By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Talk about girl power!
Students from Fontbonne Hall Academy in Bay Ridge were among hundreds of young women who took part in the YWCA of New York City’s Potential to Power Girls Symposium, a recent event that brought together leaders from diverse backgrounds to foster awareness and social action regarding critical issues facing girls.
One of the goals of the symposium was to create a network of advocates to make changes that will benefit the next generation of women in school, career and life, according to Fontbonne officials.
"This was a wonderful experience for the girls. They came away with a deeper understanding of some of the issues that women still face in 2014, and a strong desire to raise awareness as a step towards equality,” Fontbonne Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric said.
Fontbonne Hall Academy is a Catholic high school for girls. The school is located on Shore Road and 99th Street.
During the symposium, the participants were separated into small groups consisting of girls and influential women who have taken their passion for gender equality into their careers and adult lives. The participants listened to presentations about the ways in which gender inequality affects girls and women around the city. The issues under discussion included the gender wage gap, unpaid maternity leave, and female images in the media.
The students heard statistics and discussed solutions to problems. At the end of the symposium, they were invited to go up to the microphones and share their thoughts about the day’s events.
The Fontbonne students said they were inspired by their experience and now understand the importance of educating girls about the state of women's rights today. The girls brought their enthusiasm back to school and have founded a new club, the Women’s Empowerment Club.
They plan to hold an assembly to speak with the entire school about the problems facing women and girls. The club leaders said they also plan to share their knowledge with other schools during the upcoming school year.
“The day was a great example of one of the benefits of single-sex education for girls,” Spicijaric said.
The Women’s Empowerment Club has already signed up 25 students as members, the principal said.