This past week, I was given the opportunity of attending the International Women’s Day Summit facilitated by Envoys in which I heard from exceptional female speakers, took part in valuable discussions regarding current barriers facing women, and joined forces with other students dedicated to combating global issues, brainstorming effective ways of advocacy and solution. One of the speakers with whom I identified with was Angela Gomez, female entrepreneur and cofounder of Envoys. Having traveled across Colombia, her home country, for most of her childhood, she was determined to allow the younger generations of Colombians to also gain awareness regarding Colombia’s culture and geography. These efforts later expanded to reach the global level. Hearing from Ms. Gomez’s story, I now understand that “with privilege comes responsibility and a choice through which lens you will serve others.” Additionally, I was inspired by Sofia Kianni, the youngest inaugural to the UN Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change and founder of Climate Cardinals, an organization working to translate climate documents into over 100 languages. Using her personal story and experiences for motivation, Sophia’s perseverance allowed her to combine two of her most cared for causes: climate change and women’s empowerment. I admire both of these women for identifying causes with which they have personal connections and using these stories to change the current narrative. Inspired by this year’s theme Choose to Challenge, we were then given the opportunity of beginning our own campaign towards women’s equality. We chose to challenge the suppression of women’s voices by creating a variety of posters all targeting certain areas in which women’s voices must be heard. More specifically, I chose to amplify women’s voices as mentors, understanding their current struggles to attain leadership positions in professional fields and what could be achieved if their entry into the workplace was supported. Going forward, I am determined to use my personal story and hispanic heritage as a leverage for the advancement of women’s empowerment by finding personal connections with the topics for which I am advocating.
-Isabella Casillas ’24