To the Editor:
As a little girl, I remember being told by my parents that I could do anything I set my mind to. If I felt so inclined to become the President of the United States, all I needed to do was work hard and strive for it. At that age, I could afford such wishful thinking. I could afford to disregard any implications that my race, class, sex and other parts of my identity put upon me. Now, in high school, I am forced to acknowledge how being female somehow hinders my ambitions.
I never thought that, to gain certain leadership positions on campus, I would need to run with a male counterpart to have a fighting chance at winning. While I understand that the Co-President model is actually meant to encourage girls to run, I find that a decision to turn the Cluster President model into a co-presidency would be extremely discouraging as a girl on this campus.
I feel as though I am being told that no matter how hard I try, how qualified I am, or how much I put myself out there, these leadership positions would not be within my reach because I am female. I agree that the lack of girls in the Cluster President position is concerning, considering we have had 40 years of coeducation. Instituting this policy may be effective in promoting more girls to this position since it almost guarantees that every pair will have one boy and one girl; however, it would greatly strip away any confidence that a girl has in her abilities to be an able, independent leader on campus.
I sadly understand that, in our society today, I automatically face discrimination as a girl, whether that concerns wage inequality or expectations of incompetence. What attracts students to Andover, however, is the promise of a place where you are free to express yourself without those discriminations. I came here expecting to be able to strive toward any goals I have, regardless of what sex I may be. Instead, I am faced with a policy that would completely disregard my efforts and talents and, instead, suggest that I would only win this coveted position if I were to run with a boy.
Rather than being advised to run with a boy to become a leader on campus, I want to be encouraged to believe in my abilities and strive for these leadership positions. I want to be told that being a girl is not a disadvantage, but an asset. This Cluster Co-Presidency would only tell me that I cannot achieve what so many male leaders have done before me alone.
Taylor Crutison ’16
Social Functions Head of West Quad North Cluster