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womens history month of ileana justine
womens history month of ileana justine
Photo by Matthew Kugler

Meet Ileana Justine, A Female Advocate For Women Everywhere

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

Meet Ileana Justine, a social media director for Her Bold Move, a political organization dedicated to supporting women in office. With a background in sociology and English from Skidmore College, she works as an associate managing editor in New York. Her incredible work is done to uplift women’s voices and to create a world in which women are safe and equal.

Ileana leaning against the subway platform wearing a black dress and red jacket.
Photo by Matthew Kugler

Her Campus at UCF: How has your involvement with Her Bold Move changed your look on how the political standpoint can be, especially with reflecting on women and their roles?

Ileana Justine: Her Bold Move started in 2020, under a different name and different organization, and then we branched out on our own in 2021, after the 2020 presidential election. So, I’ve been there since the very beginning since it was founded. I worked very closely with the founder, who’s also our executive director. But I think my work with Her Bold Move has really done a lot for me. I think it’s kind of brought me out of the place of like, just feeling despair, about politics, and finding a lot more optimism, or at least determination, because we work with incredible candidates who really are, like, the future of the country, even if they don’t win. They are helping the country progress, and it’s a really empowering and inspiring thing to see. Working with candidates who are running for office and have a vision for this incredible future is so inspiring and kind of pulls you out of that monotony, which is really amazing.

HCUCF: You mentioned you’ve been there since the beginning; do you have a specific role in Her Bold Move?

IJ: Yeah, right now I run our Instagram and our TikTok and I also contribute to Twitter that’s kind of more flexible. Then I also work with the director and some of the other people at Her Bold Move to kind of work on partnerships. A lot of time it’s social media partnerships, but we also have a lot of strategic partnerships with other PACs, like other political action committees, and with other organizations that are supporting women. A lot of times because we do endorsements and donations, we’ll work with other organizations that don’t do either of those things. They kind of will support candidates on the back end, teach them how to run, teach them how to do some of the things that you have to do to run, the basic stuff that no one knows how to do. You don’t get taught that. So, there are programs that are kind of incubators for them to learn how to run, and then they will kind of pass them off to us to do endorsements. We’ll help them with their campaigns a little bit more once they’re past the hump of running for office.

HCUCF: Since you don’t really have a political background, was any of that kind of confusing or new to you when you were just trying to learn how to help these women run for office?

IJ: Yeah, it’s really interesting, because I don’t have a political background at all. I do think that having a background in sociology was incredibly helpful because it provides a huge understanding of factors of identity and the basis for what politics could do. I think some of the more direct political stuff has definitely had a learning curve for me. We have incredible people who work at Her Bold Move, who are much more involved in the political side of things. I think we learn a lot from the candidates that we’re working with because politics is obviously so important nationally, but on a very local level, like hyperlocal, it’s so different. The rules of how things work are completely different.

Ileana standing against a brick wall with her hands in her pockets
Photo by Matthew Kugler

HCUCF: How do you feel as a woman representing your field and doing the work that you do?

IJ: It’s interesting because I’ve been so inspired by so many of the amazing women that I’ve worked with. I think [womanhood] always intersects kind of with politics, even when people don’t really realize that it does, because we have to take into consideration like health care, childcare, and parental leave. I think, because I work for parenting websites, that’s something that we think about a lot. And even in female-dominated industries, it still isn’t necessarily the standard because our country does not set that as the standard.

HCUCF: Is your field currently more female-dominated, or male-dominated?

IJ: I work for parenting websites, primarily. It’s definitely female-dominated, which is incredible. Most of the people that I work with are women. That’s been the case across the board. I do think there’s an issue in publishing as a whole, whether it’s print or digital, that it’s primarily a female-dominated field, but you’ll see that a lot of the people who are higher up are men, which is such a problem. Even though a lot of people from entry level through middle or even upper management are women, the people at the very top, the CEOs, the presidents, and things like that are still men. Which is just really unfortunate and doesn’t make any sense because all of the people who understand how the industry works are women.

HCUCF: Where do you plan to move on from here in your career?

IJ: I think the goal with Her Bold Move is to continue growing right now. It’s entirely volunteer-run because we give all of the money that we get to candidates, which is incredible. I think the goal is to hopefully become big enough and stable enough that we can create full-time positions for people. That takes a really long time, and we’re all so dedicated to helping the candidates. I think I have a really great balance of having a job that feels like it gives me some flexibility to work on Her Bold Move stuff, as well as work on my own personal advocacy and activism.

If you would like to see more of Ileana’s inspiring work check out her Instagram at @ileana.justine and @herboldmove!

Bellanee Plaza is the Campaign Director of Her Campus UCF. She is a senior studying at the University of Central Florida with a major in journalism and a minor in film. Bella is originally from Miami and is half-Colombian, half-Puerto Rican. She loves to roller skating, paint, and read enemies to lovers.