Women leaders are having a greater impact in nearly every profession from politics to technology, however extreme shortages persist. In order to prepare the next group of leaders, it is vital to create environments where their voices can be heard.
The University of the District of Columbia is addressing the leadership gap through the Women’s Leadership Project, which is designed to nurture student voices of advocacy and leadership.
Since 2017, the leadership development project has supported the interests and talents of women students at UDC. It also helps them to tie their “leader” voices to their passions and provide platforms that allow them to be celebrated and affirmed by their communities.
The Women’s Leadership Project has evolved into a 16-week credit bearing course that embeds academic and non-academic learning outcomes.
The #hearmelead Women’s Leadership Project @UDC was established on campus through a grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The peer mentoring program brings together women of all backgrounds to not only promote effective, communicative and supportive leadership skills, but also fosters other talents within women that help them connect to themselves and their communities.
The Women’s Leadership Project bonds women and helps them work together through the education and art of spoken word, an emotional form of poetic expression. The performances of the poetry allow women the opportunity to practice the elevation of their voices and share their stories with the community. With the continuous practice of expression and connectivity, the program gives students new written and public speaking skills and produces empowered women with the confidence to share and lead.
The Project offers culminating performances in April at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, where students use the spoken word as a platform for their personal expression.
From Capitol Hill to corporate boardrooms, women are much less likely than men to hold leadership positions in their fields. Despite impressive gains for women in education and the workplace throughout the past 50 years, the gender leadership gap still leaves all women greatly outnumbered in top positions. Women of color, who are affected by both racial and gender discrimination, are especially underrepresented in these roles: Fewer than 3 percent of board directors at Fortune 500 companies, for example, are African American, Hispanic or Asian women.
Women experience $513 billion in lost wages a year because of the pay gap that persists between them and their male peers, according to a new report from the American Association of University Women.
The consequences of women earning 80 cents on average for every dollar brought home by a man can impact nearly every aspect of their lives, from the ability to pay off college debt to their decisions about having children to a financially stable retirement.
The University of the District of Columbia’s Women Leadership Project is making a difference to remedy gender inequalities while providing a platform to empower women and to amplify their voice in the university and in the community.