On Thursday, May 18th, the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) hosted 60 visiting students from the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina. Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy is an all-girl’s middle and high school that emphasizes leadership development, entrepreneurship, and community service. Their mission is to empower and prepare young women to become learners and leaders in both local and global spheres.

The students heard from WPSP Director Gwen K. Young and Program Associate Marie A. Principe, who introduced the Women in Public Service Project and the “50x50” vision of 50% representation of women in policy and political leadership by 2050. They briefly explained the statistics on women’s leadership globally, as well as the need for more diverse and equitable participation by women in all sectors of public service. In addition, they described WPSP’s key strategic pillars and initiatives being undertaken to advance the goal of closing the gap in public service.

Following the presentation, the students asked a series of questions on topics ranging from unconscious gender biases, to comparative gender equality around the world. In response to a question about attitudes towards women both in public and private spheres, Ms. Principe told the students: “Someone else’s perception of you because you’re a woman has nothing to do with your abilities.” Ms. Young also responded to a student who asked about narrowing down fields of study for women to focus on, encouraging them to study a wide and diverse range of subjects in order to discover their passions first.

The WPSP was pleased to welcome the students of Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy for an engaging and heartening conversation.It emphasized the importance of fostering dialogue regarding women in leadership and barriers to equality across all sectors. By equipping young women such as these with the tools to pursue leadership in public service, the WPSP is engaging the next generation in the 50x50 movement.