Club Spotlight: Women’s Leadership Initiative

Hello from the Women’s Leadership Initiative! We are a John Cabot University club that believes in intersectional feminism, gender equality, and the empowerment of women. We welcome anyone and everyone in the JCU community to join.

WLI aims to bring to light the challenges that women worldwide face today, and we also actively discuss potential solutions to these problems, especially ones that can be implemented on campus. Although many believe that gender inequality is no longer an issue in most western countries, WLI emphasizes that there are many obstacles to real equality that have not yet been reached (even in the west).

This sentiment applies especially to issues relating to women of color, non-heterosexual women, and trans women, but it also applies to women more generally. For example, we discuss the prevalence of violence against women, the glass ceiling, and the lack of significant role models. That being said, there are also many issues impacting men, such as toxic masculinity. The Women’s Leadership Initiative talks about all of these issues and more – no topic is unimportant!

There are many misconceptions about what WLI stands for, and a large part of this has to do with the parallel misconceptions that exist about feminism. For example, some students believe that the club is exclusively for women and that men cannot participate. The same thought is often applied to feminism: why would men have any part in it? On the contrary, WLI strongly believes that men can and should participate in both the club and in feminism. The topics we discuss require participation from all ends of the spectrum, including gender! Over the past few semesters, we have been really trying to move beyond this misconception.

The Women’s Leadership Initiative currently has biweekly lunch meetings, and we cover a wide spectrum of topics. For example, over the past year we have spoken about the “genderization” of food products, the masculine aspects of school shootings, and the discriminatory housing policies across the U.S. (which have extremely negative impacts on black women). We also worked very hard this semester to plan JCU’s International Women’s Week 2019. We sincerely hope that the JCU student body, staff, and faculty enjoyed the various events throughout the week!

We from WLI hope to present opportunities for all JCU students to discuss crucial issues, participate in empowering events, and develop an awareness about the need for equality in all aspects of society. Over the past few years since our founding, the WLI team has beautifully and powerfully flourished, and we hope that you can be a part of it!

Maggie Vlaj
Vice President of Women’s Leadership Initiative
International Affairs major, Humanistic Studies minor
Class of 2019
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Student Spotlight