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UNF Women’s Center holds a panel discussing women in leadership positions

Johnakeshia Thompson

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Graphic by Sam Chaney

Three women from three different backgrounds addressed issues that women face in the workplace at the Women’s Center panel Tuesday, Sept. 18. This event was organized by Joanna Young. The panelists were asked a series of questions that addressed stereotypes, personal victories and personal struggles.

Serving on the panel was Alexandra Schonning, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, Anna Parker, a human resource director at Ally Bank, and Joann Campbell, an associate vice president and Chief Compliance Officer.

Many women have dealt with some type of discrimination, stereotyping and personal growth in the workplace. Women who have strong leadership skills can sometimes come off strong, thus receiving ill-worded remarks.

“She is like a bull in a China shop,” Parker said, providing an example.

However, a woman can be a strong leader without being described in a derogatory way.

“‘Bitchy’ isn’t something you would say about a man because he is assertive,” Schonning said.

It can be difficult for women to connect with men because of personal views, stereotypes and biased treatment. The panelists stated they believe that a connection point can be found and, as a woman, it’s important to find a way to connect with everyone, including men.

Stereotypes can be debunked by doing research and properly correcting an individual and, according to Schonning, stereotypes must be debunked in children at a young age. The thought of a girl not being able to do something because it’s a “boy game” or “boy toy” must be changed.

Women voices can sometimes go unheard. Because of that, it’s extremely important for women to support women.

“Support is making sure what someone said is being heard,” Campbell said.

Women face many issues, and their personal background is what helps them be able to the endure difficult issues and circumstances they face. It’s important for women to debunk everything that doesn’t properly describe them.

“Don’t think that something happens because you’re a woman,”  Schonning said.


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UNF Women’s Center holds a panel discussing women in leadership positions