Young Woman of the Month: Jillian Chambers {February 2017}

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Name: Jillian Chambers
Age: 21
Location: Stratford, CT

Q. Can you tell us a little about your life path? What are you doing in your career and community right now and what lead you there?

A. I have lived in Connecticut my whole life; I am from Stratford and currently attend the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Upon graduating, I want to attend UConn law school and pursue a law career in Connecticut. Suffice to say, I am invested in the progress of the state, especially in policy that directly affects me as a young woman.

I am currently a junior political science and human rights double major, and also an intern this legislative session with the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors (CWCS). While searching for internship opportunities for the semester, CWCS immediately caught my eye because it would allow me to use what I have learned in my political science and human rights courses and apply them in a practical setting. I have always been interested in Connecticut politics and legislative policy, and now I get to experience it firsthand.

Q. What does young women’s leadership mean to you?

A. Young women’s leadership means women in positions of power, whether it is a club at school, a local volunteer group, or in elected office. As a political science major, I am all too aware of the lack of gender diversity, and diversity in general, in Congress. Almost 100 years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Congress is still not close to representing the population of women in the United States. Young women leaders can show other women who are apprehensive about running for office that yes, they can and should run. More diverse voices in the political sphere will move policy forward that benefits those who have historically been left out of the process.

Q. Do you consider yourself a feminist? What does feminism mean to you?

A. I have always considered myself a feminist. I have been lucky to be surrounded by strong feminist women in my life, like my mother, aunts, professors, schoolmates and friends. For me, feminism advocates for the equal political, economic and social rights for women, regardless of race, age, sex, or economic factors. Additionally, I think it is imperative that feminism recognize the intersectionality of their movement with that of other oppressed groups.

Q. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other young women, ages 18-35, about how to build their leadership skills or the importance of becoming a leader?

A. My one piece of advice that I would give to other young women on how to build their leadership skills is to get out there even if you are scared or nervous. You can never know whether or not you will be hired, elected, or chosen unless you apply. Believe in your own abilities and qualifications, and others will too. Also, empower the other women in your life to do the same. Sometimes that extra encouragement will be the thing that finally inspires them to become a leader as well.

Young Women Rising celebrates one young woman each month by sharing their story here on our blog. If you know of a young woman between the ages of 18-35 that we should consider including please email us at michelle.noehren@cga.ct.gov.

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