Supriya Sadagopan and Jasper Wieling
Raleigh, North Carolina and the Netherlands
This "Solidarity Share" was presented as part of a Keynote Plenary at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference. Solidarity Shares were created by pairs of Delegates from different communities across the globe, finding shared points of struggle, joy, and connection. We hope their stories inspire you to connect across borders, to see the ways that struggles in your community might benefit from solidarity with others.
My name is Supriya Sadagopan, and I am from Raleigh, North Carolina. In my community, gender equality is a challenge. Despite living in an educated and diverse area, gender equality is still a problem. Equality is visible until you look more closely, as it is furthered by people who continue to use microaggressions or underlying commentary to further problems like sexual assault and harassment. There are multiple resources for women, but these are only known about by select individuals-- many still refuse to see the problems of the gender gap, sexual assault, domestic violence, maternal health, and more. There are resources for men, but they are not aware of these or also just do not care enough to learn more about the topic, propagating the ignorance that lies in my community.
My name is Jasper Wieling, and I am from The Netherlands, but I study in the rural town of Canton, Missouri. In my community, gender equality is a challenge. In my schools Enactus team, we try to teach women job skills to empower themselves. We set up a couple workshops such as resume building, interview skills, and computer skills. One particular challenge in this rural community is that there are many teen moms who are not able to finish high school, and therefore are not able to join the job force to their full capacity. And this system continues to be passed down from generation to generation.
On a global scale, gender equality is necessary for progress to occur. This is not an issue of gender rights, but rather one for human rights. This is much more intrinsic to each individual, as everyone should be allowed to live their life freely and equally. Promoting and achieving gender equality is what truly allows us decrease the differences between men and women, increase the education level within families, and expand the status of women everywhere. This can only be achieved if we all stand together in solidarity,.
From both of our experiences we can tell you that the problem is often deeply seeded in communities. Regardless of your gender or the size of your community, gender inequality is a problem, one that we all need to solve.
Our fight is your fight.