Rise to the Top: Women in Leadership

Disa Woodland, Copy Desk Chief~

On Oct. 4, the sisters of Lynchburg College’s chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority hosted a Women in Leadership panel in Sydnor Auditorium. The panel included several very successful female faculty members. The panelists were director of residence life, Kristen Cooper; Dr. Sabita Manian, professor of international relations and political science; vice president for enrollment management, Rita Detwiler and Dr. Oeida Hatcher, associate professor of music and dean of the school of communication and the arts. The panel was hosted by Dr. Sally Selden, the vice president and dean for academics, as well as a professor of business management.

female power

Illustration by Genevieve Griffin

Several members of the panel shared that they are first-generation college attendees. They all shared stories of adversity that helped to shape them into the women they are today. While the panel recognized that today women have more opportunities and are given much more freedom, there is still a huge deficit in the representation of women in business and higher education. Dr. Selden shared statistics about the current trend of women in the workforce, which included a less than 13 percent representation in world parliaments, less than 15 percent in the upper echelons of corporate businesses and less than 20 percent in the nonprofit sector of women in CEO and CEO-like positions.

Dr. Selden said, “we know there is a problem with women reaching the top.” Her statistics back up this claim.

One of the larger takeaways of the night included Dr. Manian’s definition of feminism“a feminist means equal rights. Equal rights for women and men. Equity for women and men,”. Before hearing Dr. Manian’s definition, Dr. Hatcher and Mrs. Detwiler were among those who would not necessarily consider themselves feminists (by the negative connotations that surround the word), but they revised their stance by Dr. Manian’s definition.

After the panel discussion ended, there were refreshments served and an opportunity for the attendees to talk with the speakers and discuss the panel. Senior nursing major, Audrey Bachman said of the panel discussion, “It was really great that it [the panel] was women from multiple disciplines on campus.” The broad representation was compelling evidence for the success of women in leadership positions.