What being a woman means to me

Monday, March 08

By Weronika Ludzik

Ahh, March has rolled around, women's history month. When I was younger I didn't see the significance of this month but as a grown into a wiser and bolder woman this month means so much and here's what being a woman means to me.

Growing up my parents never limited me, I was told I can be anything. I enjoyed playing with cars and even one Christmas I got a remote-controlled car and I was so excited, of course, I had some barbie dolls but I don't have many memories of playing with them. When I was old enough to go to school I went to an all-girl primary (elementary) school ( in Ireland it's actually quite common). And since it was a single-sex school they also didn't limit us we had the same opportunities as the boy school across the road. It felt so great to be equal that I didn't know the two genders are treated differently. I think I realised that in 5th class (5th grade) when I got into Harry Potter which then got me familiar with Emma Watson. 

Emma Watson taught me a lot about feminism and definitely turned me into the feminist I am today, which I take pride in. I remember I was shocked and surprised when I found out all we women have to go through to even be treated near enough to equal. Of course, I didn't understand everything at the age of eleven but I was wise enough to see the divide.  

Moving into secondary school which is also single-sex the divide started to feel real for me we didn't have the same choice subjects as the boys. For example, for our Junior Cert, we only had a choice between four-choice subjects Art, Home-ec, Business and Music. While I know the boy school had subjects like Graphic design, woodwork, metalwork, but they didn't have home-ec. For reference, Home-ec is a subject where you learn how to cook, run a house, budget and basically the necessities for life (see the sexism). This is why I found it sexist that I can't do woodwork or metalwork and really I was limited in what I could do. In the long run, I chose business and home ec as I felt these subjects will help me later in life because I know I will have to work twice as hard to get anywhere. 

I openly voiced my opinion about this divide with my parents and friends. But not only that whenever I have a chance to write a speech or a free essay I will write about gender equality and voice all my opinions on sexism and other gender stereotypes. I feel that as a woman in need to stand up for myself and show the world that I can accomplish anything. Sexism and gender stereotypes made me into a person that will try and prove everyone wrong, that I as a woman can do this.

Now I'm heading into the leaving cert, with a bit over two years in school left and I already have an idea of what I want to do in college and that is Crimilogy for four years and then Garda College (Garda means Police). I already heard stuff saying 'oh you need to physically and mentally able'  and all I got from the subcontext is 'this is not the job for you,'  but I'm gonna prove them wrong because being a woman for me means doing the things other deem as impossible. 

So to all the young girls and women who are reading this, do what you want to do, don't let anyone tell you that it's not for you and especially don't let men tell you what you are and are not capable of.   

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