On one of the last summer afternoons, W.I.L members and Leiden University College students gathered for a cozy afternoon at the Coasters bar of Leiden University College for the first W.I.L event of the school year. The main theme of the event was women, the women that inspire us and create impact around the world, whether they are stay-at-home moms, working full time, juggling both work and children or continuing grassroots traditions in foreign countries.
The evening was filled with storytelling, slam poetry, live music, opinions on womanhood and femininity, different perspectives and fruitful dialogue. It started with an introduction by Manon (Head of innovation) and Anh (Chair) who explained the mission of W.I.L and announced its recent expansion, having relocated the office to the Hague Tech.
Afterwards, some brave speakers shared stories of the women in their lives and the lessons they have taught them such as: how important education and hard work is, how crucial support among women can be, and how sometimes one has to express rage and frustration through artistic means to get a message out.
Women are also often mentors that people look up to, and it is important to reach out to the ones that inspire us, to create larger networks of support and empowerment.
The topic of stigmas was vastly explored, raising questions such as: what does it mean to be feminine? And are social movements reinforcing gender imbalance? An enthusiastic speaker expressed that before labelling ourselves as 'men' and 'women' we should visualize ourselves as humans, and we should remember that as humans we are free to make our own choices.
Self-appreciation was also mentioned, especially in a world that is hungry for labels and where people are put in boxes since they are born. Nevertheless, as seen throughout the night, some women appreciate or follow certain gender norms and this too should be respected and not judged.
The atmosphere was inclusive, empowering and inspirational, the bottom line of the event was concluding that every woman should be able to choose her path and identity, free of discrimination and marginalization.
Blogpost by: Alexia Ramos