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New club raises awareness about women’s issues in business world

Contributing Writing

Published: Friday, December 6, 2013

Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 01:12

Women in Business, a new club started this semester, hopes to educate women and the larger university community on the issues that affect women in the business world through seminars, workshops and panels. Senior Sarah Daigle founded the club this fall, which has grown in membership to 45 women. 

Daigle, a marketing major, was inspired to start the club after reading “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer.

“I wanted to start an organization that builds on [Sandberg’s] principles,” Daigle said. “[Sandberg’s book] is all about encouraging women to lean in. If you want to stay in your career and not worry too much about all the other outside pressures that are telling you not to lean into your career, ignore those and do what you want to do.” 

According to Daigle, the club is popular among women in business majors.

“Many members mentioned that there was no outlet that just focused on women in the business school,” Daigle said. “Women in Business provides a welcoming environment for women and our conversations are relatable to classwork. My goal is to create a friendly environment in which the women in the group can learn about issues that affect women in the business world.”

Daigle emphasized the environment the club provides.

“Some activities, such as team-building workshops and developing presentation skills, are difficult to do in the classroom,” Daigle said. “They can be easier managed in a small, supportive environment.” 

So far this semester, the club has held sessions with four female guest speakers and also had a small business owner panel in which the club members learned about the struggles and advantages of starting a business. The guest speakers have included a sought-after Boston wedding planner, an IBM employee and a UNH professor.

“I hope that the speakers serve as a source of inspiration for the club members,” Daigle said.

All the guest speakers have highlighted the unique struggles professional women face.

 “What’s been important to all the guest speakers is how do you maintain that balance between being the perfect mother, wife and employee?” Daigle said. “We’ve talked a lot about that. How do you stay psychologically calm while trying to do a million things at once?”

Daigle attributes this battle to societal conventions.

“We still expect the mom to go home and make dinner and take care of the children,” Daigle said.

She even witnessed this assumption first-hand at a dinner party.

“There was a couple [at the party] with two kids,” Daigle said. “The father is a stay-at-home dad and the mother is a successful accountant and the people at the dinner party were talking about how the wife is such a terrible mom because she doesn’t cook dinner for her children.”

For Daigle, the university’s business school has had a significant impact on her career plans.

“The business school has really taught me a lot about who I am and I give them a lot of credit for it,” Daigle said. “The marketing department, including the faculty, has really inspired me.” 

Daigle hopes that Women in Business will provide the same opportunity to other women in the business school.

“I want [club members] to be inspired and feel like it’s possible whatever they want to achieve,” Daigle said. “I want [Women in Business] to be a place where women can go and say, ‘I can do whatever I put my mind to.’”

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