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SD Hall Of Famers Outreach To Young Women In South Dakota

Kenzie Wagner

Some of the Women inductees into the South Dakota Hall of Fame are coming together to share stories and strategies.  The group hopes to find ways to better the lives of young people in the state, especially young women.

Eight South Dakota Hall of Fame inductees from around the state brainstormed ideas on how to promote women’s empowerment in today’s world.

Pat Lebrun, a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, agrees that there are ways to promote leadership in young women but also stresses the importance of self-reliance.

“There’s one message that needs to be delivered that yes, young women, young men, young people in general need to have the opportunity but they also need to know that we all know a lot of smart, really accomplished people but we don’t know any smart, really accomplished people who didn’t also work unrelentingly hard, and that message needs to be delivered over and over again. There is no free lunch,” says Lebrun.

But Evelyn Leite, a 2008 inductee, thinks that women sometimes need a hand up. She says young women have many demands from, from parenting, to careers, to just trying to keep food on the table for themselves. She says that while times have changed, sexism is still an issue in everyday life.  

“Women don’t have a sense of their own value. We don’t have a sense of our own value because nobody told us. You know I applied for a job and have people laughed in my face, we only hire men, you know just like that and just amazing things that people have no sense of,” says Leite.

Some of the inductees think mentoring is key to women’s success, others suggest forming a panel and working with existing programs to find a solution. The South Dakota Hall of Fame officials say they hope to host more talks in the future.

If you want to hear the full discussion of the gathering of women's South Dakota Hall of Fame inductees, click play below.