Good Morning everyone, my name is Sophie Gable. I want to begin by expressing how extremely honored I feel to speak to you all today. When I was asked to speak I must admit it was met with hesitation. This was not due to a fear of public speaking or just simply not knowing what to say. I was hesitant because I was finally given a platform to discuss something that I have always been so incredibly passionate about. There’s so much I could say about feminism and women’s rights it was hard to narrow down what exactly I wanted to address. So I decided to start by telling my story and how I became such a passionate feminist.
There were many moments in my life when I realized I would half to work twice as hard as my male peers. There were moments when I realized I would have to endure obstacles men never would. One of these moments was before one of my very first “real” parties. My dad was driving me and I can remember him emphasizing how important it was to never leave my drink unattended. For a young pre-teen this was a very confusing conversation but as I grow older I realize how necessary it was. Now as a 17 yr old girl applying to colleges I only hear that advice more and more. Whenever I mention college that advice always makes its way into the conversation and I can’t help but notice that my male friends can’t relate.
Another one of these defining moments was when the man asking for the highest seat in our country casually bragged about sexual assault. Despite, these remarks he still gained the support of a large percentage of our country. It was then when I realized women do really need to work twice as hard as men. My passion for politics was ignited and I so desperately wanted my voice to be heard.
There were many other smaller moments in my life that led to my passion as well. The countless debates I’ve engaged in at school with people that couldn’t recognize a woman’s perspective. When I was in elementary school and adults would tell me a boy in my class was treating me with disrespect because he “liked me.” Or the many times I’ve witnessed demeaning behavior dismissed with a simple “boys will be boys.” These are the moments that made me what to fight for equality. Society has ingrained women to be seen as less than men for centuries and this battle for equality is long overdue.
When I think about the obstacles women have to face, I look to the positive female role models in my life to inspire and empower me. I look at all the women who have stood up before me. I look to my mother, to the women who have recently spoke out against sexual violence, to the women striving to send positive messages to young girls, and to the women in politics fighting for equality. When I feel hopeless I look to the past to the women who had it worse. Women are standing up more than ever before. We are uniting to seek change and I am confident that one day we will live in a world where young girls don’t have to feel confused about their place in society. One day we will live in a world where we strive for equal representation in Congress. A world where women have just as much of a say as men. I hope to not ever have to warn my daughter about watching her drink the way my father had to. I hope the next generation of women don’t ever have to feel threatened walking down the street. I hope they don’t ever decide not to take a leadership position or shy away from math and science careers. Every woman that decides to advocate for equal pay, walk away when they feel uncomfortable, or showcase their intelligence in the presence of men brings us one step closer to that world. And every man that decides to not encourage in “locker room talk,” to compliment a woman’s intelligence instead of her short skirt, or embrace qualities that are not deemed “manly” take us one step further as well. The work we do today helps those who have to endure tomorrow. Thank you.