IGNITE at UC Davis: empowering the next generation of women leaders
IGNITE at UC Davis empowers women to seek positions of leadership
Everyone’s heard that women earn 79 cents to every dollar a man earns, but it’s not quite that simple. While in many cases, women do earn less than men for doing the same job, the larger problem stems from the fact that occupations often held by men earn more than occupations often held by women.
Men regularly dominate high-paying professions such as doctors, CEOs, engineers, and elected officials whereas women are more visible in the positions of nurses, secretaries, and teachers. This is not because men are better at those jobs than women but because women are systematically discouraged from applying for these positions.
However, that doesn’t stop women from breaking into fields and proving their skills, no matter how challenging that may be.
Last Saturday, IGNITE at UC Davis hosted a panel of accomplished women who have successfully advanced in these male-dominated fields. Their experiences demonstrated the obstacles that are still present today and illustrated the need for more women to become leaders in these fields.
The difference between men and women in these fields is that men choose to run for a leadership positions while women are more often asked, touched Petrea Marchand, Founder of Consero Solutions. Other panelists emphasized the importance of recognizing one’s own intersectional, underrepresented identities as a strength in the face of adversary rather than viewing them as a weakness.
IGNITE, a student organization connected to a national network, encourages women to seek political power and leadership roles. The nonpartisan, gender inclusive club strives to bring Intersectionality into the realm of political leadership through workshops, presentations, and networking events such as the panel this Saturday.
“I see a need for more women in politics, who are currently vastly underrepresented,” said Shelina Noorali, President and Founder of IGNITE at UC Davis, “One reason for this is because not enough women are asked to run for office. Organizations like IGNITE are very important — to make women realize that they can and should run for public office.”
One of the events that IGNITE was able to attend this year was the IGNITE California Young Women’s Political Leadership Conference in San Francisco. Members attended panels and presentations around a variety of topics including women’s health, sex trafficking, transportation and urban development, and the cross sections of gender, race, and politics. The keynote speaker was California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the second female Chief Justice of California.
“IGNITE is an important organization because it fosters the development of leadership skills, which each member possesses,” enthused Vannalee Cayabyab, freshman Political Science major, “Members are able to network with successful and accomplished women in their fields of interest and thus, are able to find their role model, which is important to one’s development towards becoming a civically active leader.”
“I have never felt so comfortable and welcomed in an organization before,” shared Nangha Cuadros, a sophomore studying History and Political Science. “I was surprised by how soon IGNITE became my own space and community.”
IGNITE’s main mission is to encourage women to seek out leadership opportunities, despite societal expectations that men are “better suited” for those roles. By setting example and demonstrating the experiences of women who are currently working for equal representation in male-dominated fields, IGNITE hopes to inspire the future generation to pursue their passions without barriers.