Sophia Balunek

Equity Chair Emma Fox, a senior, Marketing Executive Lauren Drasher, a senior, President Emily Howard, a senior, Vice President Marielle Clerc, a senior, and Secretary of Communication Marguerite Jouët, a sophomore (Left to right) in Kalkin Hall March 25.

Student-run club supports women in business school

March 30, 2022

Walking into a classroom where you are one of five women in a class of 25 can be intimidating, said senior Emily Howard, UVM’s Women in Business club president. 

WIB began promoting equity and diversity within the Grossman School of Business and across UVM in 2016, Howard said. Howard and WIB Vice president Marielle Clerc, a senior, lead the club.

The leaders of the WIB club support their members through panels and discussions with local businesspeople, as well as resume and LinkedIn workshops, Howard said. 

“Our focus is to create a community and a space for women in such a male dominated industry and to gather, have support and build each other up,” Howard said.

UVM’s Grossman School of Business is made up of roughly 36.3% women, one of the largest disparities in college gender enrollment according to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. 

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences is the college with the highest percentage of women, and 84.6% of CNHS students identified as female in 2021, according to the OIRA.

Additionally, GSB ranks second lowest in enrollment of people of color, with about 10% of the population identifying as a person of color, according to the OIRA. 

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has the highest percentage of people of color, and 13% of students in CALS identify as a person of color, according to the OIRA.

WIB recently began expanding the idea of community to reach often neglected groups within business, like women of color, said equity chair Emma Fox. 

Fox’s role as equity chair is one of the new additions to the club to make it more equitable for all women, Clerc said. 

Women often feel intimidated because they are in the minority in their business classes, Howard said. 

“Within Grossman we have the marketing club, we have the finance club, we have the accounting club,” Fox said. “But there hasn’t really been anything besides the Women in Business club that speaks to diversity in any sense.”

Additionally, it is important to teach women how to deal with issues like sexual harassment and microaggressions in the workplace, Howard said. 

In corporate jobs, 34% of all female employees reported sexual harassment by a colleague, according to a 2019 study conducted by Harvard Business Review

The club empowers its members and fosters community through partnership events with the Women and Gender Equity Center. These events bring in speakers who help prepare their members for a business career, Howard said. 

The invited speakers teach students to be assertive, Howard said.

“Men don’t often have an issue with being able to exert presence around people and take charge,” Howard said. “But women often feel like they aren’t in that position or are immediately placed outside of that position by colleagues.”

The club’s support extends beyond just business majors. Resume workshops and panels draw women from across the UVM community, Howard said.

“We’ve had a lot of people coming in from other majors who don’t have a lot of professional development in their school,” Howard said. “It’s been nice to mentor and guide people who aren’t in the business school but need help with finding jobs.”

Joanne Pencak is the WIB faculty adviser.

“The folks running the Women in Business club, they do a really good job,” Pencak said. “They have a lot of initiative.”

The WIB will continue to provide a community for women in business as long as necessary, Howard said.

WIB club meets Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in Ifshan Hall.

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