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Sarah Cabral, Monetta Edwards, Kristen Nervo

Innovative Practices to Increase Female Confidence and Leadership on Campus and in the Workplace

In this paper, we will focus on how we, administrators and educators, can help close the gap that exists between what we understand to be important and what we practice at our Jesuit business schools, regarding women and leadership. Specifically, we will address what our home institution, Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, has done, is doing, and can do to prepare female students for the workplace, increase female students’ confidence, and bring more female leaders to campus. A question we raise here and in our work is, “Why aren’t more women represented in our curriculum and on our stages to speak about their work in fields that they lead?” A mindshift is necessary, and we are determined to change the narrative. Our Career Services team prepares students, both male and female, for the realities of the job market and corporate culture, as data shows the experience for men and women is very different. To achieve this, our Career Services team focuses on fluid conversations with students and employers through a career preparation course, on-campus discussion groups, and off-campus experiences. Carroll School faculty make curricular decisions in consideration of gender equity and advise student groups on campus, such as Women’s Innovate Network, Women in Business, and Smart Women Securities, which offer mentorship opportunities and networking with leading alumnae. The Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics exposes Boston College students to female voices that will eventually allow for both men and women to see themselves as leaders. Before outlining some practical solutions and the crucial role that men play in these solutions for colleges and universities, we will first identify the confidence and leadership gender disparity and explain why it is a problem and why it exists, in order for our readership to better understand the urgency of this social issue.