The Head Bitch in Charge Project, founded by CAS senior Hannah Orenstein and Tisch alumna Madeleine Overturf, held its first event called Women’s Night Out Sept. 18 providing a networking opportunity with a party atmosphere.
“I think the popular image of feminism is pretty one-dimensional, and we want to add depth to that,” Orenstein said. “It’s someone who is serious, who is intellectual, who is smart, but you’re also really good friends. A girl who can be a role model, but you can also dance with. That’s why tonight we’re having networking, but we also have a DJ spinning girl-power jams.”
The phrase that the project was named after is a regularly used pop culture term referring to powerful women.
“We identify with HBIC as an acronym because the acronym gives power to the word,” Overturf said.
Setting out to add more dimension to the way women are often presented in the media, the HBIC Project features weekly interviews with professional women on its website.
“Profiles I’ve seen in the media of women our age — you’re either one or the other,” Overturf said. “You’re either the Buzzfeed cat article-loving One Direction fan or you’re a Hillary Clinton wannabe who wears power suits and listens to NPR. Which is great, both of those are great, but the reality is we’re mostly all of those things … We just want to bring personality into professionalism.”
Women’s Night Out brought professionalism through a raffle to win office hours with women in several fields. This included New York Times sports writer Mary Pilon and co-founder and CEO of popular blog Her Campus Stephanie Kaplan Lewis.
“[At the event,] you definitely felt the vibe of change and enthusiasm in the air,” CAS sophomore Kaja Schmidt said. “It was much better [than other networking events,] because the atmosphere is more relaxed. You can talk about difficult issues and your personal views more openly.”
The founders said one of the major issues facing women that the project tackles is ageism.
“[Ageism] is a huge issue,” Orenstein said. “One of our most successful interviewees is 20 years old … Age shouldn’t be a barrier. We want to highlight women who are at the beginning of their careers. They might not be Fortune 500 CEOs, but give them 10 years and they will be.”
Though the website and project focus on highlighting successful women, men also play a role in their future goals.
“Men can be powerful feminist allies,” Orenstein said. “Going forward, we’re really excited to launch Man Crush Mondays. Every Monday, we’re going to feature a man who’s doing incredible things to help women.”
In addition to making HBIC a national website, Orenstein and Overturf have larger goals for the future of feminism.
“Why we do what we do is so eventually we can stop talking about it,” Overturf said. “Once true equality is reached, we don’t have to talk about it.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 22 print edition. Email Bailey Evans at [email protected]