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The Cowgirl Spirit
On Wednesday night, the Women’s Initiative Fellows were introduced to a different type of female leader – the cowgirl. At the National Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth, the Fellows had fun touring the museum and riding the mechanical bucking bronc, but most importantly they learned how the cowgirl spirit is as much a part of them as the women of Texas (and throughout America). As Cowgirl Hall of Fame honoree Dale Evans said, “Cowgirl is an attitude, really. A pioneer spirit, a special [American] brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses. Cowgirls take stands, they speak up. They defend things they hold dear.” The courageous Fellows truly possess the cowgirl spirit. They are also living with the reality of another famous cowgirl motto, “saddle your own horse, because no one will do it for you”. In other words, do not wait for someone else to help you succeed … you must do it yourself. Through the programming of the Fellowship, the Fellows are learning to do just that. In Egypt, many women have had an opportunity to become educated or join the workforce, but it is not guaranteed that they will get the jobs or that their voice will be heard as strongly as their male counterparts. The Fellowship Program is providing them with the tools to proactively and effectively lead change not only for themselves, but others around them. This week through courses at SMU, the women have learned to skillfully negotiate, lead and influence without authority, get their ideas heard, build effective teams, and create cultural change. They plan to apply these tools to improve their personal and professional situations, but they also dream of making a significant contribution to their country. Egypt has a long and fascinating history, and the Fellows want the chance to help write this new chapter of Egyptian history. After spending the last five days with these remarkable women, I am certain they will get this chance. This post written by Charity Wallace, Director of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. << Return to the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program