Feminism is equality is a group dedicated to fostering conversations about gender on campus. Gender and its intersections with race, class, sexuality, and other identity markers are issues that affect people both worldwide and here at Andover. These issues will not be addressed unless the community makes an active effort to continue this conversation this year and beyond.
Last year, the campus erupted into debate over the gender disparity among leadership roles on campus. The “Feminism at Andover” Facebook page acquired nearly 1,000 members and well over 2,000 posts and comments from Andover’s students and alumni. This campus-wide debate has received media attention from major media outlets and grew to address not only the historic dearth of girls in top leadership positions at Andover, but also the disparity between gender in class participation and Andover’s hook-up culture.
As the student body begins to see a new wave of campus-wide conversations and trends, we hope the crusade for gender equality is not lost. While upperclassmen have the experience to enact change, it is important that underclassmen are involved in the discussion. We need all new and returning students to engage in this discussion, no matter what gender, age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or class status.
This problem is not going to be improved by a simple change in school policy, but by the synergy of students and faculty to shift the institution’s inherent attitudes. Considering the slow pace at which change is actually made, fads generally die out, leaving underclassmen without the resources to continue the change. We cannot allow this to happen. Juniors and lowers, we need your help.
The first months at Andover are overwhelming: an influx of new names to learn, an adjustment to living away from home, and a seemingly never ending pile of homework. There are issues on campus that exist much greater than these initial challenges.
Andover is a school of fads. Each term, new songs take over the campus and are repeated at every den dance, new fashion trends become popular, and new problems with the school become high topics of discussion. Discussions at Andover ebb and flow with time, and while originally the top of everyone’s minds, discussions about the schedule change and co-presidential model soon die out. Feminism is a topic that cannot die out and must be propagated by all students in the Andover community.
As a group of students committed to furthering the goals of Feminism = Equality, we encourage you to see the circumstances not just as an obstacle, but also as an opportunity. Together, we can work our way towards a more equal community and society beyond.
Antonia Leggett ’15, on behalf of Feminism is Equality.