What Makes a Woman of Character?

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by Character.org

Women have made incredible impact in the world.

Everywhere you go, there are women. Everywhere women are, we see character nurtured. When it comes to exuding and embodying character, women from all walks of life like Rosa Parks (one of the figureheads of the Civil Rights Movement), and Malala Yousafzai (a proponent for the education of girls in Pakistan) have encouraged, challenged inspired many women to work in cultivating good character within themselves.

We asked some of the women on staff at Character.org to either give examples of women who influenced them, or let us know what it means to be a woman of character in the workplace, family, and the world. Here are some responses that we received:

“While women’s roles in the workplace continue to grow, in the grander scheme of history, it’s still a fairly new idea to have women executives and women leaders in industry. For that reason, I think it’s particularly vital for women in business to be solid role models as executives and as people. Because there are fewer, a brighter light shines on them. While it should be everyone’s goal to develop and live with good character, I think women often feel a stronger sense of responsibility because of the choices we make. Women who have a family and work might want to prove they are contributing to their children just as much as the greater community. Women who stay home with their family might want to prove they are contributing to the greater community just as much as to their children. I have admired women within both of those camps throughout my life. The common theme is that they have all been women of strong character. They have treated others with compassion; they have acted with integrity; they have served others and helped build stronger communities. They are my role models professionally and personally.” – Heather Cazad, Director of Communications and Community                              
“One of the most important character traits to me is servant leadership. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great because everyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve… you only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” When I think of these words, I am reminded of my mother Akosua Benewaa. Benewaa embodies the characteristics of a servant leader. She is one of the hardest working women I know. She came as an immigrant to the U.S many years ago. Working menial jobs as a single mother, she was able to raise three girls on her own. Her ability to put her needs aside and take care of the needs of her children makes her an incredible woman. She doesn’t have an education, and speaking the English language doesn’t come easy for her. However her heart for people, life, and her determination to do her best wherever she goes makes her a woman of character. She has made me realize that a woman of character is a leader who is able to sacrificially love those around her, and serve selflessly. Benewaa is more than just a woman. She is a true embodiment of a woman of character.” – Freda Boateng, former Community Coordinator  

“Character is often referred to as “soft skills.” In the same way that character is referred to as soft skills, women are often seen as soft. Kindness in business can be seen as weakness, so women are also seen as weak because “as a rule” they are more often kind than not. Women that I admire are kind, encouraging, generous, courageous, hardworking, trustworthy, and strong. I depend heavily on my faith as a model for me to look to for example. The woman I aspire to be can be found in Proverbs 31. That passage describes a woman of character as virtuous, being more precious than rubies, trustworthy, a planner, hardworking, an entrepreneur, clothed in dignity and strength. She gets up before the sun and goes to bed long after the sun has gone down as her day was dedicated to serving others. This kind of woman be seen everywhere. She is the woman being paid less than her male counterparts while doing as much or more. She is the woman marching on the street in protest of inequity. Through all of this, we see that women might not always be the center of attention in their work. They do not roar in their approach to leadership, but oh how they lead! They need not be loud in their leadership because the impact that they make in the lives of others screams more than any amount of noise we can ever make.” – Sheril Morgan, Director, Schools of Character

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