By Alyssa Pawluk
TEDxYoungstownWomen, an event on May 29 that will be held at The Fifth Floor, a restaurant and lounge located in the Commerce Building downtown.
TEDxYoungstownWomen will feature a live stream of speakers from TEDWomen, a three-day conference that focuses on the power of women to be creators and makers of change.
Billie Jean King, former professional tennis player; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland; Jimmy Carter, president of the United States from 1977 to 1981; and Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda are some of the 34 speakers that will be presenting their ideas and research.
Past TEDWomen events have featured speakers like Diana Nyad, a long distance swimmer who gave a talk on determination, and Sheryl Sandberg, a reccurring TEDWomen speaker, who focused on women’s struggles in male-dominated careers.
“In the business world, you never talk about being a woman, because someone might notice you’re a woman. Everywhere in the world women need more self-confidence because the world tells us we’re not equal to men,” Sandberg said.
Diana Palardy, director of women’s and gender studies at Youngstown State University, said there are too few women leaders.
“Female leaders are often ridiculed and subjected to an extra level of scrutiny that has nothing to do with their qualifications. People often make jokes about their clothes, their gender orientation, their makeup and their voices. Some of this can happen too with men, but much less frequently,” Palardy said.
This year’s event will be centered on the message of momentum and pushing toward goals through research and determination.
“I think that most people really believe that they don’t have anything against female leadership, but when you ask them about their attitudes about specific female leaders, their responses are often quite negative,” Palardy said. “Try talking to someone you know and listing off every single female leader you can think of, especially in politics, and ask this person what they think of her as a leader; it would be interesting to gauge the reaction of the other person to the names you mention. It would be hard to determine how much of their response would be due to gender or to that person’s overall character, but if you notice a consistently negative pattern, that would be hard to ignore.”
Palardy continued to say how there is a certain stereotype about women in positions of power.
“I think that being professional at all times is important, but it is also important to think carefully to oneself. If I were a man, would I be treated this way? If not, then I think it would be best if women in these positions of power were to bring it to the attention of the public, so that people can become aware of their biases,” Palardy said.
Palardy said that she hopes the event inspires.
“This event will hopefully empower women to endeavor to take on more leadership roles. If you see more female role models and can witness what other successful women have accomplished, it sets a precedent and can inspire one to become an agent of change and progress,” Palardy said.
The first session of the live stream will air from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and there will be a second screening of the last half of the sessions from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Tickets are $15 per person and will not be sold after May 26.