We are three weeks into the new year and I am feeling empowered.
Not only am I finally learning what all the buttons on my camera do – thanks to my digital photography class – I am also surrounded by an all-female editorial staff at the Dixie Sun News for the first time since being hired three semesters ago.
Each week I get to problem solve, have lengthy discussions and work hard alongside these wonderful women. They build me up and motivate me each and every day in ways I am sure they are oblivious to.
This experience has brought me increased confidence as well as a greater appreciation for the education my female staff members and I are able to receive.
Women were mainly prohibited and discouraged from pursuing higher education until the late 1970s. Now, though, there are more women attending higher education institutions than men.
As Michelle Obama said: “The ability to read, write, and analyze; the confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality; the qualifications and connections to get your foot in that door and take your seat at that table – all of that starts with education.”
There is, however, currently a disparity between giving women education and allowing them to get a foot in the door – especially in politics, and even more so in Utah.
In fact, in 2019, women only made up 28.9% of state legislators nationwide. In Utah, female legislators account for 25 out of the 104 legislative members (just 24%).
Therefore, there is a missing link between providing women with education and equipping them with the confidence, certainty and drive to make a difference.
One of the main reasons for the lack of these career-making characteristics is imposter syndrome: feeling like you are a fraud who doesn’t deserve your accomplishment, promotion or place in society.
While imposter syndrome affects both men and women, women tend to give in to the feelings more than men. The Telegraph reported that 60% of women feel imposter syndrome, 28% of women stopped speaking in a meeting because of it, and 26% failed to change career or role.
It is time we start equipping women with the skills and confidence they need to make a difference. Giving them opportunities to cultivate their leadership skills, encouraging them to apply for difficult positions and — most importantly — treating them as an equal partner with just as much potential to succeed.
60% of women feel imposter syndrome, 28% of women stopped speaking in a meeting because of it, and 26% failed to change career or role.The Telegraph
Because of my opportunity at the Dixie Sun News and having mentors who have empowered and encouraged me, my goals have no limit. Running for a city office, pursing graduate school and continuing with a career in media are all things I can see on my horizon.
I also hope to give others the same sense of confidence I have been lucky enough to obtain — to lift up, to inspire and to instill the concept that they are good enough.
So, to the women of Dixie State University: Make your resolution to be loud; to take up space; to be honest, upfront and unapologetically yourself.
As Harriet Martineau said, “Women, like men, must be educated with a view to action, or their studies cannot be called education.”