if you already have some sort of positive relationships. In rare cases you meet new people who seem to be similar and might have an interest in opening up and supporting you. 

Be Savvy –  Be Smart – Trust SimpleSavvySmart

Role models can be a key to success. Especially when they are competent, warm and have positive values. Don`t look too far. Often they are already under your eyes.

Find your role model today – You will love what you can be

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