I was so anxious about my Newsworthy article that I volunteered to go with the first group that was to present in the morning so that I could get the butterflies out of my stomach. Surprisingly, it wasn't too bad of an experience. I'm slowly getting over my public speaking phobia... slowly, but surely.
But before some presentations, including mine, we had the greatest opportunity to listen to guest speaker, Brown's very own Prof. Wendy Schiller. She is by far my favorite guest speaker. She talked a lot about women in politics and how women are in general. She talked about how women are naturally being challenged by society, mainly because they are the ones who have to bear the child. For example, men can keep going with their careers, but women would have to take pregnancy leaves. It is true that most women in high end careers or in politics are a lot older than men. Usually, they have families and children compared to the younger men in politics. I found that interesting because it's something my mother always talks about back home. Prof. Schiller gave us advice on handling situations as women. One thing that I loved was when she made it clear to us why to always address our questions with confidence. If I start a question off with a "this may be a dumb question, but..." then who would take me seriously, right? That's exactly what she reminded us. No one will take you seriously if you're instilling doubt into your audience even before you open your mouth. I will take that lesson to account for the rest of my life.
She brought up several powerful women in politics, including Hilary Clinton. All of the those women share a common ground. They have all been through many of the world's toughest situations, but all managed to persevere through them all. That's inspriring to me as I'm continuing to learn how importatnt perseverance is. I definitely am more aware of how women are changing the world around me.
Prof. Schiller left and about 4 other students presented their articles. Then it was my turn. I decided to present an article that I came across on the NY Times website. It is about single women gaining acceptance in Iran. It follows a young student who has to lie about her marriage status in order to keep her apartment. She is one of the many single Iranian women who are choosing education over marriage. She is part of the 60% women population in Universities. The government dislikes this, and is even more furious that the divorce rate has gone up by 135%.
In order to try and combat this, they actually created policies in 2006 to make marriage in Iran as affordable and quick as possible. This backfired as it cheapens the overall look of traditional Iranian weddings. But the social media, internet, and cheap travel flights are promoting the city life. Many young women are then moving to the city.
I loved this article because I think it's a positive illustration of how amazing education is. I feel for the young woman in the article because, just like her, I don't want to ever stop learning or be tied down in a marriage. I think the Iranian women are definitely progressing and it's even more impressive that it's happening because they want it to happen. They aren't part of big groups that push for women's rights, but isntead they do what they want to do and society has no other option but to accept it eventually.
After a couple of more presentations, we had a chance to discuss our Action Plans again in small groups. I felt that it was a great assignment because we had a chance to get feedback about projects. Afterwards, a student panel of 4 Brown students came in to talk to us about college life and leadership. It's inspiring to know that all of them have gone through what we are going through and have made it to where they are now. They talked about college life at Brown. I was so happy to be able to relate to their stories because I've been getting a taste of Brown these past few days. I actually knew the "hot spot" buildings they talked about.
I love student panels because it's so personal yet so informative that it's effective. Well, at least for me. Again, we got to meet Irene, who was also part of the ILC I think last year! She is definitely an inspiration to me.