Sue Shear 21st Century Leadership Academy Applications due March 4

The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life announces the 21st Century Leadership Academy, May 19 – 24, 2013 in St. Louis, MO

Apply to Represent UMKC as a Shear Fellow. Application Deadline: March 4, 2013

Spend a week with outstanding student leaders and savvy women in public life: women judges, women office  holders & women public policy experts.

What will you do as a Shear Fellow?

1.       Develop leadership skills.

2.       Build self confidence.

3.       Make friends & contacts for your future.

To apply, download the application. For more information on the Leadership Academy, visit the Leadership Academy page. With questions, contact Dr. Brenda Bethman in the UMKC Women’s Center at

Short-Film Addresses Women’s Equality in Revolutionary Egypt

By Armelle Djoukoue


Gender inequality in Egypt is a big issue. In April of 2011 Belgian feminist and women’s rights activist, An Van Raemdonck, traveled to Cairo and interviewed Egyptian women’s rights activists. She inquired with Egyptian women about what the revolution in Egypt meant to them and how they intended to advance women’s rights in the midst of political turmoil. The women interviewed by Raemdonck are all engaged in women’s rights movements, some as heads of established organizations, and others as younger activists within new groups. You can watch footage of the interviews in Van Raemdonck’s short-film Women and the Egyptian Revolution. The content of the film focuses on women’s rights activism and discusses the advancement of women’s equality in Egypt during the revolutionary process and in the specific context of political transition. In many countries women are afraid to fight for equality; this is an educative short-film that demonstrates the courage it takes for some women to fight for their rights.

Women in Politics: Well-behaved and mostly scandal-free

By Vinesha Rice

Image from Flickr

For some time now, men have been the perpetrators of most of the political sex scandals reported by the media. In an article posted in the New York Times, Michigan Representative Candice Miller raised an intriguing point: “Female politicians rarely get caught up in sex scandals.” If you take a moment to think about this, you’ll notice that there is some truth to this statement. These scandals may just be instances of men behaving badly and the media taking advantage of a public figure misbehaving. But the fact remains, women are less likely to get caught in these situations. 

The article suggests an interesting difference between men and women in politics: “women run for office to do something, and men run for office to be somebody… Women run because there is some public issue that they care about, some change they want to make… and men tend to run for office because they see this as a career path.” Women respect the power that their political position gives them to make change happen; therefore, they are less likely to do something that would remove them from that position or diminish that power. Some men, however, see political power as a personal tool and way to get ahead. Although, this idea should not be generalized to all men in politics (and I’m sure there are many well-meaning, crusaders-for-the-good, male politicians out there) this statement speaks to power differences between men and women. Men in political office (as well as other high powered careers) automatically have power. Women in political office (or other high powered career), have to prove it. As the article suggests, women in powerful positions still have to prove that they are qualified for the position they hold.  They have to work harder and make careful decisions because of the constant scrutiny and the expectation to fail. This makes women more conscious of what other’s think about them; therefore, they are less likely to do anything embarrassing or scandalous.

What this can also mean is that women in powerful political positions make more careful and conscious decisions; thus making them better decision-makers. Some men in politics, as the recent news has shown, have clearly made some bad decisions lately. And aren’t these folks supposed to be making important decisions on our beahlf as our public servants? So when it comes to our public interests, wouldn’t you rather have someone in place that respects her political power and makes careful, conscious decisions, than someone whose loose consideration for the power he holds can result in bad decisions that can land him in the middle of an embarrassing sex scandal that ultimately distracts him from doing the job he was elected to do?

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

By Patsy Campos

Image c/o AAUW KC Chapter

My second year of working at the Women’s Center has taught me that in order for women to advance, we need to know the basic building blocks of success like leadership and written and verbal communication skills.  In order to break gender barriers, women and girls have to take advantage of local and national organizations that encourage women to advance and provide them with the support that they need to do so. 

Last June, I was fortunate enough to receive a great opportunity from the American Association of University Women-Kansas City Chapter (AAUW) to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in Washington D.C. Over the span of three days, I met wonderful women from around the world and attended skill building workshops, informative forum discussions, and listened to the fascinating accomplishments of women who received the Women of Distinction Award.  I will continue to use these basic principles of leadership I gained in all of my future endeavors!

2011 Women of Color Leadership Conference

By Maritza Gordillo

Image copyright: WOCLC, (2011).

The University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Division of Diversity, Access & Equity (DDAE) and the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management will host their 6th Annual Women of Color Leadership Conference (WOCLC) starting on Thursday, April 28th. This conference started off as the Black Women Leaders Conference, which focused on issues affecting black women. Now the conference is devoted to all women of color with the addition of young women in high school and college. WOCLC is free and open to the public and is a great way to gain confidence in areas of education, career development, leadership and health/wellness and how to use that empowerment as a tool in the future. Deputy Chancellor of the DDAE, Karen Dace, PhD., says that they have “…invested in providing a network to improve the participation and involvement of Women of Color in all communities by providing programs that improve communication, collaboration, and action.”

As a Latina college student, I am so glad that we have events that focus on women like me who struggle in many ways to succeed in college and in our future careers. The WOCLC will kick off its three day event with a conference for college students that will be held on April 28th at 9 a.m. and the conference for high school girls will be on April 29th at 9 a.m. The conference for adult women will be on May 12th at 7:30 a.m. All events will be held at the Pierson Auditorium, UMKC University Center, 5000 Holmes.

Starr Community Conversation: “Who Does She Think She Is?”

By Maritza Gordillo

On Tuesday, March 22nd, I attended the Starr Community Conversation: Technology and Modern Families. This discussion was very interesting to me because it helped me understand that technology can be beneficial for balancing work/life if you know how to moderate yourself; as well as harmful if you overdo it. Although this conversation was open to all ages, it more importantly focused on how to best integrate the use of technology within families in our community.

This evening, April 12th, the Starr Community Conversation: “Who Does She Think She Is?” Balancing Family Life with Creative Careers will be taking place at the Truman Forum auditorium in the KC Public Library from 6pm-9pm. This conversation will be discussing the documentary “Who Does She Think She Is?” and the unique challenges women and men come across in balancing their creative careers and family life.

Giving Thanks to Women Past and Present

Image from

By Arzie Umali

The UMKC Women’s Center blog will be quiet for the next few days as our staff takes a break for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  As we take this opportunity to spend time with family and friends, catch up on some well deserved rest and relaxation, or gear up for finals, we’ll also be reflecting on what we are thankful for. 

A recent Time Magazine article reminds us of some of the women we should all be thankful to.  These women were scientists, politicians, humanitarians, and all around brilliant and beautiful human beings.  Without women like Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa, Margaret Mead, Rosa Parks, and Hillary Clinton, the world would be a much different place.

Honoring Women Who Have Paved the Way to Our Success

“Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes’; they will say, ‘Women don’t have what it takes.'” — Clare Boothe Luce

There have been many women who have broken barriers that have allowed for more women to do things in fields that weren’t always “women friendly” and who also helped more women know that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

There are some great examples of women who have helped pave the way for more women to break down barriers. There’s Dr. Mae Jemison, who was the first African American astronaut into space, helping prove that the field of science doesn’t have to be male dominated. There is also, Grace Murray Hopper, who was a computer scientist, one of the first programmers for the Harvard Mark 1 Computer and helped develop the first complier for a computer programming language. In addition to her contributions to computer science Hopper was also Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper of the United States Navy. She served in the navy starting in 1943 during World War II and continued on active duty until 1986.   

Besides science and the military, another traditionally female-lacking field, is business. Helping change the view of business being for men is Indra Nooyi, who is the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. As CEO she has raised the company’s top line 10% to 43.3 million dollars and has broken the stereotype of man power in the business world, showing that a woman can not only be in charge but can also excel in business. Beside Nooyi’s success as a CEO for a well-established business, there is also Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Ash began Mary Kay in 1963 and turned it into a multi-billion dollar empire that not only speaks to what women can accomplish when they put their minds to it, but also gave millions of women the opportunity to support themselves and their families.

These women were not afraid to follow their dreams. They dominated fields that were thought of as a man’s fields and had great success. There are many other women that have made it to the top of achievement that I haven’t mentioned that make it possible for the rest of us to succeed. As an African American woman who wants to go into the law field, which is a male-dominated field, I have to fight harder to get what I want. My mom always showed me that everything is possible if you have the mindset to complete the task laid before you. As I look at the generations before me, I see that I can accomplish anything as a woman.

The contributions of these and other successful women have shaped our society and our lives in very positive ways. It is imperative that we constantly remember their great works. Whether its elected leaders or business leaders, champions of the arts or community advocates, famous figures or the everyday woman, we owe a lot to those women, past and present. When women share in each other’s successes, we help pave the way for future generations to become tomorrow’s leaders.  Even though March was Women’s History month, we need to honor the women that have paved the way to our success not just in March but every day. We should not be afraid that we as women will come up against obstacles, because everybody is capable of achieving their dreams and we should never let anybody tell us that we are not cut out for a job.

Starr Women Leaders Program Now Accepting Applications

Are you a female UMKC undergraduate or high school 9th, 10th, or 11th grader majoring and/or interested in a career in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or the health sciences? If so, apply now for an exciting new program at UMKC: the Starr Women Leaders Program! SWLP is a collaborative initiative of the UMKC Starr Symposium Committee, Women’s Council, Women’s Center, and Women & Gender Studies Program.

UMKC students who are accepted into the Starr Women Leaders Program will serve as e-mentors to a girl from the 9th, 10th, or 11th grade who is also interested in the possibility of studying a STEM or health science field after high school. You will also have the opportunity to meet Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman astronaut and a notable physician and engineer, at the Starr Symposium on October 1; as well as to participate in a series of events and activities that are designed to enhance your leadership skills. High school students in the program will receive mentoring, have the opportunity to visit campus on several occasions, and will also meet Dr. Jemison on October 1.

Applications and more details on program design and requirements can be found online at and are due on Friday, September 11, 2009. Feel free to contact Brenda Bethman at or 816.235.1643 with any questions.