Tag Archives: gender

Girl Rising course empowers students

By Jennifer Valencia

Staff Writer

Since I was a little girl, I have always seen how women have this particular “image” to uphold. Be kind, quiet, put together and prepared to be a good wife. This standard was obviously different from what my male family members were learning.

I was always one to ask questions: Why was it OK for a man to do something, but, if a woman did the same thing, it would be unacceptable? Why do women have to act in a particular manner, but men can act however they please?

I was always one to be independent and not rely on people, especially men. It baffled me – just the thought of women being picture perfect or our worth being only based upon our sex appeal. Seeing those picture perfect or sexualized images everywhere in the media did not help me create a healthy image of myself.

At any point in the day, I can pull out my phone and be able to see what is going on in the world. I know how on Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan and other Snapchat subscriptions, celebrities are harshly judged for their appearance. It feels as if I am too when I see these articles about how “bad” their skin is or how their muffin top was showing.

The central female figures in pop culture are being attacked for aspects of their looks, such as their complexion and their weight, which are being held to an unattainable standard of “perfection.” When my peers see this, we in turn criticize these natural parts of our appearance.

I see how women are being portrayed, and I think to myself: “Is this really what I want a little girl to see and to believe she has to be that image or strive to be that way?” I want the younger generation not to feel pressured to change themselves or be something they aren’t. They should be given a chance to be able to decide how they want to appear to the world, instead of believing there are only certain ways one should look.

At my school, we are lucky enough to have an Expeditions course called Girl Rising. It’s an elective course where only girls are allowed to join, and we talk about problems women have historically faced and still face today. I was lucky enough to have joined this course last year, the first year it was offered.

The woman behind this course is Lia Pinelli, who has held various roles for Summit Public Schools. She is a former assistant director at Tahoma and Rainier and also was a Spanish teacher at Summit Prep.

Lia Pinelli Headshot

This is the instructor of Girl Rising, Lia Pinelli. 

When I interviewed Ms. Pinelli, I asked her if she considered herself a role model to the girls. Her response was, “I would be honored to be one, sure, but I don’t know if I think of myself that way.” I thought her response was very selfless and well put. As someone who has already taken her course, I completely believe that she is an outstanding role model to the girls.

Even though participating in Girl Rising was very emotionally draining, it was one of the most supportive and happiest courses ever. I learned so much about myself and my peers. It ended up being more like a family with a lot of sisters than classmates.

One of my favorite things about Girl Rising was the altar (shown in the featured image above). The altar was a place in the middle of where everyone was sitting on which students were able to put a picture of an item that’s dear to them; for example, a picture of their best friend. Putting personal items on the altar is a way for the girls to get to know each other and find things in common.

Girl Rising isn’t just focused on allowing girls to connect with each other, it also helps students learn how go beyond focusing on their appearance and social status to recognize other important things in life.

“The majority of the images that we see are the same prototype: we see the same bodies, the same faces, and, sure, there are some variations with these models; but, there is very little to no body diversity in the media,” Ms. Pinelli, emphasizing that our society does not celebrate body diversity.

That topic brings me back to the thought of how similar all the celebrities look in the media. When everyone looks the same, it’s a lot easier to feel like an outsider when you look different. So, if you see that you’re different from others, you’re going to change to fit into that similar status quo.

It shocked me to see how women are portrayed in the media. I realized that I’d been oblivious to how much women are sexualized in the media and how much hate is directed toward those who try to achieve a positive body image and practice female empowerment.

After doing the interview with Ms. Pinelli, I felt relief. I was relieved that courses like Girl Rising exist in order to teach young girls positivity in a world where everyone is being judged. I felt proud to have been part of the first group of girls to have done this course, because I see that Girl Rising has continued to be successful in creating powerful women who will change the world.


Summit Preparatory Charter High School celebrates International Women’s Day

By Kristian Bekele and Micah Tam

Staff Writers 

On March 8, 2017, Summit Preparatory Charter High School honored the women who have changed our lives as a way to join the conversation sparked by the observance of International Women’s Day. This day is meant to celebrate all the accomplishments that women have brought toward the advancement of the world.

Teachers from Summit’s Expeditions team coordinated different workshops to highlight women’s rights and to show appreciation for women by having students learn about feminism and discuss the struggles that women still face in our society.

A poster in Room 16 shows appreciation to the “superwomen” in students’ everyday lives.
During one workshop, students were asked to write down male and female stereotypes on sticky notes in order to identify existing social constructs.
Summit Prep juniors Talia Herzberg, Anna Becker, Rasmia Shuman and Sophia Demarais show their pride by wearing red.
In Room 1, students watched a video showcasing sexism in Hollywood.
Outside of Room 11, posters placed on the wall inform the community about International Women’s Day, the #DayWithoutAWoman movement and the Women’s March.

Aaron Calvert, who teaches Entrepreneurship for the Expeditions team, shares his views on gender equality and shows appreciation to the strong women in his life.

Lissa Thiele, who teaches a course on the Holocaust and genocide and a Sociology of Law course for the Expeditions Team, shares her knowledge about female partisans during the Holocaust.

Ms. Thiele continues her discussion of female resistance figures during the Holocaust.

Brooke Hein, who teaches a course called Food for Thought for the Expeditions Team, shares a personal anecdote about how she realized her privilege when she stayed in Mozambique during her time in the Peace Corps.

Featured Image (at the top of this post): Summit Prep seniors Stephany Flores, Alexandra Garcia, and Giselle Canseco dress in red to show their pride on International Women’s Day. 


Summit Prep students seek to define feminism

Election highlights gender inequality

By Absa Fall and Grace Pham

Staff Writers

Gender inequality has become more visible due to public discussion brought on by President-elect Donald Trump. His remarks have brought to light that woman are not being treated as equals.

Angela Castillo, a lecturer at San Jose State University said, “The biggest example of women not being treated as equals is the wage gap.”

The wage gap between men and women in the workplace has been a huge controversy. According to the Lean In report, women get paid less than men, and the gap is worse for women of color.

The report lists the following example: If there was a white woman and a black lesbian, the white woman would get paid less than a man because she’s a woman, but the black lesbian would get paid less than the white woman because she’s a woman, she’s black and she’s a lesbian.

On average, women also get promoted at lower rates, and at each of step of the corporate ladder, the amount of women declines. In 2015, 90 percent of new CEOs were promoted or hired from line roles: 100 percent of those were men.

Lupe Talamantes-Escobedo, office manager at Summit Tahoma Public School said, “It starts by being looked at equally.”


Lupe Talamantes-Escobedo, the office manager at Summit Tahoma, spoke out about gender inequality.

Ms. Talamantes-Escobedo couldn’t stress enough how important it was for woman to be looked at equally and to lead by example.

According to the Huffington Post, when Megyn Kelly questioned president-elect Donald Trump, she said, “You have called women fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” Mr.Trump then laughed it off and said, “I don’t have time for total political correctness.” After that Trump framed Ms. Kelly as a “bimbo” and said that he “didn’t recognize” the comments she was referencing.

The sexist remarks from Mr. Trump have allowed a lot of men to think it is OK to say those things, but his remarks have also raised people’s awareness of this problem.

Both Ms. Castillo and Ms. Talamantes-Escobedo agreed that if 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had won that would have shown women and men that is possible to be successful as a woman.