Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sororities: Training Grounds for Women Leaders

Sororities are strong training grounds for young women to begin to practice their leadership skills.  Moreover, since sororities offer volunteer leadership opportunities for alumnae, they are a space for women to continue to develop their leadership over their lifetime.  Both historically and today, many of America's most accomplished women first got their start in sororities.  These women leaders include suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt, former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former CEO of Kraft Foods Betsy Holden, among countless leaders in other fields.

I am a proud sister of Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) Sigma chapter at UC Berkeley.  Being surrounded by strong women in my sorority during college helped me cultivate my feminist identity, and inspired me to launch an online feminist t-shirt business.  My first job after college was serving as an AOII Resident Consultant to launch a new sorority chapter.  While going to graduate school full time, my sorority job paid for housing and food, in addition to a monthly stipend to help ameliorate graduate school debt.

My sorority was the first place I truly learned how to network and be professional.  The recruitment process, commonly known as rush, was the perfect training ground for me to learn how to work a room and talk to strangers.  I learned how to dress and act like a professional woman.  This is now a crucial part of my career as I regularly attend networking receptions in DC. For women whose parents did not teach them these career and life skills, sororities can be a safe space for young women to gain an advantage and finally learn etiquette and business manners.

Sororities offer a space for college women to run for various officer positions and truly run a small business.  A woman can oversee marketing, philanthropy, HR, or financial aspects of her chapter. These opportunities provide women with transferable skills for their first job.  The Leadership Institute is a research based nonprofit organization that documents and analyzes the leadership development curriculum sororities provide.

Encourage a young woman to try out recruitment in the upcoming school year so she can decide for herself whether this a great next step for her leadership growth!

Questions to Consider When Joining a Sorority

Did You Know That These Women Are In Sororities?


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