(India). On 13 March 2021, the Auxilium College of Arts & Science for Women in Regunathapuram – Our Lady of the Snow Province (INT) – organized the Webinar entitled “Participation of millennial women in politics and leadership” which involved the FMA Institutions of Higher Education of Asia (ISS – FMA Asia): Auxilium College Vellore (INM), Auxilium College Regunathapuram, Auxilium College of Education (INT), Auxilium College Udalguri, Assam (ING), Mary Our Help Technical Institute (Philippines), Mary Help of Christians College (Philippines) and Saibi Gakuen College (Japan). More than a thousand participants followed online through the Auxilium College YouTube channel, and about 90 students and some members of the school staff, through the Zoom platform.
The seminar was aimed at women, especially millennials – the generation of those born between 1980 and 2000 – who enter the world of work, or who take on leadership roles. The aim of the Webinar was to consider the presence of millennial women in companies, to understand the increases and decreases in numbers in leadership roles, starting from their entry into the world of work.
For women, gender equality is of fundamental importance. Millennial women enter the workforce in similar numbers to men, even if they are not yet adequately represented in leadership roles. Processes towards gender equality and workplace inclusion have begun, but change is still slow, especially at the leadership level.
At the beginning of the Webinar, Sr. Ivone Goulart Lopes, Collaborator of the Youth Ministry Sector and Referent for the ISS-FMA, Sr. Runita Borja, General Councilor for the Youth Ministry Sector, and Sr. Lolia Annie, collaborator of the Sector intervened.
Sr. Peter Selvarani, Principal of Auxilium College was the moderator of the meeting and greeted the participants and introduced the speakers: Sr. Amalanathan Mary Margaret, President of the Interprovincial Conference of India (PCI) and Provincial of the INT Province, Sr. Regina Mary, member of the ISS-FMA Asia coordination group, and Fr. Johny Arockiaraj, Researcher of the Department of International Relations, University of South Asia in Delhi.
Sr. Amalanathan Mary Margaret introduced the theme by describing millennials: “They are considered the most connected generation, raised during the Internet age, communicating via email and social media.” She stressed how proactive and more confident at work they are, how they love to work as a team and seek challenges. Sr. Mary Margaret concluded by saying that an environment which shapes a person’s behavior through values and beliefs that lead to the belief that everyone has the ability to guide themselves is crucial.
Sr. Regina Mary began her report by reflecting on how countries with female leaders managed the Covid-19 pandemic and on the fact that Pope Francis has increased the number of women engaged in ministries and leadership roles in the Church.
The presenter P. Johny Arockiaraj spoke about the participation of women in politics, starting with the questions: what is politics? What is participation? He said that politics begins in the minds of citizens, through their way of thinking. He presented episodes that arise from conflicting ideas about women’s rights with respect to public opinion. He spoke of the contribution of women from underdeveloped countries and highlighted the areas of women’s participation. After a historical review on the three waves of feminism, he developed the theme of political empowerment and the representation of women in the Indian legislatures. The challenges on which the participants’ debate opened were violence against women, literacy rate, level of education, and discriminations.
Sr. Lolia Annie shared her reflection in an educational key: “Leaders are not born, they are formed. Therefore, the first and most important step towards empowerment is to change mentality and to put into play all values, spiritual and human. It is possible to form good young leaders if you are convinced that they are the first fruits of today’s society and the leaders of tomorrow”.