STAFF EDITORIAL: Happy Women’s Empowerment Week, We’re Proud of You

Imagine being in a professional environment where everything you do is second-guessed by your co-workers. Imagine every time you weigh in on a conversation, a coworker begins to explain every little detail of the situation to you (most of which you already know). Imagine explaining to your coworkers something you are passionate about and immediately being told you’re overreacting. Imagine trying to direct subordinates on a project and being questioned at every turn or being ignored. This is the reality of working in a professional setting as a woman. 

We also acknowledge this reality for people who embrace a more femme identity who don’t identify as women. Today, even being perceived as a woman makes things difficult.

Specifically in the journalism field, women are at a disadvantage based on numbers alone. 

In 2020, Reuters did a study on women in the newsroom across four continents. They found that not one market included majority female editors. The US hovered around 40% of newsrooms that include top female editors. While that may seem ‘not that bad,’ it is not enough to merely open the door for women. 

This does not mean that women cannot be in the majority. The Torch, for example, includes a majority-women staff and a female Editor in Chief. Women do amazing work in journalism. 

As women in journalism, we are proud of ourselves for pushing through a hard pandemic year and still putting out content for the campus community. We are proud of our role as a voice for the campus community, especially with the testing issues and quarantine concerns that have come up this year. We are proud of ourselves for highlighting difficult topics that impact our campus community.

To our female readers, we are thankful for your support and encourage you to celebrate your accomplishments and keep following your dreams no matter what obstacles come your way.

To our female writers, we are so proud of the work that you have done and continue to do for our organization. You contribute so much and we are so thankful to have you as part of The Torch. Thank you for being a part of ensuring our community gets the information they need.

As women around the world continue to face violence and be publicly mocked, we continue to share their stories. As journalists, we are advocates for women who seek to deliver the truth and raise awareness for the struggles so many of us face.

Existing this year has been exceptionally harder than most. It’s been hard enough to take care of our basic needs, let alone take on the extra load of ensuring we keep ever-changing information as publicly accessible as possible. We’ve joined other women in journalism and steamrolled ahead, spending the past year reporting on COVID-19, systemic racism and oppressions and a turbulent national presidential election -- to name a few. 

We’re not saying women need to internalize the world’s largest problems and sacrifice our sanity. What we are saying is that women get things done no matter what. We’ve seen it across all the communities we identify with and it’s only magnified in recent months. 

We’ve seen it in Student Body President Kaitlyn Steinhiser who has never wavered in her fight for students’ rights, even if it meant standing alone. 

In Interim President Irwin-Knott’s adamant commitment to retiring the Crusader and leading us through the pandemic.

In Nicole Moy, the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Communication for continuously supporting the media organizations and keeping us running. 

In Nicole Niemi, the Chief Communications officer for Integrated Marketing and Communications -- campus would probably have burnt down if she hadn’t been at the helm in 2020. 

In Dr. Coleen Wilder, professor of Information and Decision Science and former leader at Arcelormittal, we see a role model who spent her career breaking gender barriers and inspiring her students to make the most of their talents.

In Kim Bellware, a Valpo alumna who now works for the Washington Post, we aspire to demonstrate the same grit and dedication as she has throughout her career. She gracefully shows us how to balance humanity with storytelling in her. Bellware also took the time to meet with the women of the Torch staff in 2019 to provide career advice and a perspective on what it means to be a woman in journalism.

Women continue to show up for one another. That’s what women do. 

Our community would not be the same without the strong women that lift it up. On this Women’s Empowerment Week we lift up the women who showed up, the women we lost and the women who are just getting started. 

- Women of The Torch

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