BYU-Hawaii female students said though women have made progress in being able to pursue their career goals, there is still a need to empower them further by listening and providing them opportunities.
“Who doesn’t like to feel empowered?” asked Larissa Hansen, a freshman from Nevada studying to become a nurse. “Being independent makes me feel more confident in myself, like I can do anything if I put my mind to it. However, women worldwide are lacking this experience of being independent.”
Hansen continued, “Culturally, if we look back long ago, women relied on men to provide for them. That was just the way things were. Women couldn’t vote. They didn’t hold political positions and they really only worked in their own home. Over time we have seen women’s growth of influence as light now shines on women’s achievements.
“My purpose is to educate and help shed more light on women throughout. These women show us how to be more independent because no matter the circumstances, women can reach any goal they set for themselves.”
Laiken Tomie, a senior from Canada studying accounting, said, “The biggest way to empower women is to listen to their ideas. Women are often not listened to. We should also encourage them to be what they want to be and do what they want to do.
“I believe it is important to empower women because the world needs their opinions, and it is our job to let women know that they have value and that their contributions are necessary to society.”
Hansen highlighted businesses that champion helping women get a leg up in the business world, “The top 25 companies globally that support empowering women and help women in the workforce succeed are inspiring forces. The leading company is called 37 Angels. It is a business network of 50 women investors whose mission is to focus on the holistic entrepreneurial support for women.
“They pick about eight companies every two months and help build up their company by investing in them to help them prosper. If I personally had a startup company that was in need of just a few investors to help me get to the next step in my business and these women approached me, I would definitely call them angels. The second of the list was Ladies Who Launch. Their sole purpose is to help provide inspiration and advice to women entrepreneurs.
“After reading through the whole list of 25 companies and seeing that their goal is to help women succeed, my favorite one was probably Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women. They have women from over 56 countries benefiting from their program. They go around the world providing women tools and training to help them grow their business or help them with a startup company. As women, we can all come together to help one another grow to our fullest potential with a little encouragement.”
Mariana Goulding, a senior from California studying business management, said when attending the BYUH Great Ideas Campaign on Nov. 16, she learned 40 percent of entrepreneurs are women. “It’s less than 50 percent, but it’s still a pretty big majority and more than I thought, which goes to show that guys have their name more out there.
“I feel we rarely hear about the great ideas of women and what they are really contributing to society. I love women’s day because you can see the accomplishments of what women have done. I feel we have already been taught about men’s accomplishments and their history.”
Hansen discussed how contemporary society still limits women. She said, “Some cultures or religions don’t permit women to go out and work, making money for themselves and providing for their family. If we look up statistics from countries in the Middle East, we will see that in Iran only 12.3 percent of women make up the workforce. In Iraq, only 14 percent of women make up the workforce.
She compared these to America, where she said 57 percent of women over the age of 16 are in the workforce. “If we take these statistics and get to the root of why there is such a large gap, it comes down to the fact that women in other countries are only seen as to work in the home because of cultural and religious reasons. While there’s nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom or a homemaker for a living, having the choice to work is imperative to increase women’s freedom and independence.”
Goulding addressed the importance of encouraging women to enter the workforce. “This doesn’t go against ‘The Family Proclamation,’ because women can still be nurturers and men can still be supporters regardless, with whether they decide to be the breadwinner or at home with their kids. If you believe in human equality, then you are a feminist.”