Your Voice | Moving forward together

College freshman Ariel Koren writes about confronting the female leadership issue as a team

· February 22, 2012, 9:30 pm   ·  Updated February 23, 2012, 10:15 pm

No one can argue against the fact that a woman who pursues a leadership position will experience the challenges inherent in being a female leader.

However, I remain firm in my belief that the greatest weapon with which to confront this issue is optimism.

Progress is a constant, forward motion. It is uplifting and inspiring. It is gratifying and word-worthy. And it is reason to celebrate.

Progress is a liberating and exciting cycle, because progress has no end. It is on-stretching and unceasing and regenerative and renewable. There is always more to be had.

Less than a century ago, women could not vote in elections. Today, we can run in them.

So while today, there might be a disproportionately low number of females in leadership positions here at Penn, my instinct is to hold my shoulders back like the women before me — to march onward, sanguine and encouraged, in pursuit of the change that tomorrow can bring.

When we commemorate the distance we’ve covered since the time when repression characterized the female experience, when we pick up our chins and trek with confidence into what we hope will be a brighter future and when we accept that we are all on the same team, the world is ours. We break ground and take flight.

Things aren’t perfect for women — or for men — at Penn or in the world. But I am thrilled to be in a time and on a campus in which I, as an individual, could be elected the president of my class on a platform of inclusion and embracement of diversity, celebrating what everyone brings to the table — male and female alike.

To the 13 women who wrote a response that captured, not at all inaccurately, the struggles we overcome day to day, and to College junior Lauren Agresti, whom I do admire for her courage to raise her voice: We are not at war. We are a team.

Highlighting our obstacles is important. But it is only a part of a bigger equation. The whole equation is the exciting and rewarding sum of bi-gender leadership.

We are all in this together.

Ariel Koren, the 2015 Class Board President, is a College freshman from Jacksonville, Fla. Her email address akoren@sas.upenn.edu.

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