Welcome to the fifty-fifth issue of CEE News!
Picture a leader. Do you see a woman? If not, you aren’t alone. A study published in the Academy of Management Journal confirms that getting recognized as a leader is more difficult for women than for men.
Yet, history is filled with women who defied the norms and persisted in claiming their leadership role. In honor of Women’s History Month, I’m dedicating my message this month to Dolores Huerta, Civil Rights Activist and Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers.
Dolores Huerta was born into the activist movement. Her mother, Alicia, was an active participant in community affairs, involved in numerous civic organizations and the church in the Stockton, California, community. Her father, Juan Feranández, was a union activist who ran for political office and won a seat in the New Mexico legislature in 1938.
Yet, the challenges Huerta faced as a women who raised her voice came at a cost. Raising 11 children while wrestling with gender bias, union defeat and victory, and nearly dying after a San Francisco Police beating, Dolores Huerta bucked 1950’s gender conventions.
By the time 20-year old Huerta met César Chávez in 1955, she had founded the Agricultural Workers Association, set up voter registration drives and pressed local governments for barrio improvements. In 1962, Huerta and Chávez launched the National Farm Workers Association (now known as United Farm Workers). Her adept lobbying and negotiating skills were a vital part of the growth of the farm workers’ movement.
When you think of the motto “Yes. We Can”, President Barak Obama should not be the first person who comes to mind. It should be Dolores Huerta, from whom Obama borrowed the phrase ― a fact that he acknowledged when he awarded Huerta the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.