AKA Empowering Girls and Women
by William Jackson
Building a Foundation of Success
2014 Youth “Talk It Out” Summit
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
South Atlantic Region
AKA South Atlantic Region Summit
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated
Girls and young women are experiencing growing opportunities
to be influential in a world that once envisioned them as second
and third class citizens. Girls and young women now have visions
that have allowed engagement in careers that years ago were
denied them and stereotyped girls and women as housekeepers,
bearers of children and domesticates.
Schools of thought, schools of technology, schools of medicine,
law, business and other areas of industry are now encouraging
girls and women to pursue and enter into their domains, to leave
behind stereotypes, limitations from decades of denial, and the
restrictive environments created by men that did not see the
value in educated and empowered women.
The sphere of being a successful entrepreneur for women has
opened doors in the 21st century to girls and women as never
before seen or experienced. Because of this girls and young
women can now envision themselves as CEO’s, CFO’s, Chairs,
Presidents, Board members and community leaders.
Society has experienced a paradigm immersion that girls and
women are of value and they must be taken seriously in their
quest for equality and equitable access to resources that men
History is laced with women that are pioneers in fields of Science,
Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics: STEAM / STEM
and now the growing educational trend of STREAM. The sky is
the limit for girls and women as educational resources are open to
allow dreams to take hold expanding outside of the limiting
stereotypical labor intensive jobs of manual labor. Women are
now “Content Creators” and “Thought Leaders.”
Women are competing with men and earning respect, higher
salaries, greater responsibilities and even balancing multiple
careers and supporting families. Women of iconic stature are
growing; Oprah is not the only influence for girls and women,
others are growing to be women of power projection and
influence. These women can be seen on web sites such as:
Black Women of Influence
Black Women of Influence
Women Who Changed the World
Women Who Changed Our World
What greater examples of success, community involvement,
mentorship, iconic gender rights advocate can have for a
girl or young woman? The diminishing gender gap allows for
new thoughts, fresh ideas, a global perspective that did not
invite women to exercise their gifts of commerce, finance, law
and political know how.
The growing influence of women can be seen in how women
constitute the growing members of parliaments and political
parties around the world. In African nations like Rwanda;
superseded Sweden at the number one in the world in terms
of women’s parliamentary (political) representation.
In the United States the recognition of a “concrete ceiling,” is said
to be barriers for minority women in the U.S. Companies in the
past have opened doors ever so slightly to “allow” a quota of entries
to justify the “admission” of women, but with the growing influence
of women the “concrete ceiling” is crashing down on the heads of
men that seek to keep women powerless and voiceless in the areas
of business, technology, medicine, science, law and politics. As women
grow in their influence more women will grow in their dreams to be
influential and make significant differences in the world.
Labor statistics are showing that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(2007) projects that over 27 million minority women will be in the
workforce by 2010 and a 4% increase each year. These women
will need training, degrees, certificates and experiences that allow
them to compete in many past male dominated career fields.
To help is the opportunity for mentors and mentorship; men
traditionally have mentors that are willing to guide
them, show them the ropes and steer them clear of obstacles and
Helping men to get on the fast tracks to leadership positions,
advancement and increased salaries. Women in the past did not
have these opportunities. The growing involvement of women now
allows and encourages women mentors that are actively involved
in their careers and in the educational systems of this nation to
make sure that upcoming girls and young women do not have to
face the challenges they faced.
“Women mentoring women is just one facet of career development
for leaders, research suggests that mentoring leads to increased
performance and promotion rate for women, early career advancement,
greater upward mobility, higher incomes equal to men, greater job
satisfaction and promoting, enhanced leadership opportunities,
professional development and educational enrichment and
perceptions of greater success and influence in an organization”
(Bahniuk & Hill, 1998).
Key elements are the expectations to rise for girls and woman, to
dream big and dream of success. Jenny Parkes, senior lecturer in
education at the Institute of Education, University of London, said
there are marked changes in girls’ achievement in the latter half of
the 20th century, in part thanks to successful influence of the way
girls view themselves from successful women like Mae Jamison and
Stephanie Wilson Black astronauts with NASA.
There is a growing intellectualism with Black women in the United
States that influences women globally. A group of ‘new black intellectuals’
is emerging as spokespeople for African American thought and scholarship.
Michelle Obama, Condelisa Rice and others are showing that intellectualism
is an honor and a right of Black women and women of color. A sisterhood
is growing that is not hindered by color, class, race or culture. Women
are helping women of all shades to be successful and advance.
Influences such as these encourage millions of girls and women of color
(even white), much of the African American population is urban so education
is vital to compete on a global scale, being able to code switch by language,
actions, mentality and connection with home, community and office
environment. Between the home, the office, business, technology, education
and other areas it is important for African American women to adapt.
The diversity of this world and the opportunities open for women of color
must sustain their confidence of determination to be successful even if they
are the “only ones like them” at the table.
This blog is not intended to the bashing of men, but dedicated to the
empowering of women. Having been raised by two strong Black women;
my mother and grandmother; following in my mother’s footsteps as an
educator and entering into a career as a STEAM educator; more Black
men need to support Black women, to discard the ravages of jealousy,
their own personal insecurities and the continued selfishness of
nonsupport for each generation of children. A culture will only grow if
those in that culture support and nurture each other and each
The 2000 US Census and those beyond are showing that African American
women had a higher proportion in management, professional and related
occupations. More Black girls and women are attending colleges and
universities and graduating with degrees. There are still roads to be
traveled, challenges to be overcome and stereotypes to be broken,
but the world is and will change.
A continuing effort is through sororities like Alpha Kappa Alpha and
their 2014 Youth “Talk It Out” Summit.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
South Atlantic Region
will present an educational, motivational and engaged summit at
James Weldon Johnson College Prep Middle School
276 Norman Thagard Blvd.
Across from Paxon High School
Saturday, April 5th 2014 from 8:30am to Noon.
Youth are encouraged to attend and be inspired, encouraged and
ignited beyond their perceived limitations. Efforts like these help to
move generations ahead.
If you have questions or need additional information,
Contact Ms. Chanteya Lawrence or Ms. Shola Smith at
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Gamma Rho Omega Chapter, Inc.
Attention: EYL Youth Summit Registration