How To Start a KidsForShe Club

With the school year coming to a close, maybe you should start thinking about activities to engage in next year. KidsForShe has got you covered! Want to know how to teach a class, run a club, or work with an organization? Follow these simple steps to be well in your way to having your own feminism club!

But first, a little information about us:

WE ARE A 501(C)(3) ORGANIZATION THAT WAS FOUNDED LAST YEAR. OUR MAIN OBJECTIVE IS TO ENABLE KIDS AROUND THE GLOBE TO START FEMINISM GROUPS WITHIN THEIR COMMUNITIES.

SO FAR, WE HAVE CHAPTERS IN NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA, MEXICO, AND UGANDA, AND ARE VERY MUCH LOOKING TO GROW OUR MEMBERSHIP.


OUR PRINCIPAL GOAL IS TO CREATE A NETWORK OF PASSIONATE CHILDREN WHO CAN EFFECT TANGIBLE CHANGE TOWARD GENDER EQUALITY, NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE.

Now, on how YOU can start a KidsForShe chapter:

1. Unite with a group of passionate members of your community who can commit to meeting once a week. Talk to your school administration to see if the school will host your club.

2. Arrange a meeting place and time

3. Register your club on our website by taking “our pledge” (just click on the tab that says "Our Pledge" and follow the directions

4. At each club meeting, use one of the Power Points from the “take action” tab on the KidsForShe website to discuss feminist issues or come up with your own topics and create Power points (share them with KidsForShe!)

5. Keep us posted! Email us at least once a month with pictures and summaries of what you clubs have been doing!

Hope this helps and happy club launching!

XOXO,

The KidsForShe Team

Five Ways to Celebrate Gloria Steinem's 85th Birthday

In case you don’t know who Gloria Steinem is, she is one of if not the most prominent feminists alive. She co-founded Ms. magazine in 1971, wrote acclaimed books like My Life On The Road, and Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, was co-chair of the 2016 women’s march, and a lot more.

To celebrate this strong woman’s 85th birthday, which took place on March 25th, here is a list of things you can do:

  1. Read one of her books! She has written a lot of books about feminism, and to learn about her life, you might want to start with My Life On The Road.

  2. Watch her play! If you are in or near NYC, head to the Daryl Roth Theater to watch Gloria: A Life. Here is the link! You get to enjoy an account of Gloria’s experiences in the first talk, and then to talk with the audience in a talking circle during the second act. If you’re lucky, a guest speaker might moderate the talking circle!

  3. Follow her on Instagram! Not a lot of eighty-five year olds are tech-savvy enough to have an Instagram, Gloria is not one of them! Here is a link to her account!

  4. Buy a lipstick from The Lipstick Lobby, an organization Gloria worked with! Every color of lipstick helps support a different organization. To “Protest with your dollar and your lipstick,” as Gloria said, visit this page!

  5. Watch Gloria tell our founder why it is important that young people join the feminist movement here!

KidsForShe UGANDA Celebrates International Women's Day Planting Trees!

Friday March 8th was International Women’s Day, and KidsForShe UGANDA celebrated it in a very special way! They planted trees!

Advocacy and leadership are like trees. You have to plant them, and water them so they can fully flourish. The young people in Uganda are doing exactly that. They are sowing the seeds they need in order to be the best future leaders they can be, and with KidsForShe’s presentations and resources, they are nourishing the seeds so they will grow taller than the trees they planted last week.

Interview with Aristegui Noticias about KidsForShe

Our founder, Magdalena Del Valle was interviewed by renowned Mexican journalist, Carmen Aristegui. Here is a link to the interview with English subtitles and the translation of an article from Aristegui Noticias:

When she heard Emma Watson announce that gender equality did not exist during her speech to the United Nations in New York City, Magdalena Del Valle decided that she wanted to be a part of this initiative and she created KidsForShe, a project that wants to include young people in the conversation about feminism through clubs that have made it all the way to Uganda.


“I’ve gone to an all-girls school for most of my life, but I was frustrated that as a little girl, I was not allowed into “adult” conversations. I think it’s vital to include young people in important conversations because of their enthusiasm and creativity that can be lost in adults,” said the young Mexican girl all the way from New York City, where she lives now, in an interview for #AristeguiEnVivo (#AristeguiLive).

Through the website that she launched three years ago, Magdalena shares slide-shows that turn into guidelines for anyone to work towards gender equality from their schools or within their communities.


The slideshows have a step-by-step explanation of what gender equality is so that kids can learn about it. These presentations also have activities that allow the kids to reflect about inequality issues between men and women at work, or about laws that continue to be unjust in their own countries.


KidsForShe has made it all the way to Uganda, where some 6 thousand kids and 27 schools have joined the initiative


Apart from the club she started at her school, there is another club in California where together, they started a Pen Pal program. A project where students from the U.S. and Uganda share letters with one another.


“Through this, we can learn about what culture is like over there and what their culture is about gender. They can also learn about what gender equality means over here. This way, we broaden our horizons about gender traditions,” she explained.


KidsForShe also organizes events with communities. Recently, they had a movie showing with Cinepolis of “On ‘the basis of sex”, a biographical film about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the American Supreme Court Justice, known for her strong work towards gender equality. .

Many tickets to this showing were donated to KidsForShe, and they were given to dreamers and organizations that help Mexican immigrants.  


“Many young girls from an organization in the Bronx called MASA, left and told me that they loved the movie,” she said.

Magdalena assured us that KidsForShe will formally be arriving in Mexico soon. For now, there is a club led by a girl from Sacred Heart in Mexico who discusses and reflects about gender equality with her friends and family members.


“I want to bring the Pen Pal program to México, and I’m working on it. I’m almost done translating the page into Spanish.”




Emily Dickinson and Valentine's Day

On the night before Valentine’s day, let’s commemorate our favorite recluse: Emily Dickinson! The renowned American poet from the nineteenth century never married and spent most of her life writing at home. Nevertheless, she produced beautiful poems about love:

"Love is anterior to life" Love is anterior to life, Posterior to death, Initial of creation, and The exponent of breath.

-Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson reminds us not only that women can be successful without leaving their house, but that love can be found anywhere. You don’t need a date on Valentine’s day to know love. Love is in yourself, in your work and in everyone around you. Don’t forget to spread it every day of the year and not just when you can buy heart-shaped boxes of chocolate.

Happy Valentine’s Day from KidsForShe!

To learn more about Emily Dickinson, click here!

#CaptainMarvelChallenge

Earlier this month, KidsForShe had a screening of On the Basis of Sex. We invited young girls from after-school centers like MASA in the Bronx and they gave us excellent feedback and left the theater thinking about their future careers. One of them wanted to be a psychologist, another an engineer. It was amazing to see young girls thinking about their opportunities after dedicating less than two hours of their Saturday to an educational and inspiring film about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Movies are an easy and fun way to get people to think. They get them to think about what they want to do with their lives, or about what they have done in the past that they may now see is wrong. Movies make us cry and laugh and gasp, but most importantly, they catalyze conversations.

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford the luxury of seeing a movie and having an enlightening conversation. This is why we have to support movements like the #CaptainMarvelChallene, an initiative that wants to get young girls to see the Captain Marvel movie when it comes out this International Women’s Day. The movie’s hero is played by Brie Larson and the film will probably instigate conversations about gender roles and how powerful women can be.

The #CaptainMarvelChallenge is a great way to help inspire young girls so if you want to donate to their cause, hare is the link to their GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/cause/captain-marvel-challenge.

If you want to learn more about the challenge, here is an article by CNN: https://www-m.cnn.com/2019/01/25/entertainment/captain-marvel-fundraising-for-girls-trnd/index.html

Summary of Our ON THE BASIS OF SEX Showing

The event was a success! Every seat was filled and after the movie, we held a reception where everyone got to enjoy some Mexican sandwiches and talk about the film. We sold KidsForShe pins and stickers and gave away free tote bags with Felicity Jones’s picture that the studio kindly provided for the event.

About 20 of the tickets were donated to Dreamers and young immigrants. People who wanted to go to the showing, but could not, were kind enough to donate the seats that would have been theirs to the children of immigrants so they could see a film about an inspirational woman. We distributed these tickets to the following four NGOs dedicated to helping immigrants: MASA, Qualitas, The US-Mexico Foundation and The US-Mexico Leaders of New York. The immigrant teens gave us fantastic feedback and they left thinking about their bright futures as psychologists, engineers, and lawyers.

Overall, the event was very moving, and I hope that it will give KidsForShe the momentum it needs to be a successful organization that helps young people become agents of change.


On The Basis of Sex Charity Showing

KidsForShe is partnering with Cinepolis, a movie theater company that is going to do a charity showing of “On The Basis of Sex”, a film about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and give KidsForShe part of the proceeds. The movie tells Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s journey as she breaks glass ceilings at Harvard and in the courtroom. A lot of us know that she is one of only two female supreme court justices, but many don’t know that she ended legal sex-based discrimination before she was a judge. I won’t give too much away so that you’ll want to see the movie, but let’s just say Ruth Bader Ginsburg was “notorious” even before she sat in the supreme court.

The Cinepolis movie theater is located at the heart of Chelsea and is unlike any other theater in the city. It has lush seats that lean back at the press of a button and free refills on drinks and buttery popcorn. It is also only a few blocks away from the Milk bar, so if popcorn and soda is not your thing, you can always go get a compost cookie and a milkshake after the movie!

The Cinepolis + KidsForShe event will be January 12th at noon. What is more perfect to do on a cold January day than relax in comfy seats and watch an inspirational movie? If your answer to this question is: nothing (which it should be), come see “On The Basis Of Sex” on January 12th at  260 W 23rd St  and support one of CSH’s new clubs and our very own non profit organization!

You can purchase tickets here: https://cinepolisusa.com/locations/chelsea?Date=20190112


Chloe and Jane

When I first signed up for a pen pal from Uganda, I didn’t know what I was signing up for. What would I ask her? Would we have much in common? My pen pal’s name is Jane. I first got her letter and was happy she seemed so friendly and open, eager to know someone she was so far away from. I responded within a day of her response, hoping I could learn more about her. Letters were exchanged between us from October to November. I was happy we were able to communicate despite our busy schedules. We talked about everything from our families to our school schedules. We even discover we were both born in October. Sadly, our realities were different. She asked me how I celebrated my birthday and I told her with lots of friends and family. Jane told me that her mother had forgotten her birthday, but she said it okay because she knew her mom loved her, but was just busy with working to support her. After she said that, I felt so lucky and undoubtedly privileged to live in New York with a family who was allowed to put down work long enough to celebrate with me.

So, it has only been two months since I’ve known Jane, but I feel like I’ve been able to bond with her. I am still waiting for her letter, but I know she has so much more to deal with than I do. I am happy that I got this opportunity to know her. Even though we are so far from each other, it proves connecting with people doesn’t need to be as complicated as it seems.


The Notorious RBG

As the second ever female Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg emerges as an unwavering advocate of gender equality and women’s rights. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, in the year 1933 and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 under President Bill Clinton. She’s famously known as “Notorious RBG” due to her being dubbed “radically progressive” in comparison to her constituents, despite others calling her a moderate. She grew up in a loving family and was encouraged to pursue her education, a desire which she followed intently. Her biggest academic motivator and her inspiration to fight for gender equality— her mother— passed away the day before her high school graduation where she was granted the honor of being top of her class. After high school, she attended Cornell university and once again, graduated as valedictorian. After Cornell, she gave birth to her first child with her husband Martin Ginsburg, whom she met at Cornell. While her husband was in the military, she took a break from her education to support her child. Later, she attended Harvard Law School and was one female student of 8 amongst over 500 male students. During her time at Harvard, she faced gender discrimination daily, she had to care for her child, and her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Despite all this, she continued to uphold her academic standing and was successful in her endeavours. She then transferred to Columbia Law to study closer to her husband’s work, and graduated at the top of the class in 1959.

Throughout her job search, Bader Ginsburg was repeatedly denied judicial positions. Apparently, she was turned down specifically because one judge wished to continue swearing, as a law existed where men could not swear in a woman’s presence. She finally became a professor at Rutgers, where she became pregnant again and was advised to hide this, so she would not be fired. In addition, she discovered that her male counterparts were being paid much more than she was.

During her time directing the Women’s Rights Project of American Civil Liberties Union in the 70s, she aimed to tackle small cases in the eyes of the law to “make a dent” in already existing sexist policies. She won 6 cases, one in which she argued for the equality of widows and widowers, as widows held more benefits, displaying her regard for gender equality as a whole.

Finally, in 1993, she was appointed to the Supreme Court and has since fought for the rights of the marginalised, specialising in women’s rights. To list a few, Bader Ginsburg supported the legalisation of same sex marriage in 2015, did her part to destroy legislation that supports vague “noncitizens to be expelled” this year, and fights for women’s rights to choose how they manage their bodies. She has taken part in so many more historic cases dealing with the mentally ill, privacy rights, etc. and truly will be remembered for years to come.


KidsForShe Thanksgiving Reflection

This year, the KidsForShe team has a lot to be grateful for.

We give thanks to all the new members of the KidsForShe community inNew York and California.

We give thanks to our pen pals on Uganda for opening up a completely new side of the world to us.

We give thanks to other organizations that we have worked with and that we are working with at the moment. Your support motivates us to keep working and encouraging more and more young people to fight for equality and believe that they can do anything they set their minds to.

We give thanks to our donors who have helped us launch our pen pal program and run this organization successfully. Without you, we would not even be able to post this blog.

Thank you to everyone who is reading this and who supports KidsForShe.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Basic Bake Sales

I’m seventeen and for the first time in my life, I had a bake sale at my school. I had always seen bake sales as somewhat bureaucratic.I never knew who was in charge of allowing the bake sale and whether or not anyone had to oversee everything. How would I get the food? What kind of food did I need, and how much? How did I know what to charge for each item? It seemed impossible to have a bake sale and even more impossible to pick a charity it would benefit, but with the pen pal program fees looming over the KidsForShe checkbook, every penny I could get seemed worth while. I decided I would tackle the process of having a bake sale. Of course this wasn’t my first time selling some sort of nourishment to a mass of people, but I never considered the lemonade stand I had when I was nine in order to buy myself a Harry Potter wand worth commemorating. The bake sale I had this Monday at my school, is.

While I was handing out cupcakes and cookies to hungry middle schoolers, I realize how important it is for young people to have that experience. It is vital, that from a young age, we teach young people easy ways to raise and give money to charity. So here it is: BAKE SALES 101. All you need to do to host a successful bake sale.


Step 1. Know your customers. Has your school had a bake sale before? How successful has it been?If it hasn’t, would introducing bake sales successfully get you the money and awareness that you need?


Step 2. Set a date. Talk to your school administrators and ask for a specific time and day to have your bake sale.


Step 3. Find people to “man/woman” the bake sale. You can’t sit at the food stand all day, so coordinate a schedule that works with your friends


Step 4. Know what to bring.  Everyone is going to want to bring in chocolate chip cookies, but for a truly successful bake sale, diversity is key. Here are some yummy alternatives: brownies, cupcakes, rice crispy treats, candy, donuts, etc. If you and your friends each agree to bring something different, people are more likely to buy more things.


Step 5. Set a goal for yourself. If you know how much money you want to raise, then you can calculate how much each item should cost depending on how many of each treat you are going to have and how popular some treats are.


Step 6. Have that bake sale. Set up a station somewhere in your school, and sell some sweets! People Are going to LOVE you and your organization.


If you want to practice these mad bake sale hosting skills, but don’t know what charity you want to give your earnings to, start with KidsForShe! Any contribution counts.


Happy baking!


Developing KidsForShe Clubs in Uganda/Africa.

We the KidsForShe Uganda Clubs have established some basic guidelines of common ground. The Clubs

have a diversity of girls of different socioeconomic, spiritual, and emotional backgrounds. With the help

from KidsForShe-USA and Equality Heals Africa-Uganda we decided on some more "defined" guidelines

to help us develop trust, respectful language and behavior within the clubs.... here is a short list of the

most important attributes of the guidelines :

1) We are space holders to the Mystery of the Feminine, Her expressions, and activity. We honor each

other and our ancestors that have walked before us.

2) We hold sacred the intrinsic value of each woman and Girl in the Clubs. We support the learning and

expressions of our gifts and talents as they unfold within us on our Journey.

3) We hold sacred the space for Community among us. We adorn ourselves in friendship, trust and

collaboration. We value our connection both as individuals and as members of the Clubs.

4) We are "Witness" for each other. Every experience of our personal stories has value and contains

wisdom.

5) We engage in an environment of Safety and Gender Equality. We support and enforce confidentiality.

We do not share what transpires within the Clubs to others.

6) We actively open our hearts to be Present for each other. We offer support to one another for

creative exploration, expression and activity.

7) We support and practice Mindful Listening. We encourage each other’s individual voice spoken from

the depth of personal experience and journey.

8) We practice the art of Gratitude towards each other and treat each other with respect. Kindness

Matters.

9) We value the prime importance of the Pen Pal Program in promoting intercultural differences,

friendship and global citizenry.

Thanks to all members of the Pen Pal Program under the leadership of our beloved Magdalena Del Valle.

We welcome more members to join our Pen Pal Program as we projected to connect with 1000 girls in

the first year of operation 2018-2019.

Namaste,

Mariam Nabukeera

A Perception of Feminism From a 14 Year-old KidsForShe Member

Feminism by definition is “the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” It is a word that symbolizes equality to the people who are treated as anything but equal. I as a white, educated, and wealthy person have been given everything in life to succeed. I am a person who has it easy and there’s no denying that, but the only part of my life that will ever challenge me, is my gender. Women and girls, no matter how privileged they are, will always face challenges that men and boys will never understand. We face the issue of sexual harassment and assault, the wage gap, women’s unemployment rate, and little things that happen every day that have been built into our society.

Society has made things that should be unacceptable an acceptable thing. I, as a feminist, even do things a good feminist shouldn’t. I listen to music that degrades women and makes them nothing but objects. When I see a nice house I immediately ask myself what that person’s father might do for a living. I want the perfect fairy-tale boyfriend just like in the movies. I love clothes. I do my hair, nails, and shave my legs to be “more like a girl.” That doesn’t mean I am not a feminist. We are told and shown that feminism results in things that reject typical fairy-tales, and that it tries to make the point that you don’t need to do your hair and nails every day to be “more like a girl.” Society has put an image of feminism in the world’s mind that we are non-shaving, man-hating beasts. This stereotype makes young girls not want to be feminists because they don’t want to be seen as this man-hating creature.

When I imagine girl thinking they will be perceived as that, it makes me upset. Girls can want to look pretty, or become a housewife, and want fairy-tales to come true! That doesn’t mean they don’t want to be treated equally. Feminism isn’t saying that we don’t want to do the things girls do, it says that we don’t want to be seen as only that. Girls can be whoever they want to be, all feminism is, is the chance to be whoever we want. It’s not being put on a pedestal because we want the same things as men and deserve more because they had it longer. It’s working, trying, and chasing what you believe in, just like any man. Yes, men have higher positions in almost every work field besides a receptionist, but just because men got ahead and are seen with more power, does not mean it should stay like that.

So, when people ask me if I hate men, or if i’m a lesbian because I simply say “I’m a proud feminist,” the only thing I notice is what society has done, and how women need to continue to be proud feminist and tell everyone they can what being a feminist really is.

I want to be an equal, and so should any girl. Men are not better than us, and we are not better than them, were simply equal. Boys and men, you should be feminist too, so when your daughter grows up, she’s treated just like you, and not like less. We strive to be equal, we are feminist.



By Jaden Towey

To Shave orNot to Shave? Should it even be a question?

On the Friday before the Columbus Day weekend, my sister came home from school and coyly pulled me into her room so we could talk privately. After sitting me down, she informed me that this whole ordeal was to say that she wanted to shave her legs. At first, I went “yeah sure, but you’ll need to bring it up with mum,” but then I realised…why did she want to shave her legs in the first place?

When I was in 7th grade, aka when I was 12/13, one of my ‘friends’ reminded me every single day without fail that my legs were hairy and that I should so something about it. She would pull me aside and “advise” that I shave my legs. What could she possibly hope to gain other than to make me self conscious? Obviously I knew what she said to be true, but I had never seen it as something to be ashamed of. Nor had I seen many other things as shameful, all of my physical insecurities have arisen from those “helpful” little tips from middle school. I’m 16 now and I still can’t seem to shake the hatred sewn into me. I’d be damned if I let the same thing happen to my sister.

She’s 10 years old. She can’t escape the confines of today’s beauty standards. Although we’ve made incredible strides within the past decade, there’s still much more we can do for our younger children to teach them to love themselves, or at least continue to support diversity in the media. I know it sounds like I may be blowing this out of proportion, but I want her to know it’s okay to ask things like that, there’s no shame in wanting to shave your legs or opting not to. I was absolutely terrified to bring up the topic with my mum and my sister deserves to feel confident and free to talk to people about her concerns. If shaving her legs would do that, then so be it.

I just want people to understand that pointing out things people have little control over, like shaving, yes, but more importantly things like scars, acne, the sound of someone’s voice, etc. really forces that person to worry about their appearance in an increasingly vicious sense. There’s this rule I heard about last year, it goes something like, if they can’t fix it in 5 minutes, don’t point it out. So it’s helpful to let someone know that their makeup is smudged or if they have food in their teeth, but if it’s something internal, leave it be.

I love my sister and all those little kids that feel like they need to change something about themselves to fit in. They’re valid and they’re fine the way they are, we all are.


By Ursula Vudrag


The Universal Language of Feminism

The Universal Language of Feminism
From lack of education, to glass ceilings, to stereotyping, gender inequality silently

torments us every day. It plagues everyone. Men feel like their manhood is something to be earned and not acquired at birth; women can’t get certain jobs because of their gender; and society does not give members of the LGBTQ community the basic respect that they, as human beings, deserve. And these are only the problems from first world countries.

UNICEF estimates that at least 200 million girls alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation. 1 out of 9 girls in developing countries will get married by the time they are fifteen, and there are still 31 million girls of primary school age that are uneducated (more than half of which will remain uneducated for the rest of their lives). These statistics are appalling and while we hear of people like Malala working for girl’s rights, how long will it take for the world to reach total equality of the sexes?

In her speech to the UN in 2014, Emma Watson estimated that it would take 75 years for women to receive equal pay for equal work and that not all girls from rural Africa would have a secondary education until 2086. I don’t know if her predictions will come true, but I do know that we won’t have gender equality until children are raised to believe in it. If parents teach their kids about feminism, then the ideas of paid parental leave, abortion rights, and LGBTQ rights will be normalized and socially accepted by the time they are adults. If kids grow up as feminists, when the time comes for them to lead, they will do so as advocates for 100% of the world’s population.

For most of my life, I went to an all girls school. There, teachers raised us as girls who can do anything, not as girls whose options and abilities are held back by men and their actions.

Because of this, apart from the occasional catcall on the street or creep on the subway, I have never truly faced gender inequality. I have never seen experienced gender inequality and while I know this revelation may undermine my credibility for some audiences, I believe that my inexperience of gender inequality actually strengthens my reasons to fight for it.

So far, my life has been a feminist utopia and I want to help turn the rest of the world into this gender equality paradise I know is reachable. I have seen what gender equality looks like and I embarked on my journey to spread it when I was 14. After watching Emma Watson’s UN speech, I felt inspired to start a feminist club at my all girls middle school. I did not know whether I would impact anyone, but at least I wasn’t standing around and waiting for gender equality to reach itself. The club took off really well and I even managed to hold an all middle school event where girls from grades 5-8 worked together to examine feminist and normal fairytales’ influence on society. The club’s second year was less steady. Girls would only show up for lack of anything else to do and would not take the projects seriously. My classmates started to open their own clubs as well so times to hold feminism meetings got constrained. The object of my pride began to deteriorate and I needed to find some other way to outlet my inner activist.

I started KidForShe in 2016. It is a website with powerpoints young people can use to start their own feminism clubs at their schools. So far, there are 3 KidsForShe clubs in Uganda and in a refugee camp in Sudan, started by a woman I admire more and more every day, Phionah Sserwanja. I’ve also spoken to other organizations around the U.S. to spread these clubs. My connections through KidsForShe opened my eyes to a completely different feminism from what I had learned in my liberal first world bubble of Manhattan. 10 of the girls in the Ugandan

KidsForShe clubs are refugees from South Sudan. Some of the club members have been victims of sexual harassment or FGM, and 10% of them were disowned by their fathers because of their gender. The most shocking thing I found out is that none of them had any idea what feminism and gender equality was before they were introduced to KidsForShe.

I did not need to cross an ocean in order to learn about how little feminism has spread. While talking to an organization in the Bronx, I learned that young Latinas who come from the same country as me, live in a completely different New York City. Their homes are dominated by their fathers, men who left Mexico for the best of their families. They live in a strict patriarchy where they have to cook meals and set the table while their brothers sit around playing video games. These girls do not know of women like Margaret Thatcher or Marie Curie and the female role models they have teach them to aspire to more traditional gender roles.

The club in Uganda and my conversations with fellow Latinas revolutionized my limited take on feminism. I realized that the presentations I had about women’s importance in the workplace failed to highlight the value of a woman’s work in the home. My presentations were about body image and racial gender inequalities-issues that girls in Uganda did not face. From then on, I learned that westerners are privileged to be able to complain about things like glass ceilings and stereotypes.

Feminism is a gift that we need to share with the rest of the world in the same way that we are trying end of poverty. Those of us lucky enough to be able to fight for equal pay or even more superficial movements like “Free the Nipple” should also work for people who were not allocated this privilege. We need to spread the message of gender equality to the four corners of the earth so that everyone can bring their own gender equality issues to the table. Simply

spreading the message of feminism and giving people a glimpse of worlds like my middle school can be enough to set off a movement in a completely different continent.

The fight for gender equality is like the latin alphabet. On the surface, it it uses the same letters, but if you dig deeper and travel further you will find that it is manipulated in completely different ways. It is our job to turn the alphabet of feminism into a common language that we can all use and fight for together.

http://en.unesco.org/gem-report/sites/gem-report/files/girls-factsheet-en.pdf https://www.icrw.org/child-marriage-facts-and-figures/ https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/female-genital-mutilation-and-cutting/# www.kidsforshe.org

A Rainbow of A Woman

When I was in 8th grade, my teacher assigned us an “Inspirational Woman Essay”. This is what I wrote and earned a scholastic gold key for. It is very important to have female role models who shape who we are.

                  

For years I read books aimlessly until I met the woman who truly educated me in the art of literature. Mrs.Bogen was the rainbow that appears in the sky on a sunny, dry morning; welcome yet unexpected. She was a mystery we all understood. It was common knowledge that she had children, and that she had lived with them in England, but no one knew when or how many. Once, we were told that she had lived in Australia and owned a green Vespa, but it was hard for all of Sacred Heart to imagine Mrs.Bogen living anywhere other than her classroom. Everyone had simply assumed that she had been born with a hello-kitty bow on her silver gray hair, ready to give candy to anyone who needed it, and that she would remain this way  for the next hundred years.

Mrs.Bogen, with her flowered sweaters and bright colored shirts taught me more about the world of books than the authors themselves. I learned from her that books aren’t just words to be analyzed and processed, but worlds to explore several times over. She lectured me on how deep a combination of twenty-six letters can go and on how beautifully powerful words can be.Thanks to her I understood that when an author writes ‘window’ she doesn’t mean a piece of glass to look out of, but a glimpse of freedom or an opportunity for change; and that a green leaf isn’t different from a brown leaf because of its color, but because one symbolizes life and the other does death. She helped me master the art of symbolization.

It was an honor to receive Mrs.Bogen opinion about anything. Her calling you a “ding-dong” was like having anyone else call you “dearest”, “darling” or “honey-pie”; when she said it you were more than merely a pupil. Whenever Mrs.Bogen chose to ask me what I was reading and what I thought, I wanted to hug her and thank her for asking me instead of the other girls. It was the greatest gift  she could have ever given me.

Mrs.Bogen was a long, unfinished book; she had already lived and told her stories yet somehow I knew that in a few years she would have lived another five lives and have a million more tales to reveal. Her to do list was longer than the depth of any of her conversations. She lead the kind of life anyone would have been lucky to achieve.

In the social hierarchy of Sacred Heart teachers Mrs.Bogen wouldn’t be found in the actual pyramid, but in her own little triangle of art and poetry. She was never everyone’s favorite teacher, but those who loved her, adored her. Most parents thought she was the best thing that had ever happened to Sacred Heart because she was. Everyone wanted to know what she thought of their work and what she had to say about their writing; even if it wasn’t always positive or near to sympathetic. She wasn’t afraid of hurting you so long as it strengthened you in the future.

If I had never met Mrs.Bogen I would still be meaninglessly studying words instead of venturing into worlds and looking deeper than the surface of an author’s sentence. She built me numerous windows and opened countless doors. Without her guidance books wouldn’t be as vivid and vibrant as the aurora itself.


Female Empowerment in a Conservative Environment

Feminism nowadays seems to have a bad name, especially where I’m from. Growing up in the conservative south as a liberal woman has been difficult. In a community dominated by controlling men with closed minds, it’s been hard to continue fighting to be heard. How can you convince someone they should care about the struggles of someone else? Sometimes it seems impossible.

Houston, Texas is considered a melting pot of cultures in the south, and yet there still seems to be a “correct” way to think and live. I’ve always been a feminist because I couldn’t fathom the type of person that would openly stand against equality, but as I’ve grown up I’ve gotten a lot of backlash for my beliefs. I’ve been called dramatic, sensitive, even dumb, just for wanting the same rights and privileges as men.

I’ve always been told my struggles as a woman are fake but all you have to do is look at the facts to know that’s not true. For instance, my high school spent millions on the football program in our school, but female sports hardly got anything. Our female drill team won trophies at every competition and yet were still underfunded while most of the money went to the men’s football team who lost almost every game.

The student council at my high school was composed almost completely of men with one woman as secretary, and that was just because only women had run. The men in our grade beat out women for every single position. It’s absurd to me how even other women trust men more in leadership roles. The idea that men are more suitable for powerful positions runs deep in my community, and it has always made getting my ideas across burdensome.

It takes courage to think differently in a community that overlooks inequality, from having decisions made for me in group projects to being told to my face that feminists are just drama queens looking for special treatment. I have never wanted special treatment, only equal treatment, and it’s rare to find people that are willing to understand the difference. But that’s why feminist organizations are important, to show women that they don’t have to accept the world they live in.

 

By Mia Carriles

Girls in Tech

Technology is a constant force in our lives. We can connect to people from across the world, we have robotic vacuum cleaners, and we can get anything delivered to our door with the click of a button. But why is it that this huge component of our lives is predominantly created and run by men? Only 26% of professional computing occupations in the US in 2017 were held by women.

This lack of women in technology begins at a very young age: computer science courses in high school are primarily composed of male students. Girls don’t realize what they are missing out on: computer science gives you the power to create. I decided to take an Intro to Programming class at my school where I learned the basics of Java. By the end of the course, my classmates and I were able to code our own calculators, tic-tac-toe games, hangman, and so much more. Although the class was predominantly male, I found that it didn’t bother me because I loved the power that came with learning computer science.

That summer, I attended the seven week Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at Warner Brothers where I expanded upon my computer science knowledge while building friendships with 20 other girls and hearing from women who work at Warner Brothers. While this program taught me how to program a robot and build a website, it also taught me the power of sisterhood and perseverance. By talking to the Warner Brothers employees, I learned that there is no path to success; success comes from determination and grit. I also learned that there are so many things that you can do with technology, and this further encouraged me to continue studying computer science so I can learn to create more and more things. By the end of the program, a few of my friends and I had built an app that manages your medications, my proudest creation yet.

The next summer, I attended the two week Kode With Klossy Level Two program. During these two weeks, I saw the power of the female mind and what it can accomplish. My classmates and I learned how to access a database, how to create a Snapchat lens that can be shared with thousands, and how to code virtual reality.

The Girls Who Code and Kode With Klossy programs are just some of the many free resources available to encourage girls to learn computer science. These programs are not just meant to close the gender gap in technology, but they’re also meant to empower girls by showing them that they have the power to create and build; their only limit is their imagination.

 

By Kaylen Melamed

FITE Club

Kids For She Blog Post

We’d made an unspoken decision not to use the “F-word.” It seemed too strong, offensive even. We didn’t want to alienate anyone. In fact, somehow we felt that we had to appeal to everyone. It perfectly encompassed our mission as a club, but to use the word in the name--too aggressive. After two hours at Blu Jam Cafe, brainstorming and agonizing over potential names that strategically avoided the word, we finally compromised with an acronym: FITE Club, Feminists Inch Toward Equality. We would use the word, but we wouldn’t explicitly say it.

I live and have always lived in Los Angeles, California, arguably one of the most liberal-minded cities in America. Furthermore, I attend a private school in one of the most liberal pockets of Los Angeles. Basically, you’d have to spend some time looking before you found a place more open to feminist ideas. Why then were we so afraid to use the word? All over Los Angeles minority and oppressed groups are kicking stigmas to the curb and reclaiming offensive words and tackling traditional thinking. And yet, at Club Fest, the annual lunchtime club sign-up hour, I asked a girl in my grade if she wanted to be a member of FITE Club...and she said no. Never one to accept an answer such as that, I asked her why. “I just don’t want a sweatshirt that says ‘feminist’ on it. I don’t want guys to think I hate them,” is what I got. I asked myself how she could say something like that, how she could perpetuate the stigma attached to the pursuit of gender equality and allow it to intimidate her into avoiding the issue completely. I realize now that she’d merely articulated what we’d been too proud to admit. She didn’t want the sweatshirt for the same reason we didn’t want to use the word. And it is that same reason that holds us back.

We need to be perfect. We’ve been taught to keep our legs crossed and our voices down. We’ve been taught never to have a hair out of place or a fingernail chipped. They seem like small things to be aware of on a daily basis, but this constant awareness of how we’re supposed to look and behave keeps us from doing things like accepting a label like feminist, that brands us a proponent of gender equality, a wave-maker, an offender. That girl aptly summarized our kryptonite as a movement when she said that she doesn’t want guys to think she hates them. It’s human nature to want to be liked. But it’s also human nature to err and to fail and to be better because of that failure.

By Celine Farhadi