Celebrating "Womxn in Leadership"

February 03, 2020

Panel participants at the Womxn in Leadership breakfast

“Empowered Womxn Empower Womxn”

This statement served as inspiration for members of the Social Science Students Council as they organized the first ever “Womxn in Leadership” breakfast on Friday, January 24th. The event brought together nearly 100 female-identifying students and faculty in the Faculty of Social Science to celebrate women in leadership roles. The event was sponsored by the Social Science Student Donation Fund. 

Each attendee was nominated as an inspiration to others, as leaders in the community or the classroom. The breakfast was an expansion of a previous campaign by the SSSC. In 2019, the SSSC collected nominations and created a ‘look book’ of female and female-identifying people, primarily students, who were in leadership roles.

Anne Campbell is a 3rd year student in Political Science, a Social Science Councillor and 2020 Head Soph of Social Science, and was one of the event organizers. She said the original project was intended to highlight people who did not always get the spotlight.

“As a student body, and a student council, we’ve have been working really hard to empower female students in the faculty,” said Campbell. “In particular, following FOCO, there was a lot of negative media attention, but this disregarded and minimized all the things that women on campus are doing.”

This year, the group expanded the project to bring together nominees for an event to create a larger sense of community.

“We are recognizing the important of relationships, and the impact professors have on students, and that students can have on students,” said Campbell.

All nominations were made anonymously, and nominated students were sent passages from their nomination package.

“Having a peer identifying you as a leader can be an incredible experience,” said Campbell. “University is a very stressful time, with lots of expectations on students, and for someone else to take time to nominate students is very important.”

The event featured a performance by slam poet Fauzia Agbonhin, and a discussion panel made up of Kate Graham, a leadership nominee for the Ontario Liberal Party, Carol Dyck, candidate for the Green Party in the last federal election, Shawna Lewkowitz, former federal NDP candidate, and Diana Lewis, professor in the Department of Geography and the Indigenous Studies program.

The panellist spoke of the challenges women, especially young women face, entering leadership roles, and spoke of the importance of having female professors who can help inspire students.

Campbell highlighted the importance of female professors as well, saying female professors are inspirational for students to look up to.

Campbell feels the event can help inspire students now and in the future.

“I’ve never been more empowered than I have been on campus, surrounded by female peers and professors,” said Campbell.