CWU organizations support women’s success


Joshua Kornfeld, Staff Reporter

Women in the U.S. represent about 55.2% of the labor force while men represent 66.4%, showing a gap of 11.2 percentage points according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). The gap widens globally, where women represent 47% of the labor force while men represent 72% according to the ILO

The gender pay gap was reported as a key issue by 4 in 10 women at work when asked about barriers faced by The Thomas Reuters Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation, according to The Atlantic.

CWU is home to multiple organizations that support women, including Women in Business (WIB) and Her Campus, who serve to combat gender inequality and give women a voice in male-dominated fields.

Women in Business (WIB)

One such club, WIB, is centered around a mission, “To empower women, and to give them … experience that they need to succeed in the workforce,” according to senior in graphic design and marketing management and WIB member Leila Haji.

Women joining the workforce face hidden barriers their male counterparts don’t have to deal with, such as balancing work and family life. 

“Though professors are preparing us for the world, not a lot of them know what it’s like from a female perspective,” Haji said. 

Haji said one misconception is that men may traditionally think women can’t do the same jobs as men, and the experiences they have aren’t necessarily the same. 

“It’s mainly male professors that talk about a lot of good experiences,” Haji said. “While my female professors don’t really talk about it as much, it’s likely because they didn’t have as many positive experiences as male professors have.”

Shanley Olson, an undeclared freshman, also joined the WIB club in October 2021. 

“We learn about business and get to ask guest speakers questions and connect with them, which is a really important part of being in college,” Olson said. 

Olson said that one major barrier women joining the workforce may face is the misconception that women can’t be successful in business like their male counterparts. 

 “A lot of men think women should be working in the kitchen,” Olson said. 

Haji said the WIB club has a wide variety of events in person, such as in-person team building events.  

Haji said one way the club supports breaking down barriers is by sharing resources with members. Resources are frequently shared on their Instagram with tabs for tips such as change your mindset and five steps for managing conflict among others. 

“Our last event on May 10th was a debate on salads vs. sandwiches. We also have business development meetings on Zoom, where speakers come talk to us about various topics,” Haji said. 

The club offers weekly meetings at 7 p.m., alternating between in-person in SURC 301 and virtual meetings held on Zoom every other week. Haji said this allows members at other satellite campuses to be able to participate in the club, something that they may not have been able to do before. 

The club has 30 total members, with 15 active members attending professional development meetings. 

In order to learn more about the club and get involved, Haji said students can visit the club’s Instagram page @cwu.wib for updates on events. 

Her Campus

Photo Courtesy of Kat White

Another women-focused club, Her Campus CWU, is a chapter of a national online magazine that supports collegiate women. 

Her Campus was founded by three Harvard students: Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, Annie Wang and Windsor Hanger. The aim of the publication is to be the number one media portfolio for college women, and is 100% woman-owned and operated, according to hercampusmedia.  

Her Campus CWU is in its sixth year and has 18 members. The club aims to provide members full artistic freedom to amplify collegiate women’s voices.  

Gracen Bayer, club senator and a sophomore in film production, attends Inter Club Association meetings and ensures the club meets requirements such as club engagement and volunteer hours. Next year, Bayer will become the club’s vice president. 

“The mission of the club is to make sure that women have a voice in subjects where maybe their opinions are overlooked. In our club, we have women write about whatever they want,” Bayer said. “Ranging from politics to fashion, we provide a platform to amplify women’s voices on all topics.”

Her Campus meets every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in SURC 201. Members pitch ideas they would be interested in writing about. Each member writes four articles every quarter.   

Bayer said that traditionally, the media has been dominated by men and has not provided equal opportunity to listen to women’s viewpoints as their male counterparts have had. 

“I hope that we can create a safe and comforting environment where women and non-binary members can find solace,” Bayer said. “I hope that the impact our club has, is to provide a community and a place where people at CWU can feel celebrated, appreciated and safe.”

Students can stay connected with Her Campus on Instagram @hercampuscwu.