Photo by Milan Loiacono
For junior international business major Elizabeth Chung, the ideology of feminism is much more than bringing a voice to women — it’s about creating harmony between all individuals, regardless of gender.
Chung said this is something she learned from her mother.
“She taught me a lot about leadership,” Chung said. “It’s not always about you being the first one to say something or, like, making sure your opinions are heard but you holding true to your values.”
Chung said compassionate leadership can sometimes pack the most punch, even though most leaders in the public eye take a more assertive or vocal approach. Her mom always displayed strength and interpersonal skills in the household, shaping her development as an individual.
To outsiders, Chung said, her dad appears to be the obvious leader. But when it comes to important family decisions, he always turns to her mom. Chung has modeled her mother’s leadership on campus, especially with her position within the nationally-recognized International Justice Mission (IJM) organization.
As president of Pepperdine’s IJM chapter, Chung said she has strengthened her leadership skills and self-acceptance.
“As I was leading e-board meetings or, like, general member meetings, I reflected a lot about my leadership,” Chung said. “As a woman, or as a girl, I just wanted to be able to show that I was an effective leader.”
This year, Pepperdine’s IJM chapter is focusing on advocacy, raising awareness on campus about human trafficking. Just one of 90 campus chapters in the U.S., the organization comes from a place of compassion and awareness — two traits Chung said she highly values.
When she was younger, Chung said she felt as though she had to adapt to society’s expectations of what a woman should be, especially because her Korean culture expects girls to be more quiet and soft-spoken than their male counterparts. As she’s become older, however, she’s learned to appreciate her resilience and unique characteristics.
“Being outgoing and assertive — like, that’s fine,” Chung said. “I can totally embody those characteristics as well as the next person, whether that’s a man or a woman. … I don’t need to change myself in order to meet those expectations.”
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