One of the things that stood out to me the most in my first couple of weeks at LSE was how many organisations, societies and events were geared towards supporting and providing a platform for women and talking about the issues that they face in the world.
At the university where I completed my undergrad, this wasn’t the case. I don’t mean to criticise the institution because I had a wonderful time as a student and, I have to confess, I didn’t really notice it at the time. However, coming to LSE, my experience couldn’t have been more different. At the Freshers fair, societies such as the Women Leaders of Tomorrow and Women in Business spoke to students about the ways in which the cultivate talent in students and provide them with numerous opportunities to network, engage in workshops, or listen to inspiring women talk about their experiences in the workplace. To be honest, I’m sure a lot of universities have societies of this sort but I definitely think there needs to be more of them. LSE, being such a career-driven university, clearly acknowledges the desires and also the challenges for women entering the professional world and aims to facilitate their interaction with like-minded women and listen to the words of those before them.
During my first term, I have managed to become part of Women Leaders of Tomorrow’s PR team, helping manage their Social Media accounts and am also currently doing an internship with the Womanity Foundation, which aims to empower women and girls around the world. The particular programme that I’m working on involves conducting research into several organisations that use technology as a tool to protect women from gender-based violence. This has not only been a major learning curve for me but the whole experience in general has been extremely rewarding.
I am well aware that I wouldn’t have had these opportunities had I not been at LSE. But that’s the one thing that LSE is fantastic at: giving people the opportunities, both during their time there and afterwards, to do things that no other institution can, or does. Even if you’re not directly involved with a society or organisation, there are so many ways to engage with a cause that you feel passionate about, which, in my case, is female empowerment and gender equality. For example, at the POLIS talks conducted by the Media and Communications department, we were lucky enough to have Laura Bates, the courageous woman behind the everyday sexism project, come in and give an inspiring speech on her work. I have been to events such as the ‘Women in Journalism’ event hosted by The Beaver, where five women from all sorts of media backgrounds spoke about their work and their experiences, giving out advice to aspiring writers and film makers. There was also the LSESU’s Women Leaders Conference. And not to mention the Women’s Interfaith and BME Women’s Networking Panel. These are probably not even close to all of the events that have happened at LSE regarding women specifically, but they are the ones that I have been fortunate enough to attend.
Women’s voices are heard. I’m so proud to be part of an institution that values women and am so grateful for all of the opportunities it has afforded me. I sincerely hope that more universities will follow in LSE’s path to progress; encouraging all of their students, both male and female, to reach their full potential and providing them with the resources to do so.