2015 IW Winners

Thunder Bay | Essay Scholarship

Julia Stolz

Julia Stolz

Women have to work harder than their male counterparts to reach the same level of success, said Julia Stolz, the winner of the 2015 Influential Women essay scholarship competition.

In her essay on the importance of women’s leadership in today’s society, Stolz, who is a Grade 12 student at Thunder Bay’s St. Patrick’s High School, shared the experience of a role model who inspired her as a member of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets in Thunder Bay.

The female officer she wrote about was one of the first girls to join the cadets.

“At that time, women joining the cadets was a major challenge,” Stolz wrote.

“This particular officer, who went through this transitional time of sexual inequality, said it influenced her to become a strong leader, and now, both men and women at the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets respect her.”

Stolz also described her own experience with the cadets, and how her success pushed the male cadets to exceed their own comfort zones.

In one example, Stolz wrote about a beep test – a progressive physical endurance test – in which all the other girls dropped out at the second level, but she continued to level seven.

Most of the boys in the group stuck with Stolz to level seven, but dropped out after she called it quits. Only one male continued on to level 10.

“I learned three things from this beep test,” Stolz wrote in her essay. “Many of the females who probably could achieve higher levels chose not to because they were not leaders and seemed not to care. The male cadets seemed to care more about competing with a woman than being leaders, because they too dropped out when I did. Finally, it proved that myself and the cadet that went to level 10 were actual leaders because we chose to break away from the crowd and achieve our personal best.”

In an interview, Stolz said she pushed herself harder to keep up with the boys.

Stolz also highlighted some of the inequalities that continue to affect women in the workplace.

She said “B-flight,” when companies don’t hire young women out of fear they’ll have children or get married, remains a common problem.

“This may be illegal, but it is a real impediment to a young woman’s career,” she wrote. “To make things worse, a traditional wife or mother role is often embedded into he subconscious of women who feel obligated to take a leadership role at home instead of in the workforce.”

As for her winning essay, Stolz said she was shocked when she found out she would be receiving a $2,000 scholarship.

She said she plans to take the social work program at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University after graduating from high school.

“I want to help people,” she said. The scholarship should help her along with that goal. IW

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