Friday, July 13, 2012

Halfway Point

In today’s Women & Leadership discussion, we were divided into groups and were asked to discuss how gender roles and expectations affect people. Kisa gave us a blank poster where we were asked to draw a box. Inside the box, we wrote words or actions that relate to society’s expectation of how a woman should act. Outside of the box, we wrote words and criticisms that women who don’t live up to that expectation get. Most of the teams had similar words or consequences, which I already expected. Kisa gave us another poster and we did the same activity, but instead of writing about what’s expected from a woman, we wrote about what’s expected from a man. Again, most of the groups came up with the same words and criticisms. We got back together as a class and discussed the whole activity. This was when I began to see how much I never really paid attention to how much I expect from either genders. If I see a woman and she is well dressed and poised, I quickly assume that she is a great representation of a strong woman; but when I see a woman who doesn’t fix up as much or is able to voice her opinions, I see her as obnoxious and aggressive. The same goes for men. If I see man that’s well built and emotionally strong, then I applaud him; but if he seems soft and weak, I turn my head from him. I don’t mean to do these things because I’m a bad person, but I guess that I just expect men and women to act a certain way. I’m realizing how constricting this can feel and I want to try and change this habit as best as I can.

Then we had a guest speaker, Suzy Alba. I learned a lot about her passion in doing community work and giving back to those who are in need. She expressed how she used her “disadvantages” such as growing up with her parents always at work, or being in a divorced family, to make positive changes in her life. I got really inspired by her story because I saw that nothing is impossible as long as you set your mind and heart into what you’re passionate about. She also joined AmeriCorps after college. I didn’t know about AmeriCorps until she talked about it and now I really want to join it after college. Then maybe I’ll consider the Peace Corps! Suzy is running for City Council and is basically an advocate of woman empowerment. She’s putting all her work into the election, which is a really great thing.

After lunch, we had another guest speaker. This time, it was Selena, who took the same program last year. She came in to talk a lot about the Action Plan and the process of it all. I found it comforting that someone my age was able to pull through with her Action Plan. She is working on holding workshops for girls who grew up in tough families in South Providence. I was inspired as to how much work she put into organizing her plan. She also gave us a lot of insight in finding what we want to do for our Action Plan in addition to all the tips she provided.  That was a great push, considering the fact that I finally formed my Action Plan.
Being given the chance to act on what I’m passionate about is a great opportunity for me. I can’t wait to develop my plan and possibly implement it as best as I could. Until then, stay tune for my Action Plan!

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