A league of their own: group aims to unite women

Matt Hellman | Lariat Photographer
Baylor Women’s League hosts a presentation featuring its community involvement after the Tea Party Wednesday in the Marrs McLean Science Building.

By Sally Ann Moyer

Rushing an organization is a large commitment that can take some prodding from friends.

The current president of Baylor Women’s League, San Antonio senior Shumaila Momin, rushed only after much encouragement from her friend and fellow member, Dallas senior Alisha Poonawala.

Momin looks back fondly upon her first Orientation Tea as the event where she first fell in love with the service organization.

Orientation Tea also drew the current vice president, La Feria senior Christina Robles, to Baylor Women’s League.

“Everyone was just so different and so welcoming and so fun; they just won me over right away,” Robles said. “The service opportunities and as well as the social events caught my interest.”

During Orientation Tea, potential members mingled with current members while enjoying light refreshments and a slideshow of photos from past events.

Rushing Baylor Women’s League involves attending at least three of the four scheduled events and a mandatory interview.

The service organization was founded in 1987 in response to Baylor’s Chamber of Commerce not allowing women to rush. While Baylor’s Chamber of Commerce allowed women the following semester, Baylor Women’s League continued as a separate organization, dedicated to advocating women’s issues.

“Our mission statement is, ‘Baylor Women’s League is a service organization dedicated to the personal development and professional development of its members.’ So we try to also kind of promote that sort of statement within our members and externally as well,” Momin said.

Baylor Women’s League also exists to raise awareness about women’s issues, Robles said.

The diversity among members and a smaller size sets it apart from other campus organizations, Poonawala said.

There are about 15 current members.

The women represent different ethnic groups, religious beliefs, majors and backgrounds. Diversity is part of what attracted Momin and what she thinks actually unites the women.

She said their being different allows them to be more open-minded.

Baylor Women’s League hosts two major campuswide events each year: Breaking Boundaries in the fall and Women in the Workplace in the spring.

“The whole purpose of [Breaking Boundaries] is to talk about personal issues that women have in society,” Momin said.

Last fall’s event provided an opportunity for women to open up about personal issues, Momin said.

“Girls really opened up about what they really want from life, not just what the pressures of life and what they’re expected to do,” Momin said.

Women in the Workplace highlights women who have achieved success in fields where women are underrepresented or underpaid. This year’s theme will be Women in Entrepreneurship.

“The business school is a really big thing, and maybe a lot of women there have certain fields that they want to go into but maybe we can encourage them to look into becoming an entrepreneur, starting their own businesses,” Robles said.

Baylor Women’s League will host Health Day, an event normally associated with Breaking Boundaries, in late March this year. The event brings awareness to issues women have difficulty talking about with other people or amongst themselves, Momin said.

This year, Health Day will focus on educating female students about sexual health issues and resources available on campus.

Baylor Women’s League’s weekly meetings focus on members encouraging each other to succeed through examples of inspirational women.

“At our general meetings we tend to talk about women — inspiring women — and each member will come and just talk about a person or a woman that inspired her and share that with the group,” Momin said.

Members serve at the Family Abuse Center and the YMCA, another opportunity to support women.

“The reason [the kids] come to the Y is because their moms are working and so it’s kind of our way to help them, to help the moms out while they’re gone,” Poonawala said.

While Baylor Women’s League is a service organization, it also hosts social functions for its members.

“Basically if it’s based on a holiday, we have a social event for it,” Robles said.

Current members maintain strong connections with alumnae through Homecoming events and Baylor Women’s League’s Facebook page, Robles said.

“A lot of them keep in touch with us, and they are super supportive,” Poonawala said.