For many of us, Labor Day means the end of the summer and a day off of work, but it’s also a day of tribute. The true intention of today is to celebrate American workers who have made and continue to make important contributions to the success of our country. Today, women make up nearly half of our country’s workforce and can be found working at every level in most industries, breaking barriers and crashing through the proverbial glass ceiling.
Women are not only contributing in traditional ways, but we are also creating opportunities for ourselves and others in record numbers! Between 2002 and 2012, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. increased at a rate of 2 1/2 times the national average, and employment in women-owned businesses grew at a rate of 4 1/2 times all businesses (source: National Women’s Business Council).
In honor of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, we celebrate the contributions that all women have made and continue to make to our nation. Here are just a few highlights of previously featured Women You Should Know, who have led the way for the rest of us to follow:
Brenda Berkman: One of New York City’s first women firefighters, 9/11 first responder, retired FDNY Captain, printmaker.
Ellen Ochoa: Became an astronaut in July 1991, and subsequently, the first Hispanic woman to travel into space.
Joan Ganz Cooney: The visionary behind the creation of Children’s Television Workshop and Sesame Street.
Muriel Siebert: Known as the “First Woman of Finance”, she was the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
Ursula Burns: Chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation, the first black woman to be named CEO of a Fortune 500 company.