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About the Women's Leadership Summit

"Your job, when you leave here - as it was the job of educated women before you - is to change the world." Alice Walker


Women Empowered! Theme

The theme for the first-annual CSUSM Women's Leadership Summit is Women Empowered! This theme was chosen to underscore the fundamental importance of women being empowered to step up into leadership positions. Although women now make up over 50% of undergraduate students, women remain vastly underrepresented in leadership positions across all sectors. For example, only 4% of top-earning officers in Fortune 500 companies are women, and women make up only approximately 17% of Representative in Congress. These are only two examples of the disparities in leadership women face.

While education is an important factor in women stepping into leadership positions, education alone is not enough. Research has demonstrated the persistent patterns that create barriers to women's access to leadership positions, such as gender stereotypes, inadequate access to mentors, and a variety of sociological factors that result in women down-playing their own intelligence and leadership potential. To put it plainly, girls and women's socialization teaches us to be quiet, not make waves, and be more concerned with how much people like us than being a leader. While boys are essentially trained in leadership from an early age, girls upbringing often acts as a barrier to leadership.

We believe women have the intelligence and the potential to be leaders at CSUSM and beyond. What women need is encouragement, confidence, authentic voice and vision; what women need is empowerment.


Objectives of the WLS

  1. Encourage participants to continue their scholarship and strive for leadership positions across all sectors.
  2. Create a community of female leaders and mentors across CSUSM.
  3. Ground participants in feminist and social change leadership praxis.
  4. Empower participants to see themselves as effective change agents/leaders. 


Learning Outcomes

Through participation in the Women’s Leadership Summit, students will:

  1. Have increased confidence in participating in formal leadership positions.
  2. Hold a deeper understanding of how their race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, and ability influence their perception of themselves and others as leaders.
  3. Be able to articulate their values and ethics
  4. Understand feminist and social change leadership models.
  5. Develop a community of mentors and peer leaders across CSUSM.