In my junior year of high school, my AP History class was assigned a research project. We could look into any issue we wanted – within reason, of course – and argue for our side of the debate. I chose to look at the so-called “war on women” in American society. I went into it knowing my angle: the supposed “war on women” in America is non-existent, and the claims of such a war being waged on American women takes away from the attention that should be on the women who truly suffer around the world.
My presentation focused on debunking the wage gap and discussing the ways in which women in American society have shattered the glass ceiling, and to ultimately make the point that there is full equality under the law between men and women in the United States. I pointed out organizations that are working to empower women in the US, as well – Future Female Leaders of America even got an honorable mention!
I juxtaposed the freedom and equality that women have in the United States with the stories of several women from around the world. These women in my examples were real ladies who have experienced atrocious crimes against them simply for being women.
I was proud of my presentation; it was factual, while still highlighting my opinion that the “war on women” in the United States is not real.
Now, almost four years later, I stand by everything I said in that presentation. My facts were accurate. My stories were real. The organizations for which I advocated were reputable. I’m even a Cabinet Member at FFL, now, if that gives my junior-year self more credibility!
But I also recognize the areas in which I fell short in that presentation. While I still believe in everything I said, I know that there were aspects of this issue I failed to consider, or, at the very least, should have acknowledged.
I often think about what I would say if I were to give that presentation today. How would I have addressed issues like #MeToo? How would I have considered the woman who struggled through the beginning stages of her career because her male colleagues thought she was a joke?