Women in Leadership club strives to minimize gender gap

Academic Unit by Sex Graphic

Sydney Sullivan, News Contributor

Club started in College of Business, plans to hold meetings for community

As of 2015, more than 9.4 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.5 trillion in sales. Yet globally, the proportion of senior business roles held by women stands at 24 percent. 

Lily Beck, a business student at Oregon State University and president of the new Women in Leadership club out of the College of Business, is striving to fix the gap between men and women in the workplace. 

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“Women can face inequality in many ways in the workplace. It could be anything from a pay gap to not being offered the same opportunities after coming back from maternity leave,” Beck said. “Whatever it may be, there was a market that wasn’t being satisfied as far as what was offered at OSU to help women prepare for facing those inequalities.” 

Beck said the main goal of the club is professional development for women. In focusing on this goal, the hope is that it will lead to more women having confidence when going into their professional careers. 

“We want there to be a sense of community in the club so that when members graduate, they can come back and look at what the club did for them in the professional world. We also have a goal of ultimately being the largest club on campus,” Beck said.

Hannah Triplett, a second year business management student, is the vice president for Women in Leadership. Triplett has been working with Beck throughout the start of the club with defining goals and creating their mission statement. 

“The club has started within the College of Business for a few reasons. Primarily, the initiative of improving gender equality and empowering women in leadership positions started with the Susan J. McGregor Foundation, which supports growth in these areas in the College of Business,” Triplett said in an email. “In the business world, there has been a long history of discrimination towards women due to stereotypes and the ‘good ol’ boys’ mentality that supports private networking of only male professionals.”

The organization is planning to hold meetings which support a combination of education and experience by bringing in speakers who interact with their audience, Triplett said. This will make what could be a strict lecture into a more intimate workshop experience. These workshops are intended to foster learning and help build confidence.

“With the title of our club being Women in Leadership, it could be easy to assume that this club is strictly catered towards educating women,” Triplett said in an email. “However, in order to bring equality between genders, it is important for us to educate both males and females.”

The hope is to expand the club by reaching out to other colleges within the university to provide a place for students, staff and faculty to learn about women in leadership and eliminate gender inequality, Triplett said. 

Sandy Neubaum, faculty adviser for the Women in Leadership club and director of Student Engagement at OSU, said the broader mission of the club is to advance women in leadership roles across the university and their chosen careers. This is why the club is open to students of all majors. 

“I would like our women students to know they can be the architects of their own life’s story,” Neubaum said in an email. “One of my favorite quotes is ‘she designed a life she loved,’ I very much want our members to feel empowered to do just this.”

Beck said Neubaum came to her with the idea of starting the club. From then, the club has come to fruition and those involved hope that it provides a welcoming community.

“Even if they aren’t extremely active members, we want people to feel supported. We hope to create an environment where anyone can come, feel heard, and get resources to strengthen their confidence and develop their skills,” Beck said. “We will do our best to support each member in every way we can.”