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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UW-Madison junior advocates for women’s equality through campus group

Lean In @ UW will hold its first meeting of the semester Thursday, but the organization’s Founder and President Amanda Rosso will not be in attendance.

Instead Rosso will be in San Francisco, representing the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s chapter of Lean In Circles and speaking alongside Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg about the importance of advancing women’s equality in the professional sphere.

Started by Sandberg, author of the eponymous book “Lean In,” Lean In Circles is a worldwide network of support groups targeted at empowering women to pursue their goals, professional and otherwise, by asking the question “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Now in its second full semester on campus, Lean In @ UW strives to do the same. Currently consisting of approximately 60 members, the organization works to build connections among women who can offer each other new perspectives and hold one another accountable for fulfilling their aspirations, Rosso said.

“It’s kind of like a book club without a book,” she explained. “You have a forum to talk about your passions, your desires, your dreams.”

In a way, Rosso, a UW-Madison junior studying marketing and healthcare management, came across the inspiration for the group through a personal network of her own: she first read “Lean In” when her grandmother bought it for her mom.

After reading the book, Rosso became “obsessed” with Sandberg’s message and contacted the organization with the goal of founding a campus chapter at UW-Madison.

“[Having Lean In Circles] is absolutely, vitally important for UW,” Rosso said. “It’s a really big school and it can be really easy to get lost or to feel like you aren’t succeeding … so I think circles, in that way, that support system, is really important.”

While Rosso said she hopes to see Lean In @ UW continue to grow and affect positive change, she added her ultimate goal would be for the organization to be rendered obsolete by virtue of universal gender equality.

“My favorite thing is seeing it change the way people think and seeing it affect the things that the women in the organization can do,” Rosso said. “Hopefully when I’m an alum and I come back there’s no need for Lean In @ UW.”

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