Celebrating Women Leaders Who Did the Impossible and Inspire Us

Jenn Leahy
Jenn Leahy
Published Mar 17, 2022

I’ve spent a lot of time in Ireland. Sometime in the next few years, I’ll call it home. (Most likely when Dragon Army achieves our goal to Inspire Happiness across the globe.)

As I thought of what it means to be a woman leader, I couldn’t help but connect Women’s History Month and St. Patrick’s Day. Women in Ireland changed the course of not only that country’s history, but also paved the way for women across the globe. Some are well known, but they made many lesser-known contributions to our understanding of the world and one another. 

In the spirit of all things March, I thought I’d share a brief history of just a few Irish women leaders who made a significant impact:

  • Brigid Kildare secured women’s property rights and freed trafficked women all the way back in c451. 
  • Maria Edgeworth went door to door starting the first food distribution service during the Famine — at age 80. 
  • Agnes Clerke was so renowned for her work in astronomy in the early 1800s that in 1980, NASA named a crater on the moon after her.
  • Lilian Blan was the first woman to build and fly an aircraft in Ireland, and also became the world’s first female aviation engineer. 
  • Dorothy Prince was responsible for introducing game-changing vaccinations in the 1890s. 
  • Rosie Hacket was just 18 when she created the Trade Union movement, which is still a foundation for some of the most progressive and modern working conditions we know today.
  • Kay McNulty, one of the world’s very first computer programmers, was inducted into the Technology International Hall of Fame in 1997.

As a country, Ireland remained under British rule until 1922. The country survived that oppressive rule, one of history’s worst famines, and restrictive impacts of the church on women’s rights. And yet, a prolific amount of incredible women accomplished amazing achievements during each and all of these challenges. 

What was the common thread? 

Women are an incredible force. It’s not because we play the roles of moms, daughters, and sisters. It’s not because we can reproduce, or because we may be inclined to show emotion and be vulnerable, it’s not because we are more empathetic or peace-loving. Women are strong, incredible forces of will who can accomplish amazing achievements because we JUST ARE. We are capable, qualified, and set up to do the impossible even amidst the most challenging of circumstances. 

Let’s not try to qualify it for any other reason.

This is the spirit of the Irish, and the women leaders I’m celebrating this month. They are my legacy and an inspiring force I tap into every day as the President of Dragon Army. As it would be said in Irish, “tá an ceart ar fad agat!, nár lagaí Dia thú” (I’ll drink to that). 

Reach out if you’d like to connect. I’d love to hear from you: [email protected].