Event focused on building better communities for everyone
By Tania Arora, Staff Reporter
This conference sought to motivate people affected by sexism in the workplace.
In partnership with the City of New Westminster, Marcon, and Soroptimist International, Douglas College organized a day-long event on November 22 that focused on inspiring people to pursue their dream careers.
The Gender Equality Conference: Overcoming Biases in the Workplace event involved women from different parts of society coming together to share their stories in hopes of inspiring others. The event was hosted at the Anvil Centre and ran from 8 am to 2:45 pm. Food was included with the ticket cost.
Soroptimist International, one of the partners of the event, is a global volunteer organization with the goal of empowering women to pursue their dreams. They emphasize providing resources that allow women to be better educated.
Anushka Basantani, an international student at Douglas, shared her experience of taking a loan to study, leaving home and flying thousands of miles to a different country, living there alone, working two jobs, and managing her home and everything by herself. She said in an interview with the Other Press that education is crucial for women to advance themselves.
“The journey has been long, [I] won’t say difficult, but it definitely was adventurous,” she said. “I [graduated in] India, but all that I have learned in my life sums up in one word to education. Whatever you do, wherever you are, whomsoever you are with, your confidence and education will always be with you and help you. And today, it is most important for women.”
Empowerment to Soroptimist International means allowing people take care of basic necessities that can prevent a person from pursing their goals: well-being, finances, health, family, confidence, and work.
According to Soroptimist International’s website, economic empowerment for women gives them a measure of control over their finances and, as a result, over the important decisions governing their lives and the lives of their families.
“When women and girls are empowered, they have a personal sense of autonomy, self-confidence, and the power to control their private and public lives. We focus on access to education because we believe it’s the most effective way toward empowerment,” reads the website.
In addition to motivating women, the Douglas College event also highlighted gender biases many people face at the workplace. The topics covered at the conference included work opportunities, how to set up goals and accomplish them, overcoming the difficulties faced at the workplace, and not letting any failure hold you back. The speakers included a range of politicians, local businesspeople, and members of Soroptimist International.