This International Women’s Day, we’re not only celebrating the women we count as colleagues, peers, and friends, but we’re also celebrating the fifth anniversary of NAFSA’s member interest group Women and Leadership in International Education (WLIE). In the 5 short years since it was founded by Mindy Hansen, EdD, the group has gained over one thousand members!
As leaders of this member interest group (MIG), our goal is to ensure this group continues to realize its core mission: to engage, empower, and advance women in the field of international education. We carry this mission through its fifth year and beyond to support women in advancing and achieving gender parity and diversity in international education leadership.
We are particularly proud of this community and its objectives: This MIG provides research, advocacy, career advising, mentorship, professional development, and networking opportunities to all members. In the future, we’d like to see more research in this area and expanded opportunities for collaboration and mentorship.
We find inspiration and hope in engaging and collaborating with our colleagues. During the pandemic, as noted by Diversity Abroad, women—disproportionately over men—made job sacrifices. This has a direct impact on women’s trajectory toward leadership positions. As a group committed to leadership engagement, we must pivot and make our events and content relevant. We aim to be practical, yet inspirational.
Our hope is that our roster of events planned for this year for both International Women’s Day on March 8, as well as our upcoming session at the NAFSA 2022 Annual Conference & Expo will do just that: engage and inspire women in a relevant and contextual way.
As we look toward the future, women in international education have an opportunity to support each other as we continue to grow into leadership. Each of these day-to-day interactions, discussions, and milestones matter. We hope you join us at our next event, check out the articles we post, and actively pursue the next step in your own leadership journey: We need your diverse voice now more than ever.
Chasity Drew is the associate director of international student and scholar services at East Tennessee State University and the marketing and outreach coordinator of the NAFSA Women and Leadership in International Education Member Interest Group.
Jennifer Fullick, PhD, is senior director of global engagement at TCS Education System, a nonprofit system of colleges advancing student success and community impact and co-chair of the NAFSA Women and Leadership in International Education Member Interest Group.
Angela Miller, PhD, is the director of academic programs abroad at Louisiana State University, and co-chair of the NAFSA Women and Leadership in International Education Member Interest Group.