The halls of Burke Science Building were lined with women on Saturday.
Students, professors, and members of the Hamilton community came together for the fourth annual Leadership Summit for Women.
It’s a challenge for any one event to stand out among the number of conferences at Mac—on this weekend alone there was the Leadership Summit for Women, the 42nd Ontario-Quebec Physical Organic Minisymposium, the Persistent Post-Surgical Pain: A Model for the Study of Chronic Pain Conference, and the Career Countdown Conference for Social Science students.
Consistently engaging a large audience over many years makes the Leadership Summit unique amongst a plethora of conferences. The event has evolved and is now organized through a partnership between the Hamilton YWCA and the McMaster Student Success Centre.
Workshops ranged from self-care and public-speaking to the importance of diverse representation in leadership.
The event is as much a learning experience for workshop participants as it is for presenters. Sabeen Kazmi co-led a workshop called “Muslim Women and the Paradigm of Political Acitivism.” She was empowered by her experience as a facilitator.
“I really appreciated being given space to talk about my experiences as a Muslim women in activist spaces,” said Kazmi.
This year, the summit catered to an even broader age range. A workshop delivered by young women addressed the importance of engaging young women in civic engagement. Stephanie Frisina, the facilitator of the Young Women’s Advisory Council, was one of the workshop presenters.
“The workshop went really well we had a lot of space for dialogue because we had a very supportive and small group,” said Frisina. “It’s amazing to see that people care about these issues”
Labika Ghani was one of the high school participants at this year’s summit.
“I was really excited because I felt that it was important to have a younger audience be included in the issues discussed at the summit,” she said. “[My favourite part] is meeting new people.”
According to the website, the summit aimed to create “the space, skills, and support for all participants, regardless of gender, to reach their full potential as individuals and as collaborative members of a community.”
Male allies were also welcome at the summit. One workshop even addressed men specifically, looking at the role of male allies in feminism.