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Tribute to the world’s leading ladies

Strong women: US First Lady Jill Biden receives flowers from Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian's President Volodymyr Zelensky, in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, on May 8, Mother’s Day (Photograph by Susan Walsh, Pool via AP)

Readers, my tribute to mothers – ladies all – is a bit late, but please read on to know the reason.

There it is. Just a common image. Nothing unusual.

Two ladies facing each other across the table, maybe lunch at a café, or tea in a cozy home atmosphere chatting about managing a budget?

But, it is not, it is far more than the financial basics.

On Mother’s Day, May 8, 2022, in a war zone amid severe fighting against a foreign oppressor intent on annihilating freedom for power (and money) wholly unconcerned about the country’s citizens becoming collateral damage, amid sirens warning of incoming attacks, the First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, is seated with her counterpart the First Lady of Ukraine, the No 2 Russian assassination target, Olena Zelenska.

A photograph in time for the ages.

The amazing power of personal commitment

Two ladies, resilient, calm, a visage of astonishing bravery and solidarity in the face of danger, participate in a never-to-be forgotten audacious, personal meeting recorded globally in real time for all time, earning the world’s respect and admiration for their sheer determination to expose to the world the indiscriminate slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians and the destruction of an economy and personal habitats in a matter of weeks.

These are two ladies representing the dedicated commitment of all mothers who had (and have) placed their caring, concern, influence, and fierce support for the freedom, personal and financial security of all people: all families, all children, all parents, men, and women

Who are they?

First Lady Jill Biden

As a classroom teacher for over 30 years, advocating for increased educational opportunities for all students, of all ages, is close to her heart. From championing universal preschool, free community college, increased access for students to broadband, and more affordable options for higher education, Dr Biden continues her work promoting accessible, quality education for everyone at Northern Virginia Community College, while setting another precedent as the first presidential spouse to maintain an independent career outside of the White House.

First Lady Olena Zelenska

A screen writer, an architect, a public speaker, and an ardent supporter of her country and its people, First Lady Olena Zelenska, is also a mother and wife, who refused to leave Ukraine when the Russian assault began. She has initiated reforms of school nutrition systems, promoted gender equality initiatives at the third Ukrainian Women’s Congress, has introduced initiatives to promote the Ukrainian language, globally, creating processes for “a barrier-free” society and in 2021, initiated a Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen with a theme of “Soft Power In the New Reality,” where a declaration on co-operation in the field of health, education, and equal opportunities in the face of new realities in the world was planned to be signed at the summit.

An incredibly brave, committed individual, Ms Zelenska is now in Ukraine’s invasion focused on humanitarian aid, evacuation of disabled children and obtaining incubators, supplies for hospitals in the warzones, raising conscious awareness of children killed in the invasion by posting their photographs on Instagram, condemning mass murder while calling for more military aid, paying tribute to Ukrainian soldiers and the “feminine face” of the Ukrainian resistance.

According to CNN, in Christiane Amanpour’s e-mail interview, Ms Zelenska said: “I write a lot about our women, because their participation is everywhere – they are in the armed forces and the defence forces, most of them are medics. And they are the ones who take children and families to safety. For example, only they can go abroad. So, in some ways their role is even more diverse than men's; this is more than equality!”

Ukraine’s First Lady is fully committed to her country, and people’s wellbeing – in spite of being a high-profile target for the Russians. When asked about such a dangerous threat, Ms Zelenska said: “The number one target is all of us, no one in Ukraine is safe from Russian forces!”

Who among us can begin to imagine living under such threats to life, carrying on no matter what the future holds?

Yet, there are millions of committed women leaders worldwide.

Two more of note.

Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist and international development expert with over 30 years of experience, 25 of which were spent at the World Bank rising to managing director, fair trade leader, environmental sustainability advocate, human welfare champion, sustainable finance maven and global development expert, and the first Nigerian woman to serve two terms as finance minister of Nigeria. She graduated magna cum laude with an AB in Economics from Harvard University (1976) and earned a Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank

is a French politician, economist and lawyer who has been president of the European Central Bank (ECB) since 1 November 2019. She previously served as Chair and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2011 until 2019, various senior ministerial posts in the Government of France, most prominent as Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry from 2007 to 2011. She was the first woman to hold each of those posts.

This article focused on women leaders, but the amazing power to effect positive change can be a possible commitment goal for any individual(s) and communities: families, lives, politics, influencing legislation, motivating ethical behaviour, safeguarding the truths of a free democracy are all courageous missions to consider in leveraging the long game of life, for the best life ever.

No matter how small one’s sphere of influence, every lady, mother, daughter, man, father, son, and relations has the innate power to transform his/her life and community for the better, affecting change that ranges the spectrum from education to financial wellness.

Ask yourself. What can you do individually – no matter how small – in gestures, help, volunteering, mentoring, collaborating, caring to better yourself and our community?

Reference

CNN, Christian Amanpour interview with Olena Zelenska, https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/12/europe/olena-zelenska-ukraine-first-lady-amanpour-cmd-intl/index.html

Martha Harris Myron JSM is a native Bermudian with US connections; Amazon / Apple published author of Dawn of New Beginnings, Book One of The Bermuda Islander Financial Planning Primers, and a Google news contributor

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Published May 14, 2022 at 7:18 am (Updated May 16, 2022 at 7:54 am)

Tribute to the world’s leading ladies

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