January 21, 2016
By: Katelyn Becker
WASHINGTON- Caroline Jureller, a senior at American University, is showing women can run the world, and the workplace.
Jureller is the co-president of Lean In at AU, which is a global club that promotes gender equality through small circle discussions. Jureller and a recent graduate brought it to AU during her sophomore year. They formed the group after reading the book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg.
Jureller came to AU because she said it was “a place where students had a voice.” This feature became more important to her as she became an upperclassman and desired leadership. When her friend approached her to form a “Lean In circle” at AU, Jureller said, “yea absolutely.”
Since her sophomore year she has organized small groups called Lean In circles where women and men can talk about the gender issues they face at work and on a daily basis. Jureller said she became passionate about gender equality when she came to college and while interning felt the gender imbalance among her coworkers.
Regarding career choices, “a lot of women take themselves out of the game before they’re even playing,” Jureller said. In the book Sandberg wrote about a woman who was scared to apply for a job because she feared it would interfere with marriage and children. The kick was, the woman wasn’t in a relationship yet and wasn’t a mother.
The book is relatable for both men and women according to Jureller. “Women can’t succeed without the help of men,” said Jureller. She explained that women are often too afraid to speak up, then men become unaware of the challenges women face.
Jureller described that gender equality also relies on the way women view themselves and their goals. She said that many women doubt their abilities. “I used to ask myself why” and after reading the book, “I started thinking why not,” Jureller said.
To her, the most exciting part of being involved is the global reach that Lean In circles have established. After attending a Lean In conference in California, Jureller realized tens of thousands of women were attending these circles from the Middle East, to China to the U.S. military.
Outside of AU, Jureller has started circles at high schools back home in New Jersey. Her job after graduation even has a Lean In circle at the office. She also said that continuing her advocacy has a lot to do with the way she views women on a daily basis. Jureller said, “women helping other women is something I take with me in every single setting.”