Three years ago, a Young Women in Business chapter was formed at the University of Saskatchewan to provide business resources for students who are women. This month, the club is celebrating its third anniversary and hopes to include a wider range of identities among its members.
YWiB is nationwide organization with 10 chapters in total. Initially conceived of as a network and conference community for young women in business, the group addresses the unique needs and interests of female entrepreneurs. Jenna Kachur, fourth-year marketing student in Edwards School of Business, has been part of the YWiB USask team for two years, first as photography co-ordinator and now as president.
Kachur says that she has witnessed first-hand the difficulties that women face in the workforce, and she hopes that the club’s events can provide students who identify as women with tools and connections to help them overcome these barriers.
“We need organizations like [YWiB] because women are at a disadvantage. A lot of the opportunities men have women don’t have because we are socialized to think we can’t do it,” Kachur said.
Another goal at YWiB USask, Kachur says, is to make the club more intersectional.
“As president, I want to listen to the voices that haven’t been heard and make sure that I am advocating for them,” Kachur said. “Basically, I don’t want the group to be middle-class white women saying ‘this is what feminism is.’”
As part of this interest in intersectionality, Kachur says that the club is also open to men.
“It’s not necessarily for men, but it’s for everyone — kind of like feminism is for everyone,” Kachur said. “A big part of it is getting men on board [who] want to champion women, especially in politics. That’s really important.”
Furthermore, Kachur says that the club is not limited to people in business; its focus is on workplace-related skills more widely. Going forward, she hopes for more diversity in the fields of study of the group members.
“Our main goal this year is connecting with more audiences — women from different fields,” Kachur said. “We don’t want the name ‘Women in Business’ to scare people off because they’re not in business. Everyone will be in the workforce at some point.”
Kachur describes club events, which include social nights, de-stressors and speed networking, as “relaxed events for members to meet members.” A yearly membership fee of $10 grants access to all events and a discount to the annual YWiB Beyond Conference in Vancouver.
On Nov. 15, YWiB USask is celebrating three years as a chapter at the U of S and 10 years as a national entity with an event held at Le Relais from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Kachur says the event will highlight successful women who will share their experiences as speakers.
“The anniversary is going to be not only a celebration of the organization but also a celebration of women successes in multiple industries,” Kachur said. “The main takeaway would be what you learn from [the speakers] — but also the feeling of empowerment and connectivity. Even though these are all women from different industries, a lot of our issues are pretty much the exact same.”
Updated: Nov. 5, 2018
Ana Cristina Camacho / Staff Writer
Photo: Young Women in Business / Supplied