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Women Empowerment - Alpha Omicron Pi

Since the organization’s founding on January 2, 1897, Alpha Omicron Pi has stood for female empowerment in a patriarchal world, and helped to foster a multitude of inspirational and powerful women with incredible accomplishments across diverse fields. Our four founders are a testament to this legacy. Jessie Wallace Hughan established the War Resisters League, advocating for peace in opposition to World War I, and was nominated as Secretary of State in New York. Helen St. Clair Mullan graduated first in her class at New York University Law School, a huge accomplishment given the male-dominated nature of the legal profession in the 20th century. Stella George Stern Perry created her own advertising agency, and served as the New Jersey Inspector of Labor for Women and Children. Last but not least, Elizabeth Heywood Wyman expanded AOII internationally, and wrote a number of short stories for Girl Scout Magazine. The hard work and persevering spirit of each of these women is reflected in the AOII motto, Inspire Ambition, and their lives serve as shining examples of what it means to be empowered for AOII sisters today.

On a more personal note, when I joined AOII in the fall of 2020, I was looking primarily for the chance to make friends with similar interests and to expand my social life in light of the pandemic. I didn’t realize at the time that not only would I be meeting new friends, I would be surrounded by an incredible group of women who strive for the highest in all areas of life. Whether it be through academic achievements, musical accomplishments, sports and fitness, or personal emotional growth, mentors of all kinds can be found in the Beta Tau chapter. Seeing alumna and former chapter president Ann Marie Elpa passionately pursue a career in journalism and pageantry inspires me to put myself out there and have a voice on the public stage. Listening to my pledge group sister Sarah McIntyre’s first jazz single on trumpet, “Closer”, and watching her advocate for widespread acknowledgement of jazz as a musical genre indebted to BIPOC artists, motivates me to think creatively and to acknowledge my privilege. There are too many inspirational sisters to name here, but on the whole, I truly feel that joining AOII has allowed me to learn from and with a community of women on their journey towards empowerment. Moreover, getting involved with the Leader’s Council and/or sub-committees of AOII presents a fantastic opportunity to improve communication, leadership, and public speaking skills, all of which contribute towards a greater sense of confidence in yourself.

Being empowered to me means having the confidence and strength of character to push back against the many obstacles experienced by women (like sexism, mansplaining, rape culture, harassment, the wage gap, you name it) and stand strong in the face of what can feel like overwhelming adversity. It’s difficult to achieve a sense of empowerment on your own, but with a network of sisters standing behind me, I feel like I’m getting closer.

- Alpha Omicron Pi

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