Every woman's experience is significant, but sometimes a high-profile figure can tap into the collective consciousness and act as the voice of many.
These three internationally-recognized women have risen to the tops of their professions, yet they have stories that anyone can relate to. Listen to Real Audio excerpts of their interviews with CBS.com.
Cybill Shepherd, actress: "I was told from the time I can remember anybody talking to me, 'Oh my gosh, look at her, she's a killer. She's going to go out there and destroy men. She's going to go out there and break hearts.' It's this whole idea of destroyer. It took me many, many years of not only my feminist perspective and enlightenment but also some years of therapy to realize that, actually, I did not have the power to destroy anyone and that I didn't have to carry that guilt trip. I find it's still happening to my daughters now. So a lot has changed, but still a lot more needs to be changed. You know, I'm blond, but my brain isn't blond."
Lesley Stahl, newswoman: "I was hired in 1972 by CBS. That was the year of Affirmative Action. There's something called the famous Class of '72, that is, you'll see this in many businesses but definitely in television news, lots and lots of women were hired that year. I say lots and lots, I mean certainly compared to what we had before. I was hired, Connie Chung was hired, Sylvia ChaseÂ… and at the other networks you had the same kind of lineup coming in. From then until now it's just been a gigantic sea change."
Paula Zahn, newswoman: "We're no longer given jobs just because of our sex. We get them because we merit them. But the fact remains that there are still inequalities that we need to resolve. Women still earn far less than men, and it's also quite clear that women who've been able to make the considered choice to stay home and raise their families aren't given the kind of respect that I think society owes them. And it's quite clear in the business world that women's progress is being hampered by this glass ceiling, and we're going to have to continue to chip away at those barriers."