Oral presentations on women's issues from all over the world were given today. Three fourths of the girls in class had to introduce their topic while the remaining are saved for tomorrow. Many topics were talked about, such as abortions, running for political office, or sex trafficking. Each person had to say a brief summary of the article they researched, their opinion, why we should care, and what action plans can be addressed to help. After the two to three minute speeches, the class was opened to any questions in mind. Half of the girls finished before our guest speaker arrived.
Our guest was Wendy Schiller, a professor at Brown that teaches about women and politics. We discussed how to properly handle situations where we are disrespected by others. I was bewildered to some of the things she said. Wendy said if we are being disrespected in public, we have to speak up at that same moment. Unless this person is your boss or an authority figure, you ask politely to pull them aside and to talk in private. The second part should already be known, it's the first part that surprised me. If I were to be treated with rudeness, I would just ignore the comments and to move on with my day. I choose to not talk back so a bigger scene won't be caused. Having her direct us to the road where we can talk back threw me out of my comfort zone. I didn't know that was OK to do, especially that I'm only a teenager. I was brought up to never argue back and her words made me think twice of what's acceptable to do or not to do. As soon as she concluded our discussion, the second half of the presentations were continued on.
Later in the afternoon, five current students of Brown were brought into the classroom. Three of them have taken a summer leadership course so they spoke about action plans. They said the best thing to do is to start off small. It's best to create a plan that you can do in reality rather than something extreme where you can't even pull it off. Listening to what they had to say made me feel more confident that it's OK to have a small idea. Little can bloom into something big and beautiful.