In a collaboration with the University of Indianapolis Student Counseling Center and the Office of Inclusive Excellence, the Women’s Empowerment Boot Camp focused on empowering students who faced a conditioning for womanhood, according to Assistant Director of the Office of Inclusive Excellence CariAnn Freed. The final meeting took place on March 29, Freed said, it was the first time an event like this was held on campus. The event was a way for students to take a more critical look at societal conditioning of womanhood.
“Not everyone who participates might identify as a woman, but we all share this conditioning of womanhood, [which means] we’re conditioned in this state of what it means to be a woman [as well as] the obstacles you might come up against, the conflicting messages, the double standards that exist and how sometimes that can be disempowering for someone identifying as a woman,” Freed said. “[Also] the ways in which we try to break it down to things that you can do to re-empower yourself, regain your own power back and to move forth in the world, building healthier relationships and making decisions that align with your values.”
According to Freed, the event’s goal is to show women that they can make impactful change in their lives and the world around them. Freed said that women should know that they can take up space in society in an empowering way.
Graduate student in anatomical science Tesh-Lanea Galloway said she learned techniques for empowering herself and others along with other topics. According to Galloway, learning more about self love and conflict resolution helped her learn more about empowering women.
Freed said that the events discuss many topics that any attendant can apply to their life, regardless of experiences of womanhood. According to Freed, the events can help attendants better understand their place in the world, while also helping them achieve better outcomes with their relationships with themselves and others.
Galloway said her favorite experience from the event was learning more about self love. According to Galloway, it was important to discuss the relationship between self love and shame.
“One that stood out to me was the self love [workshop] where we wrote on plates [to] let go of shame and things that make us shameful for loving ourselves. I felt like that really helped me out,” Galloway said.
Freed said she wants the event to become something larger in the future, rather than a four part series. According to Freed, everyone needs help with understanding their own values and that the Women’s Empowerment Boot Camp opens discussion for this.
“I definitely think that the women’s empowerment camp will [still] definitely happen, but I’m hoping that it scales up. And then it’s something that can spread across the university no matter how you identify,” said Freed.