Women of Influence

cosBy Karen Ortega

Top winners of Women of Influence Awards were recognized during special luncheon to draw attention to the inspirational and impactful works they do.

The Women’s Alliance, which supports the education and empowerment of women, in collaboration with the Office of Community Relations, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, held an event on April 14 at College of Southern Nevada’s North Las Vegas campus to honor six top women for the following award categories: faculty, administrative faculty, classified staff, adjunct, academic student and emerging leader student.

Sondra Cosgrove, committee chair of Women’s Alliance who ran the event, said, “The purpose of the process was to recognize women at CSN who make a difference in the lives of students. It was fulfilling to see women who do so much finally receive some recognition.”

Amy Rose, legal director at American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, opened the ceremony with an empowering speech. Rose spoke on issues affecting women across America including discrimination and objectification. She also spoke on the pay gap many women face.

According to Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which does studies on gender issues, in 2015 a full-time female worker made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Rose spends her days fighting for rights for people. Recently she helped at McCarran International Airport in the aftermath of the Trump travel ban that left many in hard predicaments. She wants women to stand up and be strong and fight the fight. “It starts with us stepping out of our comfort zone to have a lasting impact,” she said from the stage.

Faculty Award winner Sally Billings, professor of anthropology, said, “I felt very honored especially since there are so many hard working women deserving of this award so to be singled out was great and also very humbling.”

Billings has a message for young women, “Get an education. Having an education helps one to make better decisions and life choices and is something no one can ever take away from you. Don’t be afraid to be intelligent. Sometimes being and sounding intelligent can be threatening to some people but that’s their problem.”

Administrative Faculty Award winner Leticia Wells, program manager in academic affairs, said, “I felt so honored to be nominated and be recognized for the effort I do.”

Her message for young women is to reflect on the past. “Touch back and learn about women’s history. Better yet learn about important women of your own heritage background.” With that knowledge women can empower themselves to appreciate the advancements but understand the necessary work still yet to come.

Wells and Cosgrove want women to get involved in politics and flex their muscles to make change.

“If you want to be successful today you need two things; one, your own paycheck because women must be economically independent; and two, you need to know how to flex political muscle to finally win equal pay for equal work and to end discrimination,” Cosgrove said.

According to a 2017 study by Pew Research Center there are 21 women in the U.S. Senate and 83 in U.S. Congress. That means that women comprise approximately 20 percent in both branches, which is well below the demographics of the United States’ population that has 51.4 percent female. It’s time for women to get more politically active and equally represented in the nation.

“A person can’t change the world from the sidelines,” Cosgrove said. Events like these where women are uplifted and praised can make a difference in fueling other’s activism.


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