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International Women’s Month: Meet Some of MCHS’s Influential Women

By Megan Chang, staff writer

By Jamie Lu, staff writer

In a world designed for men, the efforts and achievements of so many women have gone unnoticed and uncelebrated in history. March, Women’s History Month, is the time to celebrate and commemorate the abundance of achievements of powerful women everywhere. 

Their lasting influence can be seen worldwide and deserves recognition. This year, the theme of Women’s History month is “Valiant Women of the Vote” to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the 19th amendment, women’s right to vote.

At our very own school, Maria Carrillo High School, there are a multitude of empowering female role models on campus. 

Cindy Lui, the AP Calculus and Honors Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus Teacher, said “Women’s History Month [gives] the opportunity for past achievements of women to be highlighted.” She emphasizes impactful women, such as Katherine Johnson, the mathematician whose contributions were critical to NASA’s first crewed spaceflights, and University of Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, who is rising to be one of America’s next signature basketball players. Lui believes that despite how far we’ve come, the future is ready to see more female representation, in all fields. Lui previously worked at Optical Coding Laboratory Inc., and as a female engineer, faced the pressures that come with working in a predominantly male field. She felt despite the negative stigma, the company had a good mentorship culture, which gave her “support along the way that didn’t hold [her] back.” When asked what advice she has for young girls entering the STEM field, she said, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help; admit when you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Gail Bowers, MCHS’s talented choral director, has always had a passion for singing as a saxophone player growing up in North Dakota. She found her voice in college with different performance groups, which led to orchestrating. She remembers listening to a judge’s critiques of her directing performance in a competition in the 90’s and him saying “women should not be band directors.” Bowers notes “feeling patronized” is familiar in this industry for females to this day and that it is “hard to earn respect,” but her biggest advice is to “be confident [and] stay confident.” Bowers loves the “powerful feeling when [her students] feel good about what they’re doing” and believes in the future, saying, “It’s going to get better because this generation thinks differently of their peers.”

Katie Barr, MCHS’s principal, references the Global Gender Gap Report of 2018, noting it will take 108 more years until the gender gap is closed and females reach complete equity, which is not in our generation’s lifetime. Despite this, for the future, she says “we have to be stronger together” because the “more we expose, the more we stand together.” She says “being a female administrator is different,” but “Santa Rosa City Schools does not have that culture,” the culture being a male dominated work environment. However, when Barr headed nonprofits, she felt “frustrations around the male business world” because she felt the social stigma of being pressured to “dress up more for potential partners.” Barr hopes to see “equal opportunity and existing barriers from the past generation to be cleared away.” Her advice for girls today is to “blaze the world with your glory; don’t stop.” 

While the month of March is dedicated to female achievements, there’s no stopping anyone from celebrating women every month. Even though the Global Gender Gap Report of 2018 quantifies the time it will take to reach gender equality as 108 years, there are actions that can be taken today to accelerate the timeline: recognition and awareness of the tremendous and world-changing accomplishments of women.

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