Leading Women of Tomorrow Fosters Feminist Futures


LWT empowers female students to pursue ambitions in politics. (Courtesy of Instagram)

It’s been over 100 years since the women’s suffrage movement, but the fight for equal representation in government and politics is far from over. Today, women make up only  27% of Congress and 30% of state executives. The United States has yet to have a female president — Vice President Kamala Harris is the closest paragon for women in leadership and is the first and only woman to be elected to office after 59 presidential elections. Government is still a  male-dominated sector and the gender gap usually culminates on college campuses. Organizations such as student government and democrat and republican groups usually perpetuate this gaping gender disparity and fail to foster equality. Fordham University’s chapter of Leading Women of Tomorrow aims to bridge this gender gap by providing a community exclusively for women interested in politics to encourage them to explore careers in government.

Leading Women of Tomorrow (LWT) is a bipartisan student-run initiative that aims to equip undergraduate women with the skills, resources and confidence to become successful leaders in government and public service. It is rapidly growing as there are chapters in universities all across the country. Though Fordham’s chapter is relatively new, members of LWT are making strides on campus and in the community.

Club fundraising chair and treasurer Emma Lipkind, FCRH ’23, explained how LWT’s niche for politics is what inspired her to get involved. “There are other empowerment clubs for women in STEM and women in business, and politics is an equally intimidating field,” Lipkind explained how as an International Political Economy major, LWT was the perfect fit for her. “It’s important that LWT exists because it focuses on helping women who are interested in getting involved in this particular field,” she said. 

Lipkind started going to LWT meetings because she was interested in exploring a career in politics and found the club’s programs such as resume workshops and internship overviews to be very helpful. However, Lipkind stayed because of the welcoming and inclusive environment LWT created, which she appreciated the most. “The community itself is the best part. We’re a fun group and people who come to our meetings enjoy being with us,” she said. “We just want to create a space for women to feel comfortable and have fun discussing things that are important to them. Our goal is to educate and help women.”

Safe spaces are crucial in order for women to find solidarity in areas where they feel underrepresented. “It feels like women in college are still fighting to have a fair chance, especially at Fordham where male-dominated industries and careers are so big,” Lipkind said. She also discussed the implicit biases against women in male-dominated spaces, “Not only are women underrepresented and unappreciated but there are hardly any spaces for women to feel safe.” LWT creates a safe space for women to discuss politics. “It’s important to create a space at Fordham specifically for women who want to get involved in politics. While there are other political organizations on campus, LWT is the only one that provides a safe space for women to discuss political issues as they impact us — a perspective that is often disregarded otherwise,” Lipkind said.

As a women’s empowerment club, LWT focuses on learning about and tackling issues that affect women — issues that are also often disregarded. Currently, LWT is working with Part of the Solution (POTS), a Bronx-based organization that aims to fight poverty by providing residents with food and essentials. Together, LWT and POTS are fighting against period poverty in the Bronx by providing women in need with essential menstrual products. 

The last question I asked Lipkind was who her favorite feminist icon is. She answered Gloria Steinem, a social-political activist, renowned journalist and a prime example of everything LWT encourages young women to aspire towards.

If you are interested in exploring a career in politics and want to join a community of like-minded young women, you can find LWT on Instagram @lwtfordham for updates and information about their weekly meetings.