Leilani Stacy '18 A Finalist In The "Womenetics Advancing Aspirations Global Scholarship" Essay Contest

December 14, 2015
Leilani Stacy ‘18, a finalist in a national essay contest, snaps a picture with her mother at a gathering hosted by the contest’s sponsoring organization, Womenetics.

Leilani Stacy '18 was one of five students selected from a national pool of applicants as a finalist for the Womenetics Advancing Aspirations Global Scholarship. Hundreds of students from across the country submitted innovative ideas about women in the workplace. Stacy's essay, Building Confidence: From Policy to Practice, impressed judges with its insight into how Title IX impacts girls’ confidence both in and out of the classroom, and how it may help shape their development.

Title IX's impact on girls' access to athletics is perhaps the most well-known aspect of the law. Stacy's essay discusses how women's equal access to athletics positively affects performance in school and the workforce, but notes that there is still a disparity in athletic participation rates between boys and girls.

"Young girls learn confidence in the classroom, on the field, and at home, but as they grow older they face significantly more challenges than boys in maintaining that confidence, which limits their potential to lead later in life," Stacy wrote. "In addition to policy, we must address the implicit gender biases in our society by working within communities, families, and friends to encourage girls to reach as high as boys do and provide opportunities for young women to build their confidence for the future."

Stacy, a varsity athlete at Wellesley, links Title IX and athletics with STEM education and wrote that part of the solution for improving confidence is for women who compete in sports and have successful careers to give back by mentoring young girls. "If we...start to get girls excited about STEM at a younger age, we can break down [the] gender stereotypes that inhibit their future ambitions," she wrote.

Stacy wrote, "At my college, we have clubs that mentor younger girls in science and put on events such as a robotics workshops and science fairs, exclusively for girls. In settings like these, girls can build their individual and collective confidence without the threat of stereotypes looming overhead."

She continued, "Just allowing girls to "tinker" and build things lets them experiment by trial and error, problem solve, and learn like boys are already expected to do. Thus, if we start to promote girls’ interest in STEM and provide role models at a young age, they will grow up with the confidence that they, too, can succeed in STEM classes and professions."

The essay contest's sponsoring organization, Womenetics, is a community of businesswomen that works "to cultivate savvy women who positively impact their companies, community and our society." Stacy presented her essay, Building Confidence: From Policy to Practice, at the Womenetics' Global Women's Initiative conference in Chicago in November. Read Stacy's essay, and all the finalists' essays, on the Womenetics website.