A disparity in leadership and wages between genders has fueled the establishment of centers that recognize women.
Within the last month, Carlow University in Pittsburgh and the U.S. House of Representatives both announced plans to open institutions that commend the accomplishments and leadership of women. Such institutions aim to address leadership inequalities between the genders, such as the low numbers of women in U.S. government.
Women make up 18.3 percent of Congress and 20 percent of the Senate, according to last year’s Congressional Research Service Report. Additionally, the report said 32 women have been elected state governor in U.S. history.
Carlow’s plans for an Institute for Women’s Leadership and Empowerment on Carlow’s campus localize the national concern for the differing power dynamics between genders. University President Suzanne Mellon announced plans for campus during her inaugural address last month.
“The Institute will help empower women — at all levels — who will use their voices to advocate for inclusiveness, justice, and democratized decision-making in their lives and in the lives of others,” Mellon said in an address on April 5.
Activities at the Women’s Leadership Institute are slated to begin with Carlow’s fall class schedule.
Drew Wilson, Carlow’s media relations director, said that concrete plans for the leadership institute are “still being worked out” and that the university has plans to make an announcement soon with more details, such as the institute’s location.
Wilson quoted Mellon’s speech when he said that the construction of the leadership institute aims to “address the social disparities of women.”
For Eleanora Kaloyeropoulou, incoming president of Pitt’s Campus Women’s Organization, the disparities between men and women in government can be attributed to more than a lack of female confidence.
“It’s not because there’s not women who can do it,” Kaloyeropoulou,a junior Africana studies and history major, said. “It comes down to women being discouraged from it. Women are told not to take the extra step.”
The celebration of underrepresented and marginalized groups, Kaloyeropoulou said, is correlated with the improvement of their leadership skills. When Carlow’s institute opens, Kaloyeropoulou said she plans to attend events and work with representatives there.
Recognition of women’s work and achievements will be celebrated at the national level as well.
The U.S. House of Representatives announced a decision last Wednesday to fund the construction of a National Women’s History Museum in Washington D.C.
The National Women’s History Museum currently exists entirely online, but will soon occupy a physical space on the National Mall. Joan Wages, president and CEO of the Women’s National History Museum, said in a press release that the museum will “ensure the contributions American women have made to this great nation will become a part of our national narrative.”
“We are delighted with the results of today’s vote! Women represent 51 percent of our nation’s population, but account for only 1 in 10 figures represented in U.S. history textbooks and only 13 of the more than 200 statues in the Capitol,” she said. “Clearly, Americans only know half of our history.”
The plans for a Washington, D.C., museum for women are also important to Kaloyeropoulou.