More than thirty years after the second wave of the women's movement, girls and women in the United States have made great strides. Today's young women imagine a life full of possibilities and free of barriers. But there is a long way to go. Women still occupy only a small fraction of the top leadership positions in government and the corporate world.
You can help to make a difference.
The Young Women's Leadership Institute takes the complex relationship between gender and leadership as its focus. Students will develop action-oriented leadership plans during the session.
Barnard College has itself been a distinguished leader in the higher education of women since its founding in 1889, and Barnard has produced graduates who go on to extraordinary leadership roles in a wide range of fields.
Young Women's Leadership Institute participants should be curious, passionate, and willing to take risks. The Young Women's Leadership Institute will allow you to develop those qualities and push you in new directions as you explore leadership through a feminist lens. You will have a unique opportunity to learn from college faculty and staff, current students, alumnae, and other professional facilitators. Reading and writing assignments, along with off-campus site visits in New York City, will all be part of your experience.
The academic foundation of the institute will focus on gender issues, social change, and leadership in the form of a morning class. Students will choose from one of the following morning courses:
Women's Studies 101 (Julie Bleha)
This course serves as an introduction to the field of women's studies. The class begins with an interrogation of the term feminism, and broadens into a three-part inquiry: an exploration of women's history, an introduction to some important concepts of women's studies, and an appraisal of some contemporary issues in women's studies including studies of women in business and law, politics, journalism, the arts, education, and healthcare. The instructor will bring the class's unique perspective to bear on the program's broader themes, through dialogue with the sister class on the film watched as a joint project.
Women, Men, Families, and States (Maxine Weisgrau)
This course explores ideas about gender and society, and how they play out in families in different cultures. We will look at women's and men's roles as social constructions, and discuss feminist perspectives on family and politics. Contemporary controversies around defining American families will illustrate discussions of how ideas about gender and parenting are negotiated and contested. The class will also explore the concepts of civic engagement, research design and information gathering in advocacy initiatives developed by the students.
After morning class, students move on to full afternoons of workshops, seminars, and discussions. Finally, you will apply what you've learned by participating in a Leadership Lab project. Working in small groups, you will design and execute a project to improve the pre-college community, and share what you have accomplished at a student-run conference.
The intensive nature of the Young Women's Leadership Institute program will build a strong sense of community among its participants. While much learning will take place in traditional classroom settings, the residence hall will also be an important site for intellectual and social development, so all Leadership Institute students must live on campus in air-conditioned housing.
And as if that weren't enough, Leadership Institute students will meet with Barnard alumnae in their workplaces. These sessions introduce you to different fields and the education or professional training they require.
In past summers, students have met with professionals from organizations such as the National Organization for Women, the Third Wave Foundation, the Women's Bureau of the US Department of Labor, film centers, photo studios, and MTV/Viacom.