Women’s History Month at Norwin

Norwin girls volleyball players celebrate after a point in the 2019 season.

Mrs. Hawley

Norwin girls volleyball players celebrate after a point in the 2019 season.

     Women’s history month in the United States begins each year on March 1st and is a celebration of the contributions of women in history and modern society.  Women’s history month serves as a time for all women to celebrate each other and feel recognized for their accomplishments and hard work.  Women’s rights icons such as Susan B. Anthony, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Angela Davis, and Coretta Scott King are appreciated more than ever during this time of year.  

      Women gained the right to vote when the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, and nearly 101 years later, women are still fighting for equal opportunities.

      “Women’s History Month is a really important time to me,” said one sophomore student.  “It’s really important to recognize the struggles we face as women these days.”

     In 2021, many advancements have been made.  A female Vice President, an increase in availability of women’s health products and services, and the ability to serve in all combat positions in the military all are improvements that have been made over the past 10 years. While all of these things are great achievements, to teenagers, the struggle can go far beyond the accomplishments of famous women.

      At Norwin High School, many of the female students recognize the celebration of this month and reflect on their unique struggles growing up as a teenage girl at this time in history.     “School can be uncomfortable as a girl,” said a junior student.  “You feel stared at and singled out, by every person.  I think it’s just the insecurities that are unique to growing up as a girl and always wanting to be perfect.”

      It’s called “the confidence gap.”  Traditionally, the average teenage girl is much less confident than the average teenage boy.  Although the explanation for this is not completely clear, the added pressure put on girls at a young age can account for a lot of this insecurity.

      “I would say I am not very confident and it badly affects me in a lot of ways” said one junior student.  “It hurts me in school, in my sport, and when I am with my friends.  I’m not sure if it is because of added pressure, but I know that it’s there.”

Norwin girls soccer lifting the state championship trophy in 2017. (Chaz Palla-Tribune Review)

      Norwin has fielded incredible girls sports teams for decades, starting in the 1970s when the girls volleyball team won 12 straight state championships, and more recently, the girls soccer team, who won a state championship in 2017.  Although these female student athletes have had so much success, many still struggle to feel valued as an athlete.

      “You always hear stuff from people you know and online about how bad female athletes are,” said one girls basketball player.  “It’s really frustrating to see and hear comments about WNBA players from people who could never play basketball professionally devaluing them.  It’s really discouraging as a female athlete to feel like you’re not as good as the boys.”

       Female student athletes also deal with the negative stereotypes about them while playing their sport.

      “People think we cause drama with our teammates, or that our teams are based around drama,” said a junior volleyball player.  “That’s not even true.  We all love each other and our sport, that’s what it’s about.”

       These negative stereotypes, sports based or not, have an extremely negative effect on girls and their self esteem.

       “It’s tough when everyone just assumes things about you,” said a senior student.  “They assume you like drama, base your whole life on boys, want to wear makeup, which is fine if you do any of those things, but not everyone does.”

       It’s things like this that can make teenage girls feel targeted by their peers at times.

       “Sometimes it feels like everything we do can be criticized,” said a junior student.  “If you say you like sports, somebody will want you to name the entire team.  If you say you like movies, somebody will want you to recite every line from every movie.  I just want to be allowed to like what I like.”

       The struggles that they face, although frustrating, are what remind girls that they need to stick together and support each other.

      “When it feels like everyone else is against us, we have to just stick together,” said a junior student.  “We can all be pretty mean to each other at times, but we can’t let the difficulties we face drive a wedge between us.  We are all on the same team!!”

    Women’s History Month reminds women and girls across the country of the progress we have made, but it also is a reminder of how far there still is to go in the fight for equality.