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Womxn of color take action to fund opportunity to attend Wonder Women Tech Conference in D.C.

Womxn of color from Western’s College of Business and Economics are rasing money to attend a conference in Washington D.C. // Photo courtesy of collective womxn of color

By Erikah Guillen

A collective of womxn of color from the College of Business and Economics at Western have come together to raise money for a business conference in Washington D.C. from April 30 to May 1. Womxn is an intersectional term used to promote inclusivity of all women, including women of color and trans women.

The collective have so far raised $7,685 of their $15,000 goal as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Viking Funder website that was set up in late March. If the full amount is raised, 15 students will be able to attend the Wonder Women Tech Conference. This conference strives to bridge the gaps that exist for women in technology, engineering and business-related pursuits.

The group of womxn of color at Western raising money to attend this conference believe the conference will provide them the resources to succeed after college.

“I think being at this conference will give us an opportunity to meet womxn of color even just other womxn that are in these fields that are dominating in their respected careers and see how they were able to get there and how they were able to navigate these spaces that weren’t meant for them,” Angelica Sanchez said.

Angelica Sanchez, a fourth-year student majoring in Business Administration and member of the collective of womxn of color, said the lack of resources available to womxn of color on our campus is rooted in deeper issues of sexism and racism that exists in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) related fields.

“Historically womxn of color have been underrepresented and unsupported in the business field and there have been many barriers. The importance of this conference is to give us the tools to succeed after our post secondary education as we transition into our future careers which is important to us to see that womxn of color can be successful in a field that is heavily dominated by white men,” Sanchez said.

The conference itinerary includes speakers, panel discussions, coding classes, a career fair and companies on-site that are looking to hire. The ultimate goal of the conference is to disrupt the typical conference model that will end up creating a shift in the male-dominated business industry.

“Wonder Women Tech is not just a conference but almost like an ecosystem built to empower, inspire, and support women in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math,” a publicist for Wonder Women Tech Maria Trujillo said.

According to the founder of Wonder Women Tech Lisa Mae Brunson, womxn of color often have a hard time just finding a mentor to aid them in their journey and believe in them.

“We are here to partner with communities and organizations that value the voices and work of the underrepresented and are constantly striving to innovate, empower and spark the potential of future innovators,” Brunson said.

According to a 2018 report by Lean In, women of color are more underrepresented compared to their white woman counterparts. Women of color only make up 4% of executive positions within the corporate pipeline, while white men make up 68% of those upper-level positions.

Joselyn Chavez, a fourth-year marketing major, said she believes the learning environment in her classes excludes perspectives of womxn of color like her.

“I think representation would be the greatest challenge, being that a majority of our classes are taught by cis white men and their perspectives of globalization and expansion of business sometimes places profit over people,” Chavez said. “The negative impacts of capitalism that affects our communities need to be acknowledged in the classroom and women of color need to be supported and given access to tools that have been systemically withheld from us.”

According to the Viking Funder website, the conference is expected to not only impact these 15 women but the educational communities they associate with, as well as Western’s campus as a whole. Any extra financial support from the fundraiser will go directly to starting a club called The Multicultural Business Scholars Association, which will support students of color in the College of Business and Economics.

“We are set to be recognized as an official club this upcoming week with the Associated Students. The name right now is the Multicultural Business Scholars Association and with this name we are hoping that it incompases all multicultural identities,” Sanchez said.

The group also plans on presenting current technology trends learned from the conference to Western faculty and student club leaders when they return, as stated by the Viking Funder Website. These will be showcased with the same themes of diversity, equity and inclusion to help Western students stay up-to-date with the growing trends that emerge with more womxn working in the STEAM field.

“Women of color are outpacing other demographics in the attainment of bachelor degrees but need to know the uphill battle is worth the fight, and even if there isn’t a seat at the table, there is space to bring their own chair,” Brunson said.

Angelica Sanchez, a fourth-year student majoring in Business Administration and member of the collective of womxn of color, said the lack of resources available to womxn of color on our campus is rooted in deeper issues of sexism and racism that exists in STEAM related fields.

“Historically womxn of color have been underrepresented and unsupported in the business field and there have been many barriers. The importance of this conference is to give us the tools to succeed after our post secondary education as we transition into our future careers which is important to us to see that womxn of color can be successful in a field that is heavily dominated by white men,” Sanchez said.

The conference itinerary includes speakers, panel discussions, coding classes, a career fair and companies on-site that are looking to hire. The ultimate goal of the conference is to disrupt the typical conference model that will end up creating a shift in the male dominated business industry.

“Wonder Women Tech is not just a conference but almost like an ecosystem built to empower, inspire, and support women in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math,” Maria Trujillo a publicist for Wonder Women Tech, said.

According to Lisa Mae Brunson, founder of Wonder Women Tech, womxn of color often have a hard time just finding a mentor to aid them in their journey and believe in them.

“We are here to partner with communities and organizations that value the voices and work of the underrepresented and are constantly striving to innovate, empower and spark the potential of future innovators,” Brunson said.

According to a 2018 report by Lean In, women of color are more underrepresented compared to their white woman counterparts. Women of color only make up 4% of executive positions within the corporate pipeline, while white men make up 68% of those upper-level positions.

Joselyn Chavez, a fourth year marketing major, said she believes the learning environment in her classes excludes perspectives of womxn of color like her.

“I think representation would be the greatest challenge, being that a majority of our classes are taught by cis white men and their perspectives of globalization and expansion of business sometimes places profit over people,” Chavez said, “The negative impacts of capitalism that affects our communities need to be acknowledged in the classroom and women of color need to be supported and given access to tools that have been systemically withheld from us.”

According to the Viking funder website, the conference is expected to not only impact these 15 women but the educational communities they associate with, as well as Western’s campus as a whole. Any extra financial support from the fundraiser will go directly to starting a club called The Multicultural Business Scholars Association, which will support students of color in the College of Business and Economics.

“We are set to be recognized as an official club this upcoming week with the Associated Students. The name right now is the Multicultural Business Scholars Association and with this name we are hoping that it incompases all multicultural identities,” Sanchez said.

The group also plans on presenting current technology trends learned from the conference to Western faculty and student club leaders when they return according to the Viking Funder Website. These will be showcased with the same themes of diversity, equity and inclusion to help Western students stay up-to-date with the growing trends that emerge with more womxn working in the STEM field.

“Women of color are outpacing other demographics in the attainment of bachelor degrees but need to know the uphill battle is worth the fight, and even if there isn’t a seat at the table, there is space to bring their own chair,” Brunson said.

 

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