Female Empowerment at the 5Cs

When we think about the news we see on a daily basis, we often see articles or videos casting a negative light on women. Whether there was a “nip slip” while a woman was rescuing a drowning victim in the ocean, or a popular celebrity who has put on a few extra pounds, women are constantly being criticized, even when they are doing so much good for the world that deserves to be reported on.

Although the events we’re used to reading are not uplifting, they are the type of stories that dominate the news. It is interesting to me that there hasn’t been more of an effort to discontinue this pattern and attempt to put a positive spin on the news that we are so used to hearing and reading. This article is an attempt to highlight the amazing things that women are doing at the Claremont Colleges.

As a sophomore at Scripps, I feel I have already witnessed the magic that is the 5Cs and experienced so many of its perks. The small classes, the community of intelligent, yet down-to-earth people and the abundance of opportunities allow students to engage in what they are most passionate about. For example, most of the people I meet are involved in something other than their classes, which makes conversations that much more rich and engaging.

In particular, the amazing community of strong-willed women never ceases to amaze and inspire me. I am continually impressed by the activism and passion that those who identify as women exhibit. What I especially love is that I can have some of the most intriguing conversations with my peers and professors about social justice issues, discuss the history of Chaucer’s stories, or more lightly, talk about the newest Star Wars movie.

The fact that I can have conversations that vary so much is a testament to the commitment Scripps and the 5Cs have to fostering a community of intellectuals who can converse respectfully about subjects from across the spectrum, and be willing to not only listen openly to different points of view, but also change their own opinions after considering someone else’s perspective.

In order to pull all of these ideas together, I conducted a survey of women from the Claremont college campuses to tell me a little bit about themselves, and reflect on their time at the 5Cs as well as themselves. What I read was not only funny, intelligent, and inspiring, but also honest, and that was the goal of this article. I hope to exemplify that even in a world where honesty can mean horrible news and negative imagery, the stories I read simultaneously combined truth, wit, care, and passion.

When asked about their favorite part of identifying as a woman, many answered that they felt empowered, that they loved going to the 5Cs because they feel that here, women are respected, and that there are strong role models for them to work, learn, and grow alongside. When asked what they were most passionate about, they said that they loved helping others learn, that they wanted to save the planet, and that social justice issues were of the utmost importance.

When they were asked what careers they want to pursue, responses varied and ranged from scientist to writer to musician to movie critic to chef to CEO of a non-profit business. The best part about these responses was that I knew these individuals would be successful in whatever they chose to do. After reading this feedback, I was excited to read about the last question on the survey: What is one thing that inspires you about identifying as a woman? 

The answers I received were the best part of writing this article. Many wrote that they were proud of the adversity that women had overcome and the support that women give to each other. Others wrote that they were grounded in the fact that they had the chance to make change and affect those around them. As one response noted, “Being a woman is empowering,” which is not always a popular sentiment, but one that is very important to be reminded. I, too, believe that being a woman is empowering, but it can be hard to remember that the empowerment stems from our different experiences and opportunities. Even though we might look, or think, differently, we can all feel valid and confident in our own skin.

Caitlyn Fick SC '19 loves chemistry puns and writing about people and their experiences. She is so excited to be a guest writer for TSL and can be found in lab or with her wonderful friends when she's not writing or studying.

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