Recently, my office hosted the fourth annual “Women’s Leadership Summit: Together We Rise” at Xavier University, where we joined several southwest Ohio business and community partners to bring together more than 600 women who are lifting up their communities in southwest Ohio and playing leadership roles around the state.
We started the conference in 2015, to bring together women from across Ohio, from all backgrounds, for a day of career and advocacy workshops, inspiring speakers, and making connections with other Ohio women.
One of the sessions this year focused on “change from the bottom up,” and featured women leading local initiatives in Southwest Ohio. These are women creating change in their communities – whether it’s fighting infant mortality, or helping women find their voice after sexual assault and abuse; making sure our schools are preparing children for the jobs of tomorrow, or helping lead the efforts to invest in pre-K education.
Another workshop was led by Women of Cincy, an organization founded last winter to help bring women of all backgrounds and views together. The group interviews Cincinnati women, recording their stories and sharing them on social media, hoping that people might see glimpses of themselves in others.
And for the first time, this year the conference offered free childcare to anyone attending the conference. Millions of Ohio women are balancing motherhood with careers and supporting their families, and too often, the lack of affordable childcare stands in the way of opportunities. We wanted to make sure mothers’ voices were heard at this conference
We’ve seen over the past year the power women can have when they raise their voices, get involved in their communities, and press for change. Record numbers of women are running for office. Women are leading businesses and families and movements across the country. And that’s what this year’s conference was all about – supporting women, and lifting up their voices.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.