March is Women’s History Month and departments and student organizations around Emporia State’s campus have been hosting and announcing upcoming events that are focused on empowering women.
Associated Student Government (ASG) and the Honors College have been working since summer 2021 to launch the Breaking Barriers Conference in honor of Women’s History month and to provide more opportunities for women on campus to grow in leadership.
The conference will be held on March 26 and is going to be a full-day event and lunch will be provided. Most of the presenters are women who had or have a leadership position in the community.
“All of them are alumni, women who are in leading positions, like in the community and businesses,” said Lauren Moon, junior biology education major and vice president of ASG. “Those are the main people who will be presenting during different workshops throughout the day.”
Lucy Steyer, a senior political science major and president of ASG, had the idea of creating the event when she had a conversation with Victoria Goetzinger who was vice president of ASG during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Goetzinger had told Steyer about a woman’s conference she attended in her graduate school at Clemson University in South Carolina, and this motivated Steyer to start a similar project at ESU.
“Despite record-breaking numbers of women elected to public office in 2018 and increasing public attention around gender equality in Hollywood, women remain underrepresented in senior leadership roles across industries,” according to the report Barriers & Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership of the American Association of University Women.
“There's a large amount of women here,” Steyer said. “And I was just hoping to find some ways to encourage them here to pursue leadership positions once they graduate.”
Steyer worked alongside Moon to start planning what the event was going to look like. They wanted to have a co-host, so they reached out to Khushi Ghanchi who is president of the Honors College.
Finally, in August 2021 they had their committee set up for the event.
“We know that we wanted to do a lot with diversity and inclusion and equity through the year,” Moon said. “We started talking about it over summer, having something that really highlighted women and women in leadership.”