Young Women’s Leadership Symposium Flyer located in Clement regarding information about the event. Photo taken by Chalise Miller I The All State

The annual Young Women’s Leadership Symposium is a major event that no one should miss.  

Held on March 24th between 8:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. in the MUC Ballroom, the goal of the event is to bring girls and women from ages 16-24 into the political field and mold them so that they will understand their own capabilities. 

The event is led by its founder, professor, and interim chairperson, Dr. Marsha Lyle-Gonga. 

As she began to explore her career field, Dr. Lyle-Gonga realized that there was a lack of women in politics. When she questioned this, she was often told that politics is a man’s job. 

Dr. Lyle-Gonga highlighted this issue, stating that, “Tennessee and Kentucky are at worst with very, very few women in leadership positions, especially in politics. Few women are in these supposedly masculine fields. The qualities that women possess can and will encourage others to push this narrative out and bring other women in to make a change.” 

However, Dr. Lyle-Gonga knew that women possessed leadership skills, and she wanted to increase the number of women in politics. 

In 2011, she took things into her own hands. 

The Young Women’s Leadership Symposium has been Dr. Lyle-Gonga’s baby ever since, starting with as few as 30 students. Now, an estimated 103 students have registered for this amazing event. 

During this time, those that register for the event will have the opportunity to hear from women and their experiences to encourage their younger peers to go after their dreams and to understand that adversities do not mean the end. 

However, attendees can expect a little spin this year. 

According to Dr. Lyle-Gonga, “Last year it was about working and understanding women’s roles in politics. This year I wanted to focus on self-care activities to encourage the audience to breathe and know it is okay to not be okay. We should celebrate life, decide where we should go moving forth, and, most importantly, learn how to be an advocate for women and definitely yourself.” 

All too often, young people shy away from adversity, but this event will be the perfect opportunity for students to learn how to be fearless and chase after what you desire. 

Dr. Lyle-Gonga also urges young men to come to the event to encourage unity, learning together, and creating the change society needs.