Rutgers 'I Demonstrate Educated Beauty' club encourages sisterhood among students
A Rutgers debutant program is striving for the progression of women and to shed a light on women's issues in contemporary society by shaping the character of the club's members.
"I Demonstrate Educated Beauty" is a multicultural women's empowerment student organization seeking to teach women useful business and leadership skills, as well as social etiquette.
Ugochi Anwanyu joined the club on a whim when she was 19. Since then, the School of Arts and Sciences senior has become president of the club and said her biggest accomplishment has been maintaining the club’s momentum.
“I'm extremely proud of my organization because we're creating a little ... family. It's so cool to see people genuinely interested in us. I think that has to be the biggest accomplishment and I pray we just keep getting better and building off of that,” she said.
The club's main purpose was to help foster sisterhood, she said. They are working to create a stronger sense of sisterhood throughout the campus while promoting higher education and instilling a stronger sense of self in women.
“We want to teach women how to be strong ... on their own and teach them the importance of education. We want to create friendships and help build a sisterhood,” Ugochi said.
The club has weekly general body meetings on Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. in the Livingston Student Center's Room 202C, where discussions are held about what a woman is, natural beauty, financial tips, networking tips, societal norms and the value of education, Ugochi said.
“We hold a bunch of charity events such as our annual In Memory of the Arts talent show, where proceeds go to the Alzheimer's Association. Also our annual date auction, A Date With IDEB, which is my favorite event," Ugochi said. "All proceeds from that go to the Susan G. Komen foundation."
The club held its first H.E.R Gala this year, which celebrated women in history and in the Rutgers community in honor of women’s history month. The club is starting an "IDEB week" with events that include community service and networking programs.
“We’re also having our first ever Ladies Night Out, which is just a relaxed and chill get-together at the Rutgers Zone,” Ugochi said.
There are multiple perspectives on having the club be exclusively for women, but the argument used to preserve women’s clubs is the same argument that is used to preserve women’s colleges, said Deborah Carr, a professor in the Department of Sociology.
“Women often are silent, and they don’t feel confident speaking their minds when they’re in a group of men," she said. "And there is evidence to support that, studies show that men will listen more to men even when a woman is saying the exact same thing. So I think it provides a safe and supportive environment for women."
The club seems beneficial to women, Carr said. Women have not had as many role models, so having women teaching relevant skills to other women, especially workplace skills, it is very important.
"IDEB has helped me become a better version of myself," Ugochi said. "The goal is true, we help to empower women, and IDEB has done that for me. I've found that I've grown more confident in who I am and comfortable in my idea of what a woman is rather than what society tells me a woman is. IDEB has taught me to find women who are looking for their "home" and help them become their best self."
Sanjana Chandrasekharan is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in political science. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.
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