Yeonmi Park: A Lesson in Bravery

When Yeonmi Park was a little girl growing up in North Korea, she never dreamed that some day she would be forced to leave the country in which she was born. In fact, Yeonmi told the reason she was convinced that the leader of the country—Kim Jong-Il during that time—was so powerful that he could even hear her thoughts. Like all of the other North Korean children, she had been brainwashed into believing that the Kim regime possessed supernatural powers.

However, these illusions quickly started to fade away when Yeonmi’s family fell upon hard times when she was an adolescent. After her father was sent to a labor camp for selling metals on the black market, the Park family became outcasts. It wasn’t long before they were desperate and starving, looking for a solution.

Yeonmi’s sister was the first to flee the country, and Yeonmi and her mother were not far behind. Although they did successfully escape North Korea with their lives intact, which was no small feat, Yeonmi and her mother immediately found themselves entrenched in another human rights issue as soon as they came to China. When the guide who had been leading them intimated that he was going to rape Yeonmi, her mother bravely stepped in and sacrificed herself for her daughter. This was a horrendous start to their life in China, which would be marked by brutality and pain after the women were sold into human trafficking.

Eventually, Yeonmi was able to bring her family back together and her father even made his way across the border. Unfortunately, he had been suffering from untreated colon cancer and died shortly afterward. They buried his ashes on the side of a mountain at night, under the cover of darkness. Eventually, Yeonmi and her mother came up with a new plan of escape—this time they wanted to flee to Mongolia, where they could claim asylum as North Korean refugees and start a new life in South Korea.

Although their journey was fraught with danger, the women managed to succeed, leaving their pain behind but never forgetting the horrors they experienced.

Susan McGalla On The Importance of Female Leaders

Susan McGalla, an American businesswoman and executive consultant from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has previously worked with American Outfitters, Wet Seal and various other prestigious companies. Susan McGalla has always been quite outspoken about female leaders and businesswomen in the industry, and how important it is for gender equality and a healthy growth of the corporate world. She is one of the best role models that young girls can have because she has achieved so much in a male dominated industry.
So what can people learn from the success of female leaders like Susan McGalla? Here are some things to think about –

Female Leaders Create Awareness – When a female is in a leadership position, it isn’t a long shot to say that most of her peers are men. This is true for almost every industry, even the ones like nursing where women are traditionally and stereotypically said to be superior. As such, when women like Susan McGalla reach a leadership position on the basis on their hard work, they can help to create a special kind of awareness that the world (especially the corporate world) desperately needs at times like these. This is why it is important to have female leaders.

Female Leaders Help Society Progress – A female leader is not just working for herself when she becomes a leader, she is representative of an entire gender. This is not true for men. Why? Because there are so many male leaders that diversity in thought processes and working style is created by default. As such, one male leader is not burdened by the expectations of society whereas female leaders are. This is why Susan McGalla believes that as more and more female leaders are seen and the phenomenon becomes common, society would start progressing. Young girls would no longer have to use their imagination when they think of businesswomen.

Female Leaders Raise Questions That Others Cannot – There are certain questions that male leaders cannot be expected to raise. Susan McGalla also adds that they shouldn’t be raising those issues because the awareness should come from a woman as it would mean much more. These issues include the problem of female sexual abuse at workplace, gender gap when it comes to hiring rates, and so on. When a female leader like Susan McGalla raises these questions, she would be heard because she is at a top position. She is also the member of the industry and understands how it works.

Female Leaders Can Help With The Wage Gap – The wage gap is the biggest problem plaguing the economy and the corporate world is to blame for it. For the same positions and work, women are paid lesser than man. When more women like Susan McGalla emerge from such a situation, wage gap would get narrower because they would understand the inherent problems and the systemic issues. They could work actively to eradicate them with practical solutions.

Susan McGalla has been extremely successful in her professional life but more than that, she has helped to start a conversation about female leadership that everyone should be having.