Tips to empower women to create social change

The Women’s Center recently celebrated its 12th year hosting the Women Who Lead Conference, a day-long event designed to enhance the leadership development of female students at FIU.

This year’s conference included a panel discussion as well as a networking luncheon where students had the opportunity to interact with women entrepreneurs, scientists, educators, business leaders and activists.

The exciting day culminated in inspiring words from keynote speaker Tina Tchen, who served as chief of staff to former First Lady Michelle Obama. A passionate champion for women’s issues, Tchen led the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, the first-ever United State of Women Summit and was the executive director of the Council on Women and Girls.

With a jovial laugh, Tchen shared her insights on workforce diversity, encouraging attendees to raise their voices and take action to secure a better tomorrow for women and minorities across the country and the world.

Tchen offered the following tips to create a lasting cultural shift:

Rally for change

Real social change doesn’t happen in Washington, D.C. It happens in peoples’ living rooms, in local schools, on college campuses, in neighborhoods where people from across the community and businesses and social services come together to help improve the lives of others.

Get involved:

The United State of Women is a national organization seeking positive change for women’s causes.

Promote education

There are 98 million adolescent girls who are not in school right now, which means only 12 percent of girls who are eligible to go to secondary school are in school. Educating girls is the key to solving the world’s development problems. Global authorities from UNESCO to the state department, and both parties to the UN, have all said that educating women will bring more peace and security to countries.

Get involved:

Let Girls Learn is an initiative to ensure adolescent girls get the education they deserve.

Support women in crisis

A lot of the progress seen recently in the news about sexual harassment has occurred because of the conviction of individuals who stepped up. The women who have come forth to talk about the harassment they suffered in the workplace deserve support. Women who speak up when they’re attacked tend not to get believed. It’s why so few rape victims come forward. In fact, three out of four people who experience sexual harassment don’t report it.

Get involved:

The Time’s Up movement is raising funds for legal assistance for victims.

Do things differently

Recurring problems like violence against women, sexual harassment and gender stereotyping have been with us through the ages, and it’s going to take a while to combat. But it can be done. To do so, topics like equal pay, fair and transparent promotions and retention policies, career paths that are open to everyone, and flexible work schedules need to be addressed so that a 21st century workplace can be built that meets the needs of our 21st century workforce.

 Get involved:

Civic Nation is a non-profit organization that uses organizing, engagement and public awareness to address some of the nation’s most pressing challenges.

 The Women’s Center at FIU offers an array of programs and services throughout the year to foster intellectual, professional, social and emotional growth to improve the lives of women and men.