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Women and Power

A space to be strong

Swarthmore hosted its first Womxn’s Leadership Summit in March where more than 60 members of the College community who identify with the term “womanhood” came together to challenge the notion that success must be male-oriented.

The theme of the conference, “Brave You,” encouraged participants to be vulnerable, courageous, strong, and authentic with one another. Through a wide range of events, including workshops, guest speakers, and art performances, the summit provided diverse spaces for women to feel empowered and supported.

The idea for the summit came from four recent alums: Jasmine Rashid ’18, Meghan Kelly ’18, Niyah Dantzler ’18, and Samira Saunders ’18. While scrolling through Wikipedia’s page on notable Swarthmore College graduates, they noticed that only 22 percent of the listed alumni identified as women.

After that revelation, a team of seven current students worked with various departments to make the summit a reality.

Organizations involved in supporting the summit included the Center for Innovation and Leadership; the Women’s Resource Center; the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development; the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility; the Hormel-Nguyen Intercultural Center; the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; the Black Cultural Center; and the Office of the President.

“The summit was a way to formally celebrate the Swarthmore women community,” said Susan Gonzalez ’19, a neuroscience major from Cambridge, Mass., and one of the organizers of the event. “It offered a space for Swarthmore women to come together and reflect on an individual and community level about what womenhood means, and how they can celebrate their bravery.”