Women’s Conferences

by All Around CMU-Q

By Bushra bmemon

How important is it for a freshman to attend the conferences abroad? Should the juniors and seniors be preferred over the freshmen students for participating in these conferences ?

These important questions were aroused by the recently held 8th Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business Conference in Boston that hosted a handful of CMU junior and senior female tartans. The conference entailed of small breakout sessions that the students chose based on their interests. In those sessions, different successful women ,leaders in various fields, would share their experience and give out advice. Donna Karan, world renowned designer, also gave a speech and shared her experience.

Why prefer seniors?

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“ Be patient, your time will come. These trips favor seniority.” –Nada Salem

Surprisingly, many freshmen students seem to support the idea of favouring the older students for attending these conferences.

“Is it fair? Thats debatable
Is it justified? Yes”- Muna al-husainy

“In a few years we’ll be juniors/seniors as well; its a cyclical process. If the upperclassmen are expressing interest, I dont see what’s wrong in letting them go given that they will graduate earlier than freshmen…..and also if its an academic conference, in most cases, they will probably know more than the freshmen, so it makes sense to send them instead” –Guru Yeramilli

“Whoever they send is a representative for the university,  so they have to be well-prepared.”- Zeinab Khalifa

Upperclassmen have more deeper knowledge of the subject and hence will be able to actively participate in the conferences is an impressive answer. But, do most conferences require the students to have vast subject knowledge? Or they require students who are enthusiastic and passionate about the issue that the conference addresses?

“ Recently, two freshmen were selected for international debate competition over the returning sophomores …therefore we cannot say that freshmen are not prepared…give the freshmen equal chance.”- Anonymous

These type of conferences offer several valuable new and customized opportunities to build and launch a powerful network of young professionals as early in their careers as possible. So, why not expose the freshmen a little early to these opportunities so that they start gaining experience from an early stage which will be beneficial to them later on?

“ Honestly I think, it really depends on the “type” of trips are we talking about here. Take the case of iStep.. naturally for an internship which pays $3000 they would require sophomores, juniors or seniors who have some experience in a particular field. However, if we’re talking about regular conferences in say Middle East countries, they would consider the performance of freshman too. So in that context, maybe freshmen are considered for the more regular or small time conferences and seniors for the more important ones 🙂  Plus, we learn from small opportunities right?” –Sana  Britto

Feminism on a roll?

The conference has also triggered a lot of talks on whether the men have been deprived of a wonderful opportunity. However, many students do not think so.

“I dont think other genders were deprived, because men are generally given more opportunities so this was a chance for the women”- Muna al-husainy

“It’s interesting, because if there was a conference just for men, we’d all say that it’s sexist…(including myself :P)”-Anonymous

“Considering the nature of this conference, I don’t think sending men would be of any use. There are many other conferences that CMU has that send both male and female students.”- Nada Salem

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