‘Women in Business’ Sparks Curiosity
By Tania MacWilliam
Feb. 2, 2012
*Originally published in The Sheridan Sun Online
Hazel McCallion Campus’s Women in Business club had an unexpected turnout at their first meeting on Jan. 25.
Of the approximately 17 attendees, eight were men.
While the Women in Business club is open to both men and women, it is intended to support women’s issues in the business world.
The founder of the club knew there was a possibility that men would participate, but she wasn’t expecting that nearly half of the people would be men.
“I was really surprised and happy at the same time,” said Stephanie Kam, VP of the Women in Business club. “We had about a 60:40 ratio of women to men turn out.”
Male attendee Faraz Ahmadpour shared that his reason for attending the meeting was out of curiosity.
“I’ve never been to any club like this so I wanted to see what it was all about,” he said. “Sometimes I hear from other people that clubs about this subject tend to be biased. So I wanted to see if that’s actually true or not. But they actually had a lot of discussions on reverse bias being towards men which was interesting.”
The group discussed topics relevant to both male and female attendees: parental leave, sexual harassment and reverse discrimination.
Members agree that having the club open to men is important in the quest for equality.
“I don’t want there to be discrimination on any front,” said Telma Lima, VP internal for the club.
She hopes to be the club’s voice of balance, recognizing that membership consists of both men and women, each facing unique gender-related challenges.
“Then you resolve conflicts from both genders’ point of view,” said Ahmadpour. “That’s when I believe you can actually have meaningful progress.”
Melissa-Anne Lackan, VP external for the Women in Business club, wants to help prepare teen girls for the workplace and the workplace for teen girls, so they don’t have to face the same discrimination she has.
“I want to help deliver a message, help talk about the issues and keep it on the [forefront] of everyone’s minds,” she said.
The club is meant to connect women who are interested in the business world and in expanding their social network. It will also provide support to women facing gender discrimination.
“I wanted to start this club because I wanted to bring awareness to issues that many women face in the business industry such as gender discrimination, the glass ceiling, the glass cliff,” said Kam during introductions.
In addition, Kam, who is also a member of HMC’s board of directors, hopes to create a community where women can create professional networks that can be accessed once they are ready to enter the workforce.
The group meets monthly with the next meeting scheduled for reading week. On the agenda will be an off-campus trip to catch a Toronto theatre production.
The March meeting will welcome a career panel with industry speakers featuring women from various business industries. They will share their personal stories about a variety of workplace issues and will participate in a question and answer period.
“It brings women out from the industry to allow students to meet women that are successful already and have senior management positions,” said Kam.
The hope is for attendees to establish a mentorship with successful women, she added.
Sheridan offers its students clubs of all kinds, with topics ranging from anime to philosophy.
“It really adds to a school when you have clubs with purpose,” said Jennifer Chapman, faculty advisor for the club.
Chapman is showing her support by leading the group in a yoga session for the final meeting of the semester. The goal is to provide a relaxing environment during exam time.
If you are interested in joining the club, or want additional information, check them out on Sheridan’s own social network, The Wire.