By SAANVI BHUTEJA ‘23 and SHRINIDHI RAMACHANDRAN ‘23
According to the United Nations, 132 million girls are out of school. This has been an ongoing problem in the journey to spread equality and awareness for women. In honor of Women’s Awareness Month, The Eagle’s Eye would like to spotlight the Girl Up club in Edison High School. This club is an extracurricular club that lets students comprehend the issues and difficulties women face on a daily basis alongside being a comfortable space where students are able to talk about issues that they are passionate about. Matters that are usually put to the side are spotlighted through this club as their advocacy for females is shown through multiple topics such as food, feminine hygiene, and events like clothing drives. As remote school continues to take a toll on multiple extracurricular activities, read more to find out what this club has done and plans to do as they persevere through this pandemic.
With COVID-19 bringing about multiple difficulties, Girl Up has been able to see the light in the situation, especially when it comes to attendance.
“This year, we see that more people are able to join our meetings. Since clubs were usually held after school in the previous years, many people did not have rides and could not stay due to other commitments,” said Beena Prajapati ‘21, Co-President of Girl Up. As participation in this club increases, so does the commitment of every board and club member. Even with the pandemic providing various challenges, this club is proud to announce that many of their activities have been very successful, including their first-ever Winter Food Drive. This food drive obtained many donations, as the club member did not disappoint. As the difficult yet hopeful times occur for this club, they hope to continue to receive more food and clothing donations and participation in order to boost the future and visibility of multiple hidden issues that occur in our world today.
In honor of International Women’s Month, Girl Up collaborated with FCCLA to host a week full of events. The program kicked off on March 8 when two of the clubs brought in guest Speaker Veronica Harris to host a Q & A session about issues girls face. For the rest of the week, multiple activities were posted in the classroom during Empower A Nation, where students could participate with a chance of winning a prize. The questions varied from asking their favorite quote to watching videos made by teachers.
“This month was very important to Girl Up because we were able to empower our members and spread awareness on an issue that still exists today,” Prajapati. This program gave a chance for students in our school to express themselves and advocate for themselves.
So far this club has held meetings about different aspects of changing the lives of girls. While the remote situation has made the experience different, they have tried their best to make a change. In winter, Girl Up hosted a food drive for the local pantry, Hands for Hope. Later, game sessions were held to debrief and have fun. In March, this club had a discussion about double standards and why it’s important.
“I had learned how important it is to share your experiences because you never know how it may help someone else,” said Neoma Chowdhury ‘21, Events Organizer. All these meetings are held so people can voice out their opinions. Many people felt these meetings gave them a new perspective and ideas for issues in society.
On March 26, Girl Up collaborated with iSTEM to host a meeting discussing women in STEM and the issues they face including internalized sexism and how fearful many women are to be seen as too “aggressive” in such a male-dominated field. Efforts to overcome these boundaries by providing awareness to misogynistic behaviors is one of this club’s many purposes, and this is quite visible through their continuing donation drives and sessions. In April, Girl Up’s goal is to launch a Spring Clothing drive in order to aid women shelters.
“I believe that you can help others without needing to donate money, and that time and passion for a cause can be worth just as much as fundraising,” said Chowdhury. Furthermore, as this club continues its efforts to give students eye-opening experiences about specific topics, the club plans to host meetings in April discussing femicides and double standards. Girl Up believes it is imperative to speak about the fears and problems females face and that regardless, women are not the issue.
“Our goal is to present issues that exist for women all around the world and hear the opinions of our peers,” Prajapati.
Ultimately, while Girl Up is a new club, they have accomplished many goals and plan to accomplish more. This club is dedicated to helping people gain confidence and the support they need. Zoom may be a different platform than expected, but it is still possible to achieve goals such as speaking about issues that are often neglected. Anyone can join this club and help make a difference personally and in the world. There’s always prevalent issues in society but getting involved and advocating can change the world.
“Although women’s month is nearly ending, that does not mean we have to stop celebrating the female role models in our lives,” said Chowdhury.