The Griffin

Women’s history month inspires unity

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Women’s history month inspires unity

Olivia Summons, Editor-in-Chief

When sophomore Cindy Jia first joined Vex Robotics her freshman year, she quickly realized she was the odd one out.

“I’m the only girl in robotics, and we have roughly 50 different members, which makes an almost 50 to one male to female ratio,” Jia said.

Jia shared her frustration on the overall lack of female representation in science, technology, engineering and math STEM related fields.

“When I go to robotics competitions, I see mostly boys. Girls actually stick out because of how uncommon they are,” Jia said. “There’s no one else around me that’s like me. And that’s not fair.”

Anecdotal evidence collected from women at Dulaney, gathered in auto-biographical videos, documents students’ views on how past challenges endure despite years of activism.

Junior Ana Triantafilou commented on the disparities between the parental treatment of herself compared to her twin brother when attending parties.

“My father told me once ‘[A]s a woman, you should be terrified to go to parties because you will end up naked in a closet.’ My parents were more worried about my safety than my brother’s,” Triantafilou said.

Upon further peer discourse, it was found that conversations such as this are quite common.

Senior Onani Banda relates to Triantafilou’s struggles with family expectations as she has encountered the enforcement of certain cultural traditions which have impacted her desired career in engineering.

“As a Zambian women we find that a lot of the time they view women not only as inferior but also as very domestic so women aren’t encouraged to go after their career,” Banda said.

Junior Annaliese Collins has often felt endangered as a woman, walking down the street with a figurative target on her back.

“There are some times where I have to ride [the light rail] alone and it’s 8 p.m. at night and I’m walking down a dark street terrified,” Collins said. “I’m a small person. There are so many instances of women being targeted and that’s always in the back of my mind.”

Thirty-eight years since President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the month of March 8 as National Women’s History Month, students share the impact this event has had on their lives as women.

“Women’s history month means that I can be secure in the idea that I have a sisterhood of women that I know will be able to encourage each other to succeed in whatever their dreams are,” Bandu said.

Although many have faith in the meaning behind Women’s History month, Jia said there is still a lapse in appropriate education on the contributions women have made to society.

“Women get erased throughout history. The first programmer and the founder of scientific computing was a woman. The reason no one learns this is because no one is teaching it,” Jia said.

Female students at Dulaney are taking proactive steps to achieve women’s empowerment.

A peer educator at Planned Parenthood of Maryland where she educates others about teen reproductive health, Collins is taking her love of teaching and translating it into an opportunity to convey a message on the importance of sexual health.

“I want to make sure that no matter what, a woman has the right to choose whether or not she wants to bring life into this world or just to have her own body’s autonomy,” Collins said.

Students are adopting local means of discovering the extent of women’s struggles in our own community, embracing communities on social media to reach a larger platform.

Issues of gender-based violence and sexual discrimination expand to recognize women who face other forms of pre-decided judgement such as racism and sexual orientation discrimination, as acknowledged by Collins and Triantafilou.

“I know that compared to a lot of women my problems are mediocre, because of my skin color. I know that I have privilege,” Triantafilou said.

Collins also stresses that her background endows her with privilege.

“I’ve been fortunate enough not to face much discrimination because I’m a white woman in a relatively comfortable economic bracket,” Collins said.

But differences in background do not thwart Collins from seeking to understand others backgrounds and how that contributes to their perspective.

“I used to get really hot-headed in arguments and now I’d like to say I’m pretty good at removing myself from the situation and putting myself into another person’s shoes and recognizing their arguments,” Collins said.

Despite discrepancies in women’s backgrounds, Bandu believes strength in numbers transcends female hardships.

“I know the career path I’ve chosen will elicit struggle, but knowing how unified women are in this day and age, I will be able to succeed,” Bandu said.

Staff writer Audrey Bartholomew contributed to this report.

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