1Girl event covers gender equality, empowering women

“Agentic” and “communal” were etched on the chalkboard, two opposite leadership styles: agentic being aggressive, ambitious and dominant and communal being compassionate, collaborative and teamwork-oriented.

“Which gender is primarily associated with which?” Jacqueline Goodman, department head of women’s and gender studies, asked the audience.

Although women have made tremendous progress, Goodman said there is still discrimination in the workplace, in wages, promotions, getting hired and leadership positions. Women are in a double-bind in the workplace because if they are communal in their leadership style, they are perceived as weak, Goodman said.

“And when they are agentic, they are portrayed as…?” Goodman asked.

She was answered in murmurs of “bitches.”

1Girl organized the discussion Empowering Women in the Gender Gap on March 26 in Room 318 at Pray-Harrold.

1Girl opened at EMU in the fall of 2014. It works toward encouraging girls to succeed and explore in every aspect of their lives and focuses on helping to develop in both confidence and leadership.

Goodman said every leader shares these characteristics:

  • Humility
  • Continual pursuit of knowledge with debate
  • Conquering fears
  • Compassion
  • Forgiveness/concept of reconciliation
  • Empowering others

Goodman said these are principles she likes to live by herself and can applied to a woman’s workplace, community, clubs and school.

“I strongly believe that gender equality is something that needs to be worked on in the United States,” said Amanda Binz, 20, English major and co-founder of 1Girl.

Ashley DiGiuseppe, mentor for Adolescent Diversion Project, and Ebony Walls, graduate assistant for EMU’s Center of Multicultural Affairs, discussed the importance of mentoring not only in everyone’s lives, but also especially in women’s.

“I am a product of mentoring,” said Walls.

The two women explained that mentoring isn’t about power, but about one person helping another find their talents and strengths, even opening them up to new options and opportunities.

“Some people don’t know what else is out there until someone else exposes them to it,” said DiGiuseppe.

Communication, building rapport and sincerity are important traits when being a mentor as well as a mentee. Mentoring is about dream-building, achievements, focusing on what a woman wants to be and what she doesn’t want to be, said Walls.

Students issued their opinions of struggling with finding an adviser who is willing to help and also cares, someone who will help them strengthen and develop their talents. Walls suggested going to the UACDC, University Advising and Career Development, on EMU’s campus.

Walls wants to create a program at EMU where students are assigned to a faculty member who will act as an adviser in order to help open students up to opportunities that may not be possible otherwise.

“I like the fact that they’re reaching out to a category that Eastern doesn’t talk about, like women’s rights,” said Marcus Williams, 20, biology major, who came to the discussion for a school leadership program in which he had to go to an event where he was both in the minority and uncomfortable.

As mentors, DiGiuseppe and Walls help their mentees see that there are higher possibilities and more options than they realize.

“I don’t want to be in the same place I am today as I was yesterday,” said Walls, who will help her mentees in the same way.

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