The idea of feminism is still a topic that is constantly misinterpreted by those who associate the movement with women feeling like they are better than men. In my very small conservative high school, you can find a handful of teenage boys and even staff, who believe feminism is simply a way for women to victimize themselves in a society that they believe, treats women well. For a lot of teenage girls, feminism may be something they find themselves identifying with only recently, and for your classmates to label you a “feminazi” when actively showing support for things such as equal pay or the MeToo movement, it can cause one to feel insecure about voicing out your own opinions. The few boys in my school who do proudly identify as feminists have a hard time discussing this topic with other boys due to the ridiculous idea that feminism is only for women and by supporting feminism, it makes you less of a man.
Two sophomore girls from my high school decided that hosting a Women’s Empowerment Conference would allow for a space where invited speakers could come and talk about their experience being a female leader in the work force.
The three-hour discussion really opened up the topic of how feminism should be kept intersectional and how teens can be the ones to remove prejudices against those who are of different gender, sex or race. The four speakers who came: City Counselor Andrea Campbell of Boston, Jodie Krisiak (a pilot), Gilliam Shaw ( computer specialist) and Elizabeth A. Hart (a non-profit businesswoman), spoke to the attendees about the sexism they faced in their respective industries, the importance of feminism and the need for the continued advocacy by the youth.
At the end of the conference, I was able to talk to many of my classmates and teachers about how their views on leadership and feminism have changed or improved and were able to engage in interesting debates. Although our school was against the idea of having a women’s empowerment conference, these two amazing girls were able to come up with an idea that would create a space for people to become educated on important issues in the workplace, while inspiring those who attended to never give up on their goals even if people reject you for something you can not change. We need more conferences like these, because the idea of feminism is one that has continued to be a topic of confusion and misunderstandings, and if we want the idea of equality to become normalized, it is important to erase that negative connotation that comes with feminism.
Photo: Donald Nguyen