Empowering Each Other

Women support one another toward success.

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Nitya Shamdasani

Senior Nitya Shamdasani (left) expresses that her sister, Farheen (right), is someone that she could consult with especially regarding her academic life.

In the 21st century, the notion that women are inferior to men is outdated. However, today, women still face challenges due to this perception. While this is slowly changing, there is still room to improve.

Ms. Maya Nelson, the interim Head of School, emphasized the importance of raising each other and supporting the growth of all regardless of gender. However, she elaborated how women still need extra support from fellow women at times.

 

 

Senior Nitya Shamdasani (left) expresses that her sister, Farheen (right), is someone that she could consult with especially regarding her academic life. (Nitya Shamdasani)

SUPPORT FROM FAMILY

Senior Nitya Shamdasani is involved in many activities on campus. She is the founder of the Saraswati Learning Center (SLCxJIS), co-president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, officer of the Code Red service club and a part of the Student Activities Board.

Nitya was also recently accepted to Cornell University as a hospitality major. However, there was initial doubt coming from her parents when she was about to apply to hospitality because it was a male-dominated field.

“I really thought that was a stupid [reason] to not apply for hospitality,” Nitya said. “Women, of course, can do anything that men can do, and that’s not something that [is going to] stop me from applying.”

The one person who has helped her with various matters relating to clubs and college applications is her sister, Farheen Shamdasani (Class of 2020). She was also involved in the JIS community and had similar interests as Nitya. Farheen would give inputs regarding club events and help Nitya show her interest in the college she was applying.

 

 

Chief Financial Officer Easy Arisarwindha highlights the importance of fellow women’s role in supporting the success of one. (Easy Arisarwindha)

SUPPORT FROM COLLEAGUES

As the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at JIS, Ibu Easy Arisarwindha is responsible for ensuring that the school has enough funding for its needs so that learning can go smoothly. Before JIS, she has worked as a civil engineer and has been a CFO for three different companies.

There are significantly fewer female than male CFOs in Indonesia. “You sit down [during conferences], and everybody [at] your table are men,” Ibu Easy said. “There’s nothing wrong with it. I’m sure they get where they are because they do what they need to do. But, it’s always nice when you have a friend.”

With that said, she would connect with other C-level executives in the industry—especially women—to share their experiences and ask each other questions.

Being a CFO and a mother, Ibu Easy highlighted how there is a whole network supporting her consisting primarily of working women. There is the babysitter who helps take care of her children, her childrens’ female teachers, her mother who visits occasionally and fellow working mothers who have each other’s back.

“Behind every successful woman, there [are] so many other women who support her,” she remarked.

 

Head of School Maya Nelson recounts how her mentors supported her throughout her journey as a woman in a leadership position. (Maya Nelson)

SUPPORT FROM MENTORS

Growing up, Ms. Nelson has had a deep passion for education. Throughout her career of 35 years, she has been a teacher and held leadership positions in several different schools across the globe. Today, she holds the position as the interim Head of School.

Being a woman in leadership position in a profession where “not as many women are leaders,” she encountered several challenges—mainly in her subconscious.

“Are the decisions made because I didn’t do a good job, or is it because I’m a female?” Ms. Nelson often wondered. “Would it have been different if it was a male?”

She feels fortunate to have strong female and male mentors who helped her push forward in the path of leadership as a woman. One particular person who supported her throughout her journey was Ms. Cathy Funk, a middle school principal at Taipei American School.

“I think everyone needs mentors, and everyone needs coaches,” Ms. Nelson said. “She was one of those people who was both.”

 

JIS AND GENDER EQUALITY

At JIS, it is common to see women in esteemed positions. Everyone is treated with equal respect here. Bahasa Indonesia teacher Ibu Genoveva Tersiandini—who has taught at JIS for 22 years—expressed that she has never received different treatment because of her gender. Though, it is crucial for all members of the JIS community to maintain this behavior beyond JIS. It is so that we, as a larger society, can march toward gender equality.