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Women will gain more momentum for landing leadership positions when current industry leaders intentionally mentor young aspiring women. That was the communal agreement by the female panelists at a recent seminar organized by the International Cultural Center. The seminar, “Breaking Barriers: Vision of the Future for Women in Global Leadership” commemorated the 2022 International Women’s Day and brought together students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the community to discuss the inclusion of women in senior management and executive level positions globally.

The speakers included Angela Calderon, associate professor in the Department of Drug Discovery and Development; Shinjini Agarwal, graduate student in Consumer and Design Sciences and president of the Indian Students Association; Abbygail Langham, director of Assessment and Strategic Planning, Student Affairs; Janice Clifford, associate professor and director of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work; Carole Zugazaga, associate professor and chair in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work.

The panelists shared their career pathways and acknowledged the challenges women face in their journey to leadership positions, including how the responsibilities of family and career make it tremendously important for women to find the needed support and encouragement. Participants also discussed compelling stories of women achievers who have braved all odds and worked hard to achieve positions of influence and leadership in academia.

Shinjini Agarwal encouraged attendees that it is acceptable for women to make a choice about what they want. “You don’t have to be ashamed of prioritizing your career over your family,” said Agarwal. “You do not have to do that. It is your career, your choice, your family.”

Abbygail Langham encouraged women to recognize when they need help and call for support. According to her, it is imperative for women to have the leadership skill of delegation. “If you have a significant other like your partner, let them help you,” said Langham. “It doesn’t have to be all on you. As a mother you do carry most of it anyway. It is a natural instinct, I think, to feel that way, but also make sure to ask for that support.”

The theme for the 2022 International Women’s Day was ‘Break the Bias’, spotlighting proactive ways to address worldwide gender inequality. There was a consensus that women in leadership positions should be catalysts for change and harness their collective strength to address the issues and create solutions on individual, social and institutional levels.

Below are the links to some resources that were shared at the seminar:- The World’s Women 2020: Trends and Statistics- The Women’s Leadership Gap- Gender pay gap in U.S. held steady in 2020

The International Cultural Center’s Window to Your World lunch seminars are designed to promote international and cultural learning in an informal gathering. The seminars feature an array of experts and thought leaders that discuss salient interdisciplinary and “just in time” topics. A variety of presentations and topics are offered, including research work, study abroad testimonials and career development topics for domestic and international students.

To learn more about the ICC and their programs, visit the Office of International Programs’ website.