The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
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Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Editorial: Empowering St. Joe’s Women

On March 16, St. Joe’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) celebrated its 10th annual Professional Development Day, a day-long event dedicated to fostering professional development and growth as prospective women leaders. 

In a world where women are expected to naturally know how to navigate a workplace historically formed around their exclusion, it is important that gender-inclusive professional development events are hosted. These events allow women to equip themselves with skills pivotal to succeeding in professional settings. 

Because such settings were never originally intended for women to be included, women have historically not been given spaces to ask questions regarding professionalism due to the underlying assumption that they should be grateful for a role in the professional world altogether. Events like Professional Development Day are vital as they allow women students to explore topics they often lack guidance about and are possibly too afraid to ask about. 

The importance of workplace inclusivity was highlighted in the speech given by Cheryl A. McConnell, Ph.D., the first woman president of St. Joe’s, where she discussed her experiences as a woman navigating leadership roles in higher education, as well as the trials and tribulations that came with obtaining such positions. 

In light of McConnell’s speech and Professional Development Day as a whole, the university should continue to promote events dedicated to inclusive and intersectional leadership. In doing this, the university upholds its goal stated on its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website of fostering a community “where voices are heard, opinions are respected and our differences are celebrated and valued.” Any and all historically silenced voices need platforms to speak in an effort to create a more equitable and welcoming world for all, and this can succeed through events like Professional Development Day.  

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