Des Moines Register 03-25-06 Leading, in an unequal world

Des Moines Register
Leading, in an unequal world
Much progress has been made toward achieving the goal of equality for women,
but obstacles remain, according to some of the women leading student
governments at Iowa’s universities. The Register asked them their views on
whether equality has been achieved and, if not, what they believe their
generation should do to achieve that goal.
Lead with heart and integrity
Equality has been reached in some aspects of society, but there is much room
for improvement. Women are offered many more opportunities in athletics,
employment and education, but there are still huge challenges that face our
future. Salary differences, stigmas about capabilities, and “traditional” roles in
society will all continue to affect women.
So how does our generation pursue the goal of equality for women?
First, we need to pursue equality with the integrity and values that the women’s
rights movement was based on. The movement was based on intelligence,
respect and civic responsibility, and those are all values that must remain
Second, women cannot be afraid to lead with heart and integrity. By taking on
leadership positions within our communities, and being strong, smart, and
successful within that position, women will continue to make strides toward
Emily Jensen, Ankeny, president-elect, Government of the Student Body, Iowa
State University
Confidently break stereotypes
From my perspective as a student leader, equality for women has not yet been
On the surface it appears that we are constantly moving toward equity in
opportunities for men and women. Yet upon closer examination, one can see the
disparity that still exists in areas such as salary, the number of female business
executives and the percentages of female legislators and tenure-track faculty.
However, the general perceptions and stereotypes that still surround women are
the most disheartening. To illustrate: A year ago, I spoke to a community group
about my experiences and future goals, which include running for governor.
Immediately following the program, I was approached by three separate
individuals who commented, “I would vote for you, but as a woman you would
never be elected”; “Iowa will never have a woman governor”; and “There are so
many great fields for women. Why would you want to get involved in politics?”
Our generation of young women will be challenged to demonstrate to our state,
nation and world that we are capable, confident and equally able to succeed. We
must break the stereotypes that exist and demonstrate that leadership cannot be
defined as a quality of gender.
Angela Groh, Thornton, president, Government of the Student Body
Iowa State University