The Impact of Women



As I take time to reflect on the impact of women in history during the month of March, Ruth Bader Ginsburg immediately came to mind. When Justice Ginsburg passed, our family drove downtown and stood in line to pay our respects at the Supreme Court. I don’t remember exactly what I said to my 7-year-old daughter, but I’m sure it was something along the lines of needing to be there because she was a very important woman who fought hard so that all women could be treated equally. Whatever I said was drastically understated.

The events of the last year including the ongoing anti-Asian violence and racism, particularly towards Asian American women reminds us that there is still so much more work to do. And Justice Ginsburg in both her life and work is an in important role model for those committed to both gender and racial equity.

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” —U.S. News, 2009 Ruth Bader Ginsburg

For many in the Asian community, but particularly for Asian women, our voices are often silenced, if – in fact, we are included at all. But let Justice Ginsburg, who spent her entire life’s work defending equal rights for women, remind us that we have EVERY RIGHT to be at the table, to be seen, to be heard, and to BE the decision makers.

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We must remain steadfast in our progress and in doing so commit to lifting each other up. I celebrate not only the achievements of women in the Asian American community but also the slow but steady steps to highlighting and recognizing those achievements in mainstream media. We have seen a record number of Asian films, actors, writers, and directors recognized in these last few years, seen Asian stories on the silver screen, and have celebrated the success of many Asians in national, state, and local politics, and specifically the success of Asian women in public service at all levels of government. We have a voice at the table.

“Whatever you choose to do, leave tracks. That means don’t do it just for yourself. You will want to leave the world a little better for your having lived.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This month APIA Scholars celebrates the many women who have led the organization to where we are today. While APIA Scholars was founded in 2003 by a group of corporations and nonprofits, many of the representatives of these organizations at the time were women. They fought against stereotypes, they fought to be SEEN, and for their passion and commitment for APIA students to be heard. On the cusp of our 20th Anniversary, APIA Scholars stands tall upon the equality principle that has been there from the start, thanks to the many women, and men, who made our current work possible. And in Justice Ginsburg’s words, “We are now advocates for seeing its full realization”.


Noel Harmon
March 15, 2022