Maya Weinstein

Student

Location: Fort Myers, FL

"I realized that I was the only female on the committee, and that the rest of the members had already attached a stereotype to me."

When the finance committee of the student association at my school made me an aide instead of a senator, the position I had originally been offered, I was okay with it until our first meeting. That's when I realized that I was the only female on the committee, and that the rest of the members had already attached a stereotype to me.

I was just as capable, if not more, than the guys on the committee, and it was really important for me to prove this to them. It was such a Boys' Club; they had to deal with having a woman on board, and I didn't want to be treated any differently.

I continued going to meetings and expressing my opinions even though they didn't give me voting rights. I made suggestions and silenced their misogynistic comments. After a while they admitted that they thought they could get me to take notes and sit back in silence while the men took charge, just because I was a young woman. Upon their admission, I asked if their view of me had changed. They said it had.

Leaning in helped me realize how many people don't see past the label of 'woman.' I have proved to myself that I am so much more than just a label, and now I'm empowered to keep working until I get to the top.