Leaders address gender

Los Medanos College Outreach hosted the Ladies in Leadership event that showcased “The Empowerment Project” documentary directed by Sarah Moshman. In the 2013 film, Moshman and her three friends went on a 31-day road trip to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New York City.

            Some of the women in the film included a math professor, pilot, astronaut and Navy Admiral. What they all had in common were the lack of women in their profession. Sandra Clifford, a San Francisco pilot, was a victim of sexism even though she was the most qualified when she first started could not get hired because she was a woman.

            The film’s messages were all about empowerment and discussed equal rights for men and women. It brings up the idea of gender in the workplace explaining no matter what your gender is; do not let anything stop you from being able to do what you love as a career. The question the director asks in the very end of the film is “What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?”

            After the film concluded Michelle Mack, LMC athletics counselor, introduced the five women panel that featured Mayor of Pittsburg Merl Craft, President of Ramar Foods Susie Quesada, Superintendent of Pittsburg Unified School District Dr. Janet Schulze, Sergeant of Pittsburg Police Department Cassie Simental and CEO of Sutter Delta Hospital Dori Stevens. All of the panelists were asked questions from members of the audience.

            Many of the topics during the discussion were about social norms, mentorships and what it takes to get the job of your choice.

            “I was one of the three officers that was female when I first started,” said Simental. “The social norms with people in public not used to seeing a woman in uniform, my partners felt the need to be protective like they were my big brothers. I had to come out of my shell and deliver assertiveness that wasn’t too abrasive to let people know it’s not just a man’s job. We have a structured program for young people to get an experience, not just what they see on TV. Don’t get discouraged if your direction changes. If you’re seeking perfection you’re seeking the impossible.”

           “25 percent of the people that have this job are women,” said Schulze. “The importance to seek mentors no matter what field it is important to find. Don’t put so much pressure that you miss out on the experience of college.”

“To be in food business while also an entrepreneur is not something women have done,” said Quesada. “Some strong models were many math teachers in my school. We can’t continue the stat that was on the film. It won’t be changed unless all of us change.”