It’s hard to believe that my first week at Brown is over. In just the five days I’ve been here, I’ve learned so much and made memories to last a lifetime. The opportunity to meet people from around the world is incredible. Everyday I meet someone from somewhere I’ve never been and just being able to talk to him or her is amazing. The Women and Leadership course is spectacular. I’ve learned so much about what it really means to be leader and how being a woman may impact leadership.
Today our class discussed gender roles in society. We split into groups of four and first talked about what it meant to be a lady. Terms that came up included submissive, predicable, and polite. Next, in the same groups, we talked about what it meant to be a man. We thought of terms like dominant, powerful, and in control. We also discussed what a person faces if they don’t act like a man or act like a lady. Both men and women are often out-casted and questioned of their sexual orientation. We questioned why many people in society feel it is so important to comply with gender roles set in place such a long time ago. We also discussed why gender roles exist in the first place.
After our discussion, a guest speaker named Suzy Alba came in to talk about her role as a woman in leadership. Since college, Suzy has been very involved with many leadership organizations in her community. In college she was the youngest person on a board to donate money to non-profit organizations. After college, Suzy joined AmeriCorps and helped young students to take charge of their own communities. Suzy is currently running for a place on her city council. While speaking, Suzy emphasized the importance of networking. A successful leader must have connections. Suzy also spoke about the importance of stepping beyond one’s comfort zone and doing something that is truly meaningful to oneself. A leader cannot be successful if they are not passionate about what they are doing. Having the opportunity to speak with a real woman in leadership was absolutely amazing.
After lunch, another guest speaker came in to talk to us about her own action plan. This girl had been part of the Women and Leadership program last year and walked us through the steps to creating a successful action plan. Like Suzy, she spoke of the importance of being passionate about what you plan to change in your community. Last year, she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her action plan but knew she was interested in stopping sex trafficking. She decided to make that her action plan and is now developing a class in a center in South Providence. This class will be a place where young girls are educated on how to be independent. They can also come in for support and advice. It was incredibly helpful to see how to successfully create and implement an action plan into a community. After hearing this girl's advice, I now feel much more prepared to work on my action plan.