A few months ago, I attended an event at the Alice Paul Institute, and I was shocked, read, embarrassed, to learn that an equality act for women had never been passed. Admittedly, history was not my best, nor my favorite subject in high school, so I had vague memories of learning about the women’s suffrage movement, and I suppose that in my mind, equality was achieved when women won the vote. I don't mean to imply that I was completely naive; I know that women are generally paid less than their male counterparts and sexism is still rampant in the workplace. The realization that women do not have equality made me think about what true equality would look like in our world. It made me think about what I can do to empower women, especially the next generation of female leaders.
I am super excited to announce that Make & Move Club will be hosting YES! For Girls Youth Empowerment Summit for high school girls on March 11, 2017 at the John F. Scarpa Technical Education Center of Cumberland County.
Our committee really took our time brainstorming a name for the event, and YES! for Girls really speaks to the tone we want to set for our conference: a tone of empowerment. As a woman in a non-traditional field (architecture), I have experienced a need for positive female role models in my profession. A quick google search produced the article “Results of the 2016 Women in Architecture Survey revealed” from The Architectural Review that said, “The Women in Architecture survey provides disturbing insights into the experiences of 1,152 women worldwide – alarmingly, more than one in five would not recommend a career in architecture.” The article further states that “Forty per cent of women worldwide think they would be paid more if they were male” and that “Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of women worldwide say they have experienced sexual discrimination, harassment or victimisation during their career in architecture” These statistics validate my own experiences of being treated differently as an architect strictly because I am a woman. And, the inequality experienced in architecture is not unique. According to a 2013 report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “In almost every occupation, the median weekly earnings for women are consistently lower than those for men.” and the report also demonstrates that“the gender pay gap still consistently pervades every segment of society — by age, race, education level, occupation type and hours worked.” While the women’s movement has certainly made strides over the past century, there is more work to do.
YES! For Girls will consist of a series of panel discussions focused around topics important to girls in Cumberland County as expressed in survey data we collected earlier this year. The input from potential participants was vital in the planning of the conference. Our objectives for the event are to enhance girls' access to quality community organizations and support programs in their communities and to empower girls with information, skills, services, and support. Through corporate sponsorship from local businesses and donors, in addition to a day surrounded by positive role models from the community, we will be able to provide the girls with breakfast, lunch, event shirts, and other giveaways. I personally can’t wait for March 11th, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting the event through attending yourself, spreading the word in person and through social media, donating a prize for our giveaways, or volunteering for the day. #empowerHER #yesforgirls #leadlikeagirl