The inspiration to the forming of the Organization of Women Leaders stemmed from a few individuals such as Takhmina Dzhuraeva, leader of OWL, Giulia Bolzola, Gabriella Ginzalez, Leslie Mayo, and Asami Bandai. The club started after Takhmina and other OWL members attended a selective national conference in Maryland. The conference was centered on building confidence and strengthening female identities and encouraging women to stand up for themselves. After coming back, they were inspired by what they had learned at the conference and realized they could improve the women’s rights sector at Bellevue College. Takhmina and a few others quickly drew up plans to construct their own club, orchestrate events, recruit members and install a memorable footprint at Bellevue College for women.
OWL is currently supported by American Association of University Women.
The AAUW has a number of chapters across Washington state. In addition, according to Teresa McClane, assistant director for the Center for Career Connections & Women’s Center, this organization lobbies in Washington D.C. on behalf of women. On March 27, OWL will engage with AAUW and provide insight into what it’s like to be a female leader in today’s world, the meaning behind going to college and more.
OWL has hosted successful events despite its recent start last fall. One of them was the showing of a movie called “Iron-Jawed Angels.” “Over 20 people showed up to the event,” says Teresa McClane, who is the adviser for OWL.
Within the OWL community are enthusiastic men and women eager to drive change for women in today’s world.
This upcoming March is Women’s History Month, marking a key date for OWL to reach out for additional members and host events. On March 3, OWL will host another viewing of “Iron-Jawed Angels.” They will provide popcorn and drinks to complement the movie.
On March 11, OWL is hosting a “Feminist Coming Out Day,” which involves a workshop inviting its members and guests to participate and declare they are a feminist and why. There will also be a general discussion about what feminism is. “Students will also learn about the three waves of feminism, women’s suffrage, and a variety of current issues facing women today, through games and workshops,” says Takhmina Dzhuraeva. Current issues might involve equal salaries between men and women. Another might be sexual harassment or equal access to education. A fair amount of effort and planning has gone into devising the events. Indeed, their success will be comparable to the amount of time spent planning the events. They have successfully tapped into an intellectual and caring element at Bellevue College.
There is another segment that OWL focuses on. It works hard to expand itself as an organization and seek to expand its members as well.
OWL also has a goal of encouraging young women to run for positions in the ASG. Teresa believes it would be excellent to have more women run for ASG President, or for any position within the ASG.
OWL is a club expanding rapidly as the months pass and shows distinct promise.