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Women leading the group at the women's march.

Picture taken by: Isabella Mahal

Women leading the group at the women's march. Picture taken by: Isabella Mahal

Women leading the group at the women's march. Picture taken by: Isabella Mahal

Tess Allen and Analeese Rapagnani

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Every day is a new day to be heard, to make a change, to start something big, or something small. Change is everywhere, good or bad, it surrounds us. As a 16-year-old girl my life is consumed by never ending change. I find myself constantly questioning, doubting, and searching for answers to questions I don’t even know yet. It is an exciting and scary time to be a woman right now. People are finding their voices using their platforms and showing that our voice is unbelievably important and needs to be heard. Empowered women always empower other women.

As a young woman chained to the pressure of my peers and my social presence, I am learning from the empowering women speaking up that other people’s thoughts and judgments do not define me. I am what I make of myself and I choose to make myself miraculous. The way I dress, the pictures I post, the smile I plaster on my face does not define me. I am learning what defines me and what matters to me. I am an individual and my individuality matters, and it deserves to be shown. In the halls of the school you hear boys rate girls and objectify them as though they own us, and their gender gives them a higher authority. The Times Up and Me Too movement showcase women being silenced by men of authority, threatening their carriers to fulfill their desires by breaking these women. These women are coming forward and saying time is up for this disgraceful and inhumane culture. These are women coming together saying Me Too, providing comfort to the victims so they know they are not alone.

According to The New York Times, this year at the women’s march an estimated 1.6- 2.5 million people came together as one big voice for equality. Celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Viola Davis, Natalie Portman, Halsey, and many more used their platform to share their stories and their speeches left people in awe. These women continue to pave the way for our future as they are empowering and sharing their strength and wisdom. I feel so empowered, proud, and passionate about this movement for women. I believe so strongly in just over all human equality and respect. I look at these women making their voices heard and it inspires me to share my thoughts and views and spread love and kindness and show that no matter how old I am it is never too early to make yourself heard. Halsey read a poem she wrote at the women’s march in New York, I thought it was raw, real, beautiful, and tragic. I wanted to share the end of the poem because I feel like it sums things up beautifully. When babies are ripped from the arms of teen mothers and child brides cry globally under the covers / Who don’t have a voice on the magazine covers / They tell us take cover/But we are not free until all of us are free / So love your neighbor, please treat her kindly / Ask her story and then shut up and listen / Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian/Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs / Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues / For the people who had to grow up way too young / There is work to be done / There are songs to be sung / Lord knows there’s a war to be won.” This sheds light on the importance of your voice for you and for all the women who are affected day after day by pain and suffering, the women who don’t have a voice, the women who don’t know any better, the women who are too consumed by fear to speak up. Women like Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, and many, many more remarkable women helped show that your voice does make a change.

­­­­­Through the years women have been battling a continuous fight for their rights. In 1920 women were granted the right to vote. It has almost been 100 years, yet women are still fighting for simple human rights. This year I started my first job, getting minimum wage in the food industry. It is simple and it is easy. My mother begged her parents to attend college because her parents only expectations for her in life were to grow up get married and care for her family. My mom got into accounting, she started in the mail room and claimed her way to the top. They paid for her education at Denver University and she tells me now that being a woman in the workforce is hard. She said that being the only woman in the room made her push herself harder, speak louder, and show she was just as capable. She has taught me the importance of speaking up and working for what I want. Women in the workplace make 80% of what a man makes as of 2016. The AAUW stated that “At the rate of change between 1960 and 2016, women are expected to reach pay equity with men in 2059.” If I work in a position and I have the education the skills and the work ethic that excels expectations, why is it that my gender defines my pay? Women deserve equality, for our future, our kids’ futures.  If the pay does reach equity by 2059 I would be 57 years of age. My kids will be growing up and seeing change and understanding more and more the need and the hard work that has gone into the change, the change that was made for them. We can sit here and create robots, flying cars, smart phones, and all these amazing material items, yet we can’t pay women the same as a man. How is that fair?

Young women deserve to know their worth, to know their power and to be inspired to speak up. I like to live my life through three simple rules. These rules are powerful, meaningful, and help me grow in confidence and strength. Create organic relationships, be real and raw with the people around you, it should feel natural, organic. Be transparent, do not be afraid to speak your mind, and ask questions.Life is too short to hide your emotions and thoughts. Lastly, as a young woman this one is especially hard, and it’s hard to feel this way all the time, but your imperfections make you perfectly imperfect. So many amazing women have paved a path of power for us, for our future, so embrace who you are and always stand up for what you know is right. It is especially important as a woman to walk into any room with your head high, heart open, and confident.

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