What It Means to Be a Woman

What It Means to Be a Woman

When we celebrated International Women’s Day last week, many applauded the work of valiant women's rights activists, artists, engineers, authors and others who have helped spur change over the course of the centuries. Rather than focus on the leaders of this movement, I would rather trace women's achievements on a microscopic level, versus a macroscopic one.

 

I believe that if change is to start with anyone, it might as well start first with me. It is sometimes hard for women to take a step back and bask in all of the accomplishments they have achieved. It is sometimes easier to be so hypercritical and self-degrading of themselves than it is to be confident and self-praising.

 

In no way, shape, or form, should one’s ego be inflated too much. But, there is nothing wrong with being proud of some of the really great things you have done over the course of your life - especially those accomplishments for which you worked hard to achieve a certain goal. Moderation is the key. Moderation is the key to finding a healthy balance between that confidence and hubris. So, for the purposes of this entry, I want to highlight some of my own accomplishments that trace my personal metamorphosis from an insecure, indecisive girl to a more secure, resilient woman.

My first big win did not come until my junior year of high school. During my junior year, I participated in a competition and was one of twenty-two students selected to attend a two-week program in Italy. The program was comprised of two weeks of visiting tourist destinations, making pottery, eating savory food and learning Italian. Even though I have been studying the language for seven years, I am still only semi-fluent. However, whenever I feel down, the competition serves as a reminder of my accomplishment. If my ability had been doubted, I would have never been accepted. This competition is the reason why I am still learning Italian today.

 

 

My second accomplishment was applying to and then actually enrolling in college. I am a first-generation college student and also one of the first women in my family to escape the cult of domesticity.

During my first three years in college, I had the opportunity to harness my leadership skills by applying them to different clubs. For example, last semester, I was elected vice-president of the Asian Students Intercultural Association, an organization driven to help promote diversity in my university. I always tended to shy away from engaging myself in activities like that in high school, so I never dreamed I would one day hold a prominent leadership position.

 

 

Another big accomplishment I had during college was being accepted to The Washington Center (TWC) program and securing an internship at the well-renowned National Immigration Law Center. I never thought that I would be able to leave the rural town where my university is situated and assimilate into a larger, more metropolitan environment. But, I accepted the offering and learned to paddle on my own. I learned to ride the Metro on my own and work eight hour shifts at my exciting internship while still balancing schoolwork and a personal life.

As part of TWC's program, I had the opportunity to visit the Supreme Court and enroll in a constitutional law class focusing on the intersection of law with philosophy, something I've always been interested in. So far, I have had the opportunity to see the Supreme Court not just once, but twice. I'm thrilled that I chose a TWC evening course that happens to be rigorously challenging, but also enthralling. I like it because I enjoy being challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone.

While in D.C., I even had the great honor of meeting one of the legislative advisors to Senator Chris Murphy. Chris Murphy is the senator of Connecticut, where I currently live. I would have never had the opportunity to see him and make a connection, had it not been for TWC!

While I know gravity may pull me down during stress, I am comforted to know that I will always have friends, TWC roommates and great women to act as my supporting buttresses in times of need. I even have a charismatic partner overseas, who is a proud feminist and firm believer in gender parity.

 


 

So, here is an ode to International Women’s Day! This was just my own personal narrative. But, I encourage other women to stand in unanimity and share their story, too.

 

Con Affetto, baci, e abbracci!

P.

 

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