Our Turn

The petition was signed by 30 girls. It was very simple, or at least we thought so. All we wanted was for them to agree to our plan. We weren’t asking for much, just an opportunity for girls to get exposure to football through PE. We marched right up to the athletic officials and handed them the crumpled piece of lined paper that had touched so many eager hands. On that paper were the signatures of the girls who wanted change.

Turns out it’s a lot more complex than we thought. It requires patience, determination, and more patience. We weren’t allowed to reshape the curriculum the way we wanted. Our only option was to build onto what had already been written. How do we keep the current curriculum, but still give girls an opportunity that they deserved? We thought about the question and realized that the only way was to come up with a new system. When we suggested this idea to the athletic officials, they said they would think about it and let us know later. It’s been one year.

Even after we gathered together as a community to try and fix this issue, it still wasn’t solved. As important as community is, it’s more important to have people in power who can make the change. Katie Sowers is the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl and she’s the first openly gay coach in the NFL. Her team, the San Francisco 49ers, was just in Super Bowl LIV this year. The first female football coach in the NFL was Jennifer Welter. She became a coach in 2015. Football has always been regarded as an all-male sport, but these ladies have shown that if you believe in yourself and have a true passion for something, anything is possible.

I believe that my generation can continue the journey that was started by strong women many years ago. The fight for gender equality isn’t over. I want my generation to be the one that elects a female president, that creates more role models for women in corporate America, and that makes gender bias the exception rather than the norm. I have female role models sitting in the Capitol, campaigning for president, and running businesses. There are teenage girls not that much older than me organizing protests and speaking out for what they believe in. In this 2020 election, six out of more than twenty presidential candidates are women. Ruth Bader Ginsburg completed law school with a child and a husband with cancer before going on to the Supreme Court. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face because she knew she deserved the right to an education.

The best part of history is that we can look back and see all the mistakes that were made in the past and learn from them. I know that today’s laws and the way society views girls and women are far more progressive when compared to earlier decades, but it is still not enough. There are commercials showing girls how they should look and books and other media depicting girls as quiet figures who obey orders. That is not who we are as people. We are hard workers who are destined for just as much success as men.

Read more: Student Voices Project 2020

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