This past week, we interviewed our history teacher Mr. Cameron to learn more about women’s roles throughout history. During this interview we learned about how women’s rights have evolved, as well as steps we can take to promote gender equality at our school. We would like to give a huge thanks to Mr. Cameron for letting us interview him.
Camille: The right for women to vote was a huge step towards gender equality. What do you think are other notable events that have made advancements [towards gender equality] in history?
Mr. Cameron: So aside from the right to vote, other advancements that have allowed women greater freedom and independence, comes with regard to the ability to independently transport themselves, with, like, any sort of new modern technology. Prerogatively the ability to have disposable income and hold a job that provides the income for that independence, and similarly the transportation.
Camille: Were there any female-dominated societies or subcultures throughout history, and if there were, how were they seen by other cultures at the time?
Mr. Cameron: Examples of matriarchal societies can be seen in Post-Classical, bleeding into Early Modern West African Societies like the Ghana and Mali Empires. Matriarchal figures were revered for their reproductive capacities and general peaceful moderation strategies.
Camille: Personally, who are some female figures who you admire or would be good role models?
Mr. Cameron: First female role model: Malala Yousafzai, who despite undergoing some pretty tortuous circumstances has been able to turn that on its head and serve as an influential and inspirational person for people who are persecuted by any state conflict and use that personal experience to uplift those who are undergoing something similar. Secondly, Joan of Arc, of the Medieval France. No doubt working within the patriarchy and asserting her claims to authority by being the messenger of God. Thirdly, and going even further back into history, Empress Theodora of the Byzantine Empire. From prostitute to empress, and basically helping her husband stick with his emperorship despite massive riots. Thanks Theodora. Justinian loves you even in the afterlife.
Camille: What publications, books, Ted Talks, or movies would you recommend people watch or are your favorites that shine a light on gender equality?
Mr. Cameron: One really current issue that's regularly addressed regarding women's equality is the gender wage gap. There is one short piece by John Oliver (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsB1e-1BB4Y ) explaining the very nuanced and complex nature of figuring out how that gender wage gap is established.There's also a short John Green from vlogbrothers ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it0EYBBl5LI ) on that same topic. Prager University ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcDrE5YvqTs ) problematizes that entire concept arguing that no gender wage gap exists. Looking between those three sources would be really useful.
Camille: In the classroom, how do you teach these values to give a more even view of history or just more balanced.
Mr. Cameron: Focusing on female perspectives in periods of history that are not contemporary (the end of World War I up until now) is really difficult to do. You could look back to any of those Western African nations that had primarily oral traditions, and there's no written record of that. Secondly, the sheer lack of sources from women in the pre-contemporary world makes it very difficult to teach that perspective and that point of view. Referencing the reality and regularly using vocabulary like patriarchy and matriarchy to establish the regularity of patriarchal practices and lacking matriarchal structures is what we can address prior to the regular production of sources by women in the contemporary era
Camille: Last question: To the high school students at SDA who are going to be reading this article, what do you think are some steps you can take towards gender equality around campus?
Mr. Cameron: I’ll speak specifically to the gentlemen reading this news article right now. Gentlemen, you claim that you love ladies and that you revere them, so: actions speak louder than words; listen to what they have to say.
It's been one year since we founded Creating for a Change*. Over the past year, we organized two workshops and raised just over $800. We donated $540 to camfed.org (Campain for Female Education) last December, and most recently we donated $280 to camfed as well. When we first set out to start this orginization our mission was to bring awareness to the importance of girls' education while encouraging creativity in children in our community. We've taken great steps towards our goal, and we have brought a lot of awareness to girls' education. Thank you so much to our friends, family, and community who have supported us over the past year.
*as you can see, we've changed our name!
Find us on instagram @creatingforachange and email us with any questions here through firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are some of the highlights from our workshops!
The Day of the Girl takes place on October 11 and is a movement that was started to help empower girls and to better girls’ lives around the world. The UN declared October 11 "Day of the Girl Child" in 2011 and has since raised awareness and brought attention to the quality of life of girls all around the world. Some topics that were brought up this year were human trafficking, sexual assault, forced marriage, as well as the educational road blocks young girls face. These topics are supported down below and are shocking and truly awful. This day allows us to discuss these problems and create a community of those who can support and empower girls around the world. Just being aware of these problems can help lead us to a brighter future and can help us make a positive change in a girl's life. We hope you can learn from this article and we hope you had a great Day of the Girl, celebrating the amazing and strong girls you have in your life.
- Due to sexual or physical violence, every 10 minutes a young girl dies
- Out of the 1.1 billion girls in the world, 15 million girls are forced to marry before the age of 18
- Out of 30 million people, between all ages and genders, 71% of humans who are trafficked are female, and of that 71%, 20% are adolecents
Nowadays, it’s common for people to buy their food from large retail stores, and only one-eighth of what we eat is local. Eating local produce not only has health benefits, but can help the economy, the environment, and lives around the world. Here are the top reasons you should buy local produce and support local businesses.
"Think globally, act locally." - Paul McCartney
Last weekend we hosted our second craft workshop! We had a great time and are beyond happy with the outcome. Our event took place at LUX Art Institute where we were given a tour by the lovely Carla Roemer. At Lux, they host 5 in house artists a year and display their work in their exhibit. The artist we got to learn about was Vibha Galhotra. We loved learning about her art and were inspired by her creations. After the tour of the gallery, we got to work on our own projects. We took magazine clippings, tissue paper, sequins, and other supplies to make a collage inspired by Vibha and Alison Renshaw, a local artist whose work was also displayed. All of the projects turned out amazing and are pictured below. Thank you so much to everyone who joined us or donated and an extra huge thank you to Carla Roemer and Emily Howard!
We also have more pictures posted on our 'photos' page.
I love to read. My room is filled with books, and most of my free time is spent reading them, reading about them, or reorganizing my bookshelf. One of my favorite things is when people tell me they’re reading a book I recommended, so I decided to share two books with you that have inspired me or left me thinking.
The first book I would recommend is Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I first heard of this book from Emma Watson’s feminist book club on Goodreads. This book describes the problems women face in different parts of the world. It also explains how to improve the lives of these women, as well as their communities. Half the Sky inspired me to help other girls around the world.
Another book I would recommend is The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. This book is about two sisters in the early 1900’s. The story follows two sisters - one is a missionary in Africa, and the other is a child wife in the South. The Color Purple is a beautifully written and inspiring story, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
Nowadays, most people can agree that the word "feminist" is overused. More often than not, when a word is overused, people start shape it to their own meaning. Many people see feminism as what it is defined as, which is: “the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” On the other hand, there are also many people who see feminism as an act of calling out all men and stating that women are the superior sex. Putting one gender on a podium is not what feminism is about. People who do believe that women are better than men are not considered feminists and shouldn’t be associated with feminism at all. Valuing one gender over another is still considered sexism, even if the context is different than what’s expected. Although the term "feminist" is overused in modern culture, it is a word that has incredible strength and relevance in our society and should never lose it's true meaning.
Nowadays some of the best stories are told through books. Books spread positive messages and one author sharing their story can make an impact on countless lives. Here are two books that I recently read and think should be shared with the world.
“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill,
of things unknown, but longed for still,
and his tune is heard on the distant hill,
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”
- Maya Angelou
After raising $540 for girls education, we decided to donate the money to an organization called Camfed (Campaign for Female Education.) Camfed has been working since 1993 to help educate girls in over 120 districts in Africa and has supported 1,603,676 students, giving them access a primary and secondary education. Their work has also helped more that 3.9 million children benefit from an improved classroom and learning environment. We chose to donate to Camfed because they have the same goal as us, and we are able to see what our money is being used for.
Our donation is of $540 is enough to keep two girls in high school for a year, a uniform, and supplies. We are beyond happy with the outcome and can’t wait to keep fundraising. Thank you to anyone who helped us raise money!
The following are three amazing women who we admire very much. Please read on to be inspired and to discover something new.
Malala Yousafzai was born in 1997 in Pakistan. Her dad owned a school and passed his love for education to her at a very young age. When Malala was 11, she started sharing her views on education on a BBC blog under a pseudonym, which received a National Youth Peace Prize for. When she was 15, the Taliban tried to assasinate her on the bus home from school. It took her over a year to recover, but she still continued her work as an educational, children's, and women's activist. She has worked had to bring education to girls worldwide, and in 2014 she won a Nobel Peace Prize. Click HERE to read her whole story.
“One child, one teacher,
one book, one pen
can change the world.”
Click HERE to watch Malala's Nobel Peace Price Speech from 2014
Emma Watson is best known as the actress who plays Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, but she has also been working as a women's rights activist. In 2014, she was named the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for Women and since then has launched the He for She campaign. He for She is an effort to get everyone to understand that gender equality is their issue. Since 2014, she has also launched a book club on equality. They have read books such as Half the Sky, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and The Color Purple, by Alice Walker.
Click HERE to watch Emma's speech to the United Nations.
Misty Copeland is the first African American principal ballerina at American Ballet Theatre. She has taken many great strides for racial equality as well as gender equality. When she was younger she faced many racial challenges and now works to show young girls that if they persevere they can accomplish their dreams. She has been an inspiration to countless people and has been the start of a new era of ballet.