As organizations across our campus and our country recognize Women’s History Month, we can’t just reflect on the past; we need to address present issues affecting women. One of today’s most urgent issues, COVID-19, has wreaked havoc on women in the global workforce, sending progress for gender equality several steps backward. The pandemic has hurt every community, including Ithaca, and Cornellians can’t turn a blind eye to the needs of the place we call home. This Women’s History Month, support an essential local organization, the Ithaca Women’s Opportunity Center, by contributing to a campus-wide fundraiser.
Last November, the Cornell Panhellenic Council and the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Cornell hosted a discussion on the pandemic’s impact for working women. During the event Mekala Krishnan, a partner at McKinsey Global Institute, explained that one reason for the exacerbated inequality between job losses for women and men was the gender specific nature of their work. Through her research, she discussed how jobs held by women are 19 percent more at risk than ones held by men simply because women are disproportionately represented in sectors negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
This risk is even higher for women of color. In September alone, four times as many women dropped out of the labor force, which equaled around 865,000 women to 216,000 men.
President Martha Pollack plans to keep Cornell open Thursday despite a wind chill warning, dozens of emails and a petition with thousands of signatures. It’s not the first time Pollack has faced criticism for defying the cold.
With a theme of “breaking barriers,” the third annual New York State Latino Leadership Summit on Saturday featured prominent alumni, lectures from executives and workshops meant to give attendees tools to overcome obstacles they face as Latinx students at Cornell.
Sometimes education is a blessing and a curse. In Lima, I admire los Cerros De Huaycán with mountains that surround the landscape. However, I cannot ignore hearing the man at the intersection catcalling the woman in the street in Spanish. In Paris, I marvel at le Champs-Élysées with its great diversity of high-end stores. But I cannot avoid the Algerian family of five asking for money in French, the young girl in her hijab with her forehead to the concrete, her arms outstretched with a cup seeking donations.
When acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki was asked what ultimately drove him to create his film The Wind Rises, he pointed to a quote by Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the gorgeous Zero fighter planes that were infamous during WWII for their unparalleled killing capabilities. Wracked with guilt from the pain his creations had unleashed on the world, the engineer apparently once made one of the most simple yet poignant statements to ever go unheard by the world at large:
“All I wanted to do was make something beautiful.”
Whether or not Horikoshi fully grasped his complicit nature in the devastation to come remains a point of contention. But we know one thing for sure: The moment he was selected for such an honorable task, a swirl of manipulation and distorted expectations descended upon the young man until, whether by his own design or not, he had become an instrument of war, and his planes the harbingers of terror. This illuminates a sad and universal truth: Along with all of the euphoria, affirmation and self-assuredness that accompanies leadership and prestige, crippling vulnerability and self-doubt are often not far behind. Leaders can be some of the most flawed individuals in this collection of flawed creatures we call human beings, often succumbing to the allure of trivial petulance as easily as anyone else.
Cornell student leaders enthusiastically gathered this weekend to develop their leadership skills and learn from some experienced University leaders, like Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67 and Vice President for Student and Academic Services Susan Murphy ’73.
The Student Leadership Institute Conference held yesterday at the Straight was designed to provide student officers of registered University organizations with the opportunity to explore topics of collegiate student leadership.
To attend this year’s conference, attendees went through a competitive application process in which a total of 100 applicants were admitted.