March is Women’s History Month, and this month, I have marveled at the leadership of the young women at Crossroads. In this Wednesday Notice, you will find stories about our students participating in the inaugural Teen Advocacy Day with Planned Parenthood in Jefferson City, attending a leadership conference, and organizing and leading the National School Walkout event for Crossroads.
In many ways, we are able to support, embrace, and elevate the leadership of the young women at Crossroads, particularly when they identify and step into leadership roles of their own design and making. I do wonder, though, about other aspects of the daily experiences of the women who attend school and work here.
There is a great deal of aspiration and affirmation in our community, I believe, and yet this alone will not combat or disrupt the systems of sexism in which we all have been socialized. A commitment to justice and equity requires that we think about these systems of privilege and power, which shape our perceptions of and experiences with women even at a school like ours.
So, how might we better work toward gender parity at Crossroads? In what ways do bias, stereotype, and even our own optimism about our community inhibit the experiences and relationships young women have here? I invite your responses to these questions, and I invite further questions for consideration as we work toward realizing our mission commitments to community, justice, and equity.
In the meantime, I hope you will take time to honor the lived experiences, work, and possibilities of the young women in your life and communities. I hope, too, that you will take time to cultivate this respect for women’s leadership and potential among the young men in your life.