Tuesday, 10 June 2014

T.L.C. Day 4 - Women's Issues with Chelsea Clinton

As day 4 of the conference began, Chelsea Clinton stepped on the stage and gave us a brief introduction of the the No Ceilings/Full Participation Program and discussed some statistics regarding the inequality of women in the United States. 

She highlighted
  • the need for more policy discussions and for structural changes to take place to break down the barriers for women in the workplace.
  • the cognitive dissonance between generations and that young women may not see the gender-based barriers as easily as their mothers did

Ted Koppel then began to interview Chelsea on several issues and students and other attendees in the audience were given the opportunity to ask questions or give their own opinion on certain matters. 

Some interesting answers popped up:-
  • the needs to identify what stems the interest of young girls in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) - possibly related to the later years of middle school where a large drop in the performance of girls in those subjects happen which causes them not to choose those subjects in high school
  • equal participation in child-rearing is important for both the marriage and the child's psycho-social development
  • Feminism is THE ABILITY FOR A WOMAN TO MAKE HER OWN CHOICES - may it be to work or to be a stay-at-home mother (for example). Both choices are equal examples of feminism
  • Double standards of being judged will always occur, but pushing the boundaries gradually will cause change

We then proceeded to take a photograph with Chelsea herself (which I know is not actually present in the photograph, as this picture was taken seconds before she came into the photograph). However, if we do receive the photograph from the official photographer from the event, I'll put it up here. But, for now, this is the best I've got.

We proceeded to our breakout sessions to discuss the points that Chelsea mentioned in her talk earlier and we discussed the different levels of sexual harassment in everyday life and analysed them based on gender differences. Also, we mentioned how culture may determine what is deemed as normal or too far. 

It was a really relaxed and interesting discussion as the mentors were very open, down-to-earth and even shared their own experiences in college years ago. The differences in then and now, when it came to women's rights and how it has definitely improved, but the drop in female participation rates in S.T.E.M. related courses.

A point was made that women are saving the world, may it be through introducing new aspects in the work force, or raising the leaders of tomorrow from her own home.

(From left)
Jeff Greenfield, legendary reporter on CBS News and more who won 3 Emmy Awards (who facilitated our discussion amazingly), moi, and Nobel Prize winners, Sheldon Glashow and Rich Roberts.

(From left)
A few of us students with some of the ethics essay winners, 
Zohar Atkins, Sarah Ransahoff, Fatimah Alaya, Magogodi Makhene, Herbert Innocent, myself, Ciara Maguire

Today was definitely my favourite day of the conference so far because both Chelsea Clinton's speech and the breakout sessions were absolutely phenomenal. I guess having personal interest and talented facilitators added to the enjoyment of it all.

Can't wait for tomorrow's Gala Dinner!

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