Gen Z Takes Up the Torch for Gender Equality


Amy Tran , Guest Writer

The month of March is National Women’s History Month, where we celebrate all of the women who have contributed to the advancement of women’s rights in the United States. Though we have made significant headway in the last century, the fight for gender equality is ongoing. For example, the U.S. women’s soccer team could not have achieved equal pay at a more opportune time: they celebrated their victory about a week before International Women’s Day (March 8), a day where many young women took to social media to show gratitude for the inspiring women in their lives.

While the young women at Athens Academy admire celebrities like Rihanna and Zendaya, nothing amounts to the influence from women that they are close with, such as their family.  Sophomore Anvesha Das, for instance, accredits all of her accomplishments to the opportunities that were made available to her as a result of her mother’s diligence.

Both of Das’s parents escaped underprivileged lives by following their STEM-related careers to America. Das, humbled by her mother’s story, pays it forward by making use of all the opportunities her mother never had.

As the captain of her robotics team and president of the math team, Das has noticed that while some girls currently involved in STEM-related activities at Athens Academy can be timid, this reticence seems to be fading away as girls begin to be exposed to STEM at a younger age.

“I think it’s very cool that they (younger girls) are able to see themselves as people who can change the world by programming or making robots. We’re nurturing them at a younger age, which is really impressive,” she says.

Getting involved in STEM earlier allows girls to experience the same sense of belonging that that their male counterparts in STEM have always had, a revolutionary shift within the STEM community.

Also drawing inspiration from older women in their lives are juniors Olivia Nealy and Mara Thomas. One such woman is AP/Honors Chemistry teacher Julie Boyd, who sponsors their Girls Club. As co-presidents of the club, Thomas and Nealy, along with mentor Boyd, ensure that it is a confidential and supportive space for girls to seek consolation for any problems they might have.

In addition, Thomas and Nealy are valuable members to the Athens Academy volleyball team, which they praise as being a highly encouraging environment where teammates help each other be their best selves. They have found that this self-generated form of support is the most reliable, and they have subsequently pushed themselves to be more confident for the sake of their team. Thomas and Nealy, however, believe that this support should reach beyond women. 

“National Women’s History month is not just about highlighting women. It’s also about helping others. The fight for gender equality is about the fight for equality for all,” Thomas says.

The young women at Athens Academy, after having built a strong web of support for themselves, are not satisfied with stopping here. Their actions this past March reflect the progress our next generation of women has made and predict the progress that is on the horizon.