Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Staff Photographer

Krassimira Hernandez '15 MILR '17 speaks at an ILR summit on gender inequality on Saturday.

April 10, 2016

Cornell ILR Women’s Caucus Hosts Gender Equality Summit

Print More

The School of Industrial Relations Women’s Caucus hosted its second annual summit on Saturday, bringing together female panelists from diverse career fields to discuss the experiences of women in the workplace.

The event entitled “Towards a More Equal Workplace” was designed to facilitate discussion of gender inequality in the workplace by giving its audience insight on how to advance in their career paths as well as hear about other women’s experiences in law, human resources, engineering, consulting and public policy, according to Jennifer Mandelblatt, president of the ILR women’s Caucus.

Janelle Gaines, a member of the ILR Graduate Student Organization, said women’s confidence was a major topic of discussion at the summit.

“I think confidence is something that women lack, and it seems to be the most recurrent topic from this summit,” Gaines said. “Knowing that, I’m going to keep trying to support myself and support the women around me to have confidence and advocate for their skills and assets.”

Panelists also answered questions about their respective career fields, and students asked questions about the female experience in their fields of interest. Topics included gender discrimination in top positions, clothing issues, the pressure to be confident but not aggressive or complacent and the intersectionality of race and sexuality as a workplace barrier.

Mandelblatt said she was glad the summit was “a meaningful experience.”

“I think we had phenomenal speakers, from Krassimira Hernandez’s honest and brave opening speech to the breakout sessions and panel discussion,” Mandelblatt said.

As this is only the summit’s second year running, the event still has farther to advance in creating awareness for gender inequality, according to Mandelblatt.

“This year we really tried to highlight intersectionality, so that the men and women attending could get advice that would resonate with them,” she said. “I think we have more to do with incorporating diversity and intersectionality.”

The ILR Women’s Caucus was formed to create awareness of gender inequality but also to be a support group for its members, according to Mandelblatt.
Mandelblatt added that the summit, the Caucus’ largest event, serves as a first run of the idea of a gender inequality convention.

“This is how we change the world,” Mandelblatt said. “This is how we break down barriers, by coming together and so i think we just need to keep getting people to come together for meaningful conversations.”