‘Behind every great man there’s a great woman’. That’s a cliché statement of a bygone era.
It is said that the triumphs of Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his wife, Mary—an outspoken woman who encouraged Lincoln to run for the office in the first place. Not many recognize that historical fact. Every time you come across the image of Lincoln Memorial, think of Mary Lincoln—her contribution mostly stayed in the background at that time, she was maligned when she exerted her leadership.
Think of the other celebrated presidents—Roosevelt and Reagan who had strong first ladies to support their husband’s leadership triumphs. Elenore Roosevelt was ever present to help a president who suffered from depression all his life. Nancy Reagan was a pillar standing by a president whose legacy is etched in the American history. Today, we fully recognize the leadership role of the first ladies—Hillary Clinton and Michael Obama being in the forefront. Two for the price of one, as President Clinton famously said.
It is unthinkable that women were not allowed to vote until 1920. Since many of the women's suffrage centennial celebrations originally scheduled for 2020 were curtailed, the National Women's History Alliance is extending the annual theme for 2021 to "Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced".
It’s the dawn of a new era. Key women’s ballot helped elect President Joe Biden and propelled Kamala Harris into the office of the Vice President of the United States—her husband’s role is that of a second gentleman. It shouldn’t have taken two hundred and twenty-five years for a woman to occupy that office.
Women governors lead in several of our states, fighting COVID-19 while successfully managing their state’s needs.
More than ever, heads of states and heads of their household are female. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Israel, and Kosovo have or had women heads of state. Women leaders have or now run the governments in Germany, Finland and England. Recalling the contributions of women reminds us, it’s time to see a woman president in the White House.
General Motors, CVS, Citigroup, UPS, Oracle, and Gap are headed by women—broadly covering manufacturing, health, finance, delivery, technology, and retail industries. Wall street understands the ‘glass ceiling’ is no more. To celebrate International Women’s Day this month, broken glass now surrounds the Fearless Girl statue in Manhattan’s Financial District.
The current Secretary of Treasury is a woman. She’s responsible for paying the Nation’s bills and collecting taxes. As the economic advisor to the President and the Cabinet, she holds the most important position in charge of our economic welfare—especially in these challenging times when the prevailing worldwide pandemic required a $1.9 trillion government stimulus plan.
Women headed the country’s Homeland Security Agency to safeguard the nation at home and headed the Central Intelligence Agency to protect the U.S. interests abroad. The two critically important positions in a world that has become smaller and its challenges bigger.
The role of women has been critical in the Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Christianity, Virgin Mary the mother of Messiah Jesus, is an embodiment of piety, love and purity—she embraced her own calling in the service of God at a tender age.
As a baby, Moses was saved from Pharaoh’s wrath and raised by a foster mother with love and care.
Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) wife, Khadija, was the pillar behind his prophetic mission, supporting him emotionally and materially during the most trying times of his prophethood.
When it was time to dedicate my memoir of a successful life as an immigrant businessman and a community activist, I didn’t think twice before dedicating my book to my wife. Without her equal partnership, at every step and turn in my life, I couldn’t have pursued the American Dream.
Victor Ghalib Begg is author of the 2019 memoir “Our Muslim Neighbors—Achieving the American Dream; An Immigrant’s Memoir.”