This past week, the University held a panel showcasing a variety of female leaders in the workforce and their impact on women’s empowerment in such a space. This board commends the efforts of the University to uphold its commitment to diversity and, more specifically, to female leadership. In past weeks, this board has discussed the issue of diversity through the lens of race and ethnicity; however, gender equality is an equally important and just cause which needs to be addressed.

Women have been notoriously underrepresented in leadership roles within the workplace compared to their male counterparts. This gap has proved to be a major hurdle for those women looking to advance to the upper echelons of management or to contribute meaningful work within certain companies.

In presenting this panel of women, the University opened up the discussion about women in the workforce in multiple ways.

Female students were able to look to these panelists as role models for future success. The panelists, who came from a diverse set of backgrounds and careers, proved that women are capable of such positions and that no goal is unattainable. Many of the panelists discussed how they represented a small minority of their respective divisions, but nonetheless were able to make a strong impact. This message is crucial for those students who aim to climb the managerial ladder in careers which lack adequate female representation.

The idea of finding mentorship and networking arose multiple times throughout the discussion, something that Joanne Pokaski, director of Workforce Development at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Ruth Nemzoff, former assistant minority leader of the New Hampshire legislature, touched upon. The panel served to do just so, allowing for students to network with like-minded women and seek advice from seasoned female leaders.

Moreover, the panelists gave concrete advice to students as to how to circumvent bias and create a persona of confidence. In the face of bias and general discouragement, such an attitude can be critical for those looking to succeed in their respective careers.

The University should continue to acknowledge the role of women leadership and its impact on the world. Women have recently made huge strides in this regard; however, there is much work to do in order to create an equal and welcoming environment. The steps made in this panel are but a few of the crucial steps needed to empower women with the voice of confidence and leadership.

Professor Shulamit Reinharz, Ph.D. ’77 (SOC) and director of the Women’s Studies Research Center, noted the importance of feminism within the University system and its effect on students. This board encourages the University to uphold its commitment to diversity in hopes that this mentality will permeate the student body and influence their future career decisions.