Breaking into government has not been easy for women. That’s why those who have are so important for younger generations to look up to. The role model effect is key for encouraging the next generation of leader looking for some inspiration when the glass ceiling seems a little too unbreakable. The following list highlights women from all over government who are setting an example to young aspiring govies through their work. No matter if they’re one of the first women cabinet members, a senator or a state CTO, all of these ladies are #goals.
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Why she’s awesome: The Notorious RBG has been a staunch advocate for the fair treatment of women throughout her legal career, working with the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project before her judicial appointments. And she has painstakingly continued the efforts of her early career while on the bench. In a recent MSNBC interview, she emphasized, “I try to teach through my opinions, through my speeches, how wrong is it to judge people on the basis of what they look like, color of their skin, whether they’re men or women.” Additionally, besides being the second woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court, she is not afraid to drink a little too much wine and nap it out.
- Debroah Blythe
Why she’s awesome: As the Chief Information Security Officer of the state of Colorado, Blythe is breaking into two major issue areas for women: government and tech. With more than 14 years of information security experience under her belt, Blythe is passionate about serving the residents of the state she loves. In the office, she is known for collaborating across the department and her highly praised leadership style. As a local leader, she has the opportunity to inspire young girls who aspire to STEM careers.
- Elizabeth Warren
Why she’s awesome: Warren didn’t grow up on a silver spoon; she is very vocal about being raised in a hard-working middle class family where she had to build herself up to her current position. Starting her career in law and academia, Warren became a prominent figure in the financial world. However, shattering one glass ceiling wasn’t enough for Warren as she went on to become Massachusetts’ first female senator, where she currently serves. Through her role in the senate, Warren has been an advocate for gender equality. She recently highlighted this when she said, “I’m a woman, and I’m going to have trouble backing off on that. I am what I am. I’ll go out and talk to people about what’s happening to their families, and when I do that, I’m a mother. I’m a grandmother.”
- Susannah Fox
Why she’s awesome: Fox is all about innovation. In her most recent role as Chief Technology Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services, she has implemented an IDEA Lab. This initiative encourages workers inside and outside of the department to come up with unconventional solutions for problems in health care. Before taking over CTO duties, Fox headed both OMB and HHS. However, her leadership skills aren’t restricted to the public sector. Fox worked extensively with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. She helped the latter surpass $1 billion in total giving.
- Madeleine Albright
Why she’s awesome: As the first woman secretary of state, Albright shattered the glass ceiling. In a recent TED Talk, she explained that her granddaughter did not quite understand why her being a female secretary of state was such a big deal because all of the secretaries of state in her lifetime had been females. Talk about inspiration for younger generations! Despite being nearly 80 years old, she is active on Twitter, using her account to highlight other amazing women who are making waves in government today.
- Vanita Gupta
Why she’s awesome: Gupta currently serves as the head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice where she is continuing her hard fought battle to advance criminal justice reform. This is no small feat in the face of turmoil that has recently plagued the criminal justice system. As a daughter of Indian immigrants, Gupta has had to overcome marginalization in more than one regard. However, she has worked tirelessly to work her way up in government to turn her career into her life’s work, setting an example that young girls can emulate.
- Ambassador Caroline Kennedy
Why she’s awesome: Despite being a part of the Kennedy family, Caroline did not ride the coattails of her family name to make it to her current position. Graduating top of her class at Columbia Law School, Kennedy went on to become an attorney and academic. Most recently, she was nominated and confirmed as the United States Ambassador to Japan. Since her appointment, she has not only served as a role model to young aspiring American women govies, but also one for Japanese women. A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights how Kennedy is working with Prime Minister Abe to stress the concept of ‘Womenomics,’ which involves getting Japanese women into the workforce.