The most common program theme we have hosted this year deals with the role of women in society. Just recently, we welcomed three groups of female visitors participating on the programs “Women as Political and Community Leaders”, “Change Makers: Women in Social and Political Sectors”, and “Women as Political Leaders”. A majority of these visitors are from the Middle East and Africa however, we did also host visitors from other countries, such as Norway and Ireland. Programs focusing on women as political leaders often include participants from countries where women’s rights are more limited than those in the United States. Therefore, they are often invited on these IVLP programs to learn about women’s empowerment in the US.
The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution emphasizes that men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States. This includes equal economic and political opportunities for women. The United States explicitly states equal
rights and opportunities for all because women’s rights are a fundamental human right. And at SACIV, we are honored to expose international women, who may not have access to such opportunities in their home countries, to successful political women here in San Antonio. And luckily, San Antonio is home to various successful female entrepreneurs, politicians, activists, and leaders.
The objective of these women leader programs intends to expose the delegation to women and organizations that advocate for female engagement in order to examine successful practices. Delegates take note of efficient skills or initiatives which they can hopefully apply back in their respective home countries. Specifically, the guests look for female participation at the local, state, and federal level, as well as women’s access to education and jobs, leadership training, and networking skills.
The agendas for these programs usually include similar meetings comprised of specific individuals and organizations local to San Antonio. For example, meetings with LiftFund and the Women’s Business Center expose our delegation to resources available to female entrepreneurs. Along with these informative meetings, which are dense in skills and leadership training, meetings are arranged with individuals here in San Antonio with profound stories of their political or economic success. In these informal and more intimate meetings, the speakers share with our visitors their trials as women and how they overcame obstacles, many of which the visitors relate to. To name a few, Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, Politician Leticia Van de Putte, and Business owner Patricia Stout, have repeatedly taken the time out of their busy schedules to meet with our visitors attending these programs.
We hope that our visitors leave us inspired and motivated regardless of their specific objective in mind. Our goal is to expose them to people and organizations that promote skills and advocate for female involvement in any society. The recent “#metoo” publicity emphasizes just how seriously female discrimination is and how even in the United States, there are profound improvements to be made. Nonetheless, SACIV is proud to host so many women-leader programs and we hope to welcome just as many, if not more, this 2018.