In an election season where candidates are increasingly dismissive of their opponents, even threatening to "take out" those they disagree with, are there ways to exercise leadership that rely less on ego, threats, and dominance? And if women are more often seen as supporting the emergence of power in others rather than seeing others' power as a threat, does that put them at a disadvantage in today's society? These and other questions will be debated in the 2010 Stanton/Anthony Conversations and Luncheon, taking place on the University of Rochester's River Campus, on Friday, Oct. 15.
Feminist icon and keynote speaker Gloria Feldt will address the topic at the luncheon and will be among the panelists discussing "How Women Use Power: Transforming Leadership." According to Nora Bredes, director of the University's Anthony Center for Women's Leadership, Feldt looks at both the individual differences and the social conventions that make it difficult for women to see themselves as leaders in society. Feldt will speak about her newest book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power, which encourages women to step into positions of power and leadership by looking at why barriers to equality continue to exist. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.
Also participating in this year's panel discussion is Allida Black, project director and editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, a project designed to preserve, teach, and apply Eleanor Roosevelt's work in support of human rights and democratic principles at George Washington University; and Jennifer Lawless, director of American University's Women and Politics Institute and author of It Sill Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office, the only systematic, nationwide empirical account of the manner in which gender shapes political ambition.
According to Bredes, "This year's participants have claimed the power to lead." Lawless ran for U.S. Congress in 2006 and now leads an institute that encourages other women to take political action. Black is a human rights activist, working closely with President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia to improve the conditions of African women's lives. Feldt is a former teen mom who became the president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Inspired by a New York Times article about Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and his brash and egotistical approach to leadership, Bredes will start the conversation by asking what happens when women use power the same way. "My hope is that people can leave this year's conversation with a new definition of power and ways they can harness their own power and not be afraid of it." Too often, says Bredes, women see their role as peacemaker and compromiseró not powerful roles in our business, military, and political and social hierarchies. This year's conversations will examine whether or not the way a woman defines and uses power can empower her to lead constructive change.
The 2010 Stanton/Anthony Conversations are set for Oct. 15 as part of Meliora Weekend, with Gloria Feldt's keynote speech during a luncheon at noon on the River Level of the Interfaith Chapel. The conversation among Gloria Feldt, Allida Black, and Jennifer Lawless, moderated by Nora Bredes, will begin at 1:15 p.m. in the chapel's Sanctuary. Tickets for the luncheon are $40 for the public and $20 for students. The conversations are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Anthony Center at 585-275-8799 or email ACWL@mail.rochester.edu
Guests of Meliora Weekend are encouraged to share their experiences by posting updates on Facebook, checking into "Meliora Weekend" and other locations around campus on foursquare, and sharing conversations and photos on Twitter and Flickr using the common hashtag #meliora.