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Point of View: International Women’s Day is an Opportunity to Celebrate Women’s Achievements in Education

Jeanie Webb
Jeanie Webb

On March 8 — International Women’s Day — we celebrate women’s achievements. It is a day to recognize women worldwide who have created lasting legacies and who continue to impact their communities and our global society every day.

On a personal note, one of the women I look up to most is my mother. Growing up, she played many roles as my family’s caretaker and breadwinner — especially after my dad suffered a stroke when I was in high school. She encouraged me to be involved in my school and pursue active leadership roles. Above all, she inspired and supported my ambitions to earn a college degree because it was an achievement I would always have. Her encouragement ignited my lifelong pursuit of learning that led to three degrees and becoming the first female president of Rose State College. I would not be where I am today without her support, and that knowledge fuels my passion for providing everyone with educational opportunities that my mom didn't have.

As I reflect on my journey in light of International Women's Day, I am thankful for all the women who have encouraged younger generations to aim higher. The women who have gone before us have paved the way for girls today to have opportunities to achieve through hard work and education.

Today, there is a more significant cause for celebrating women's achievements in higher education than ever before. As of the first quarter of 2019, 29.5 million women in the labor force obtained at least a bachelor’s degree, effectively matching the number of college-educated men in the workforce (29.3 million) for the first time. This milestone is significant from both an economic and an influential perspective. According to Census Bureau data, individuals with a college education possess greater earning potential and opportunities to attain leadership positions across industries.

As president of Rose State, it is my privilege and responsibility to provide pathways to success through education for women of all ages. My mission is to provide opportunities for every individual on our campus to pursue their goals. Someday, the next generation of female students, entrepreneurs, pilots, engineers, doctors and teachers will be looking up to the women currently on our campus. Our job is to make sure the next generation of women is ready to take on the challenge.

Jeanie Webb is president of Rose State College in Midwest City.