International Women’s Day


Molly Abbott, Feature

March 8th is a day dedicated to the persistence and determination that lives within females. A hundred years ago, the life of a woman was a life filled with barriers. In 1918, women could not serve on a jury, claim equal pay, own land, or even prosecute a partner for rape. By law, employers could require women to wear heels to work (Molloy, Johnson, and Lyons). The continuation of the suffrage movement led to the vast expansion of women’s rights, along with the birth of many channels of education regarding gender.

The movement made its mark on our very own school, producing a class that attempts to change students’ perceptions of the world around them. Ms. Giambagno, one teacher of Gender Studies for the 2018-2019 school year, states that “Gender Studies is a course that combines the concentrations of women’s studies, men’s studies, and LGBT studies in order to better understand the various social constructs of gender in our society as well as around the world.”

Although we are taught in preschool that there are only two genders, the reality is much more of a gray zone. The definitions of “man” and “woman” tend to be vague and cloudy. Many schools shy away to avoid controversy, but we are lucky enough to go to a school that embraces it. The purpose of the Gender Studies class is to understand the perspective of students who express themselves as a different gender from the norm and to celebrate their bravery and individuality.

Women’s Day doesn’t just celebrate women who were born as women. The word “woman” includes all individuals who call themselves as such. As stated by Ms. Giambagno, “In our school, we have students who express themselves in a variety of ways.” In the United States alone, more than 1.5 million adults identify with a gender other than the one they were born with. Gender Studies teaches that gender is a social construct. By recognizing that gender is all in our heads, we can change our thinking to gender as a spectrum, rather than black and white.

According to Ms. Giambagno, “Students have come back after taking this class grateful for the experience. It really opens their ideas to the influence of society on our choices. Many students also find inspiration to become activists and fight for the causes that they become passionate about.” This claim has sufficient evidence to back it up from former students. Caroline Waters, who took the class in the 2017-2018 school year, states that “Gender Studies inspired me to engage in more local politics and current events.”

Having young people involved in politics produces a more well-rounded democracy when all age groups are represented. Alison Cedarbaum, a currently enrolled student, brings to light that “the class is also mainly based on discussion, giving everyone a platform to speak up about ideas that they are passionate about.” Exploring one’s morals helps develop a sense of individuality. Too often in school are we told exactly what to think. A class with opportunities to input your own opinion is rare and should be taken advantage of.

This Women’s Day, we celebrate all women. We celebrate how far we have come when it comes to rights, as well as how far we have to go. We celebrate the courage of individuals who identify as women, even if they weren’t born as such. Most of all, we celebrate that our school embraces the social spectrum of gender and offers an opportunity to explore it. As a woman, I celebrate what a privilege it is to be a part of such a fantastic movement.

Happy International Women’s Day!