Shattering the glass ceiling in Women’s History Month


Photo Courtesy of Aliza George

WCHS Fem Lit club had a fundraiser for the Maryland Food Bank organization in support of providing underprivileged children with literacy resources. They raised a total of $500 from selling baked goods.

By Catherine Chan, Staff Writer

Women belong in the kitchen. Women should obey the requests of their husbands. Women should not go to school. Women should not vote. In the 1900s, these were all common stereotypical sayings about the role of women in society, but times have changed. Women are no longer confined to the kitchen and can go to school, vote and do whatever brings them happiness.

In March of 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating the month of March as Women’s History Month. Women of the past and present are commemorated during this month for their bravery and perseverance through challenging times and celebrated for their incredible accomplishments. At WCHS, clubs like Generation She (Gen. She) and the Feminist Literature club (Fem. Lit.) focus on empowering women all year round.

Gen. She is a club that encourages girls to pursue careers in the field of business, leadership and entrepreneurship through holding workshops, speaker events and projects. Similarly, Fem Lit also aims to encourage younger girls but instead through literature, as the club dives deep into analyzing previous and current examples of literary works surrounding feminism. Both clubs highlight the remarkable feats women have achieved, in addition to the challenges women face in society today.

“In our club meetings, we have presented research regarding barriers that prevent women from pursuing business careers, such as cultural stereotypes and hiring biases,” WCHS junior, and


co-founder of Gen. She, Catherine Nan said. “With that being, we strive to develop confidence, leadership, and real-world skills that will better help our members pursue opportunities in the business world.”

Cultural stereotypes are the main factors as to why the business industry is male-dominated. Stereotypes involving a woman’s perceived inferiority and weakness compared to their male counterparts still arise during interviews, making it difficult for women to succeed in getting management positions. However, some women challenge these stereotypes by using their confidence not as a shield for protection, but as a sword to fight for themselves.

“We hosted a speaker event that featured three excelling college students from NYU Stern and Southern Methodist University, discussing high school internships and advice from undergraduates majoring in finance and other business fields,” Nan said. “They mentioned that while big businesses like Google might not be looking for high school business interns, you can try reaching out to startups and applying to summer programs at colleges.”

The speakers highlighted the important idea of women putting themselves out there. Women and girls must take advantage of the opportunities that come their way and use each as a stepping stone to reach higher achievements.

“In the upcoming month, Gen. She is planning to host meetings about personal finance and entrepreneurship,” Nan said. “We are planning to talk about different types of investments and retirement plans such as 401(k)s to ensure women know how to be financially stable.”


Financial stability is a major pillar in business, as businesses can not stand upright or grow if they are not funded properly. In addition to speaker events and club workshops, WCHS clubs also like to hold fundraising events.

“We recently had a fundraiser in which we were able to raise just over $500 for the Maryland Book Bank, a charity that gives books to underprivileged kids,” WCHS junior and co-founder of Fem. Lit club Aliza George said. “While there were many kind people that donated, we were met with a surprising amount of rudeness and condescending comments, mainly directed at the feminist ideals on our poster.”

Fundraisers are always a fun and engaging way to raise money for organizations. Individuals may encounter many friendly, generous people along the way, but also people who differentiate from the goals of the fundraiser. In America, everyone can freely express their own opinions on a variety of topics.

“For example, a potential donor walked by our stand and glared at our poster–squinting to make out the word ‘feminist,’” George said. “After a brief period of silence, he snarled and asked if this was a liberal or conservative club. While we tried to come up with a pleasant inclusive response, he continued to stare us down, his eyes gleaming with hatred. He did not donate.”

Feminism is still a frightening and controversial topic for many since some believe the movement as a whole is unnecessary, as they believe equal rights for women have already been achieved. George mentioned how many people view feminism as a sole voice advocating for


equal rights between the two sexes. However, there are more nuanced perspectives on the topic that Fem. Lit explores in its discussions.

“During the month of March, we are planning to read the highly influential work of Angela Davis titled ‘Women, Race, and Class” and hold discussions on it,’” George said.

“Women, Race, and Class” is a collection of 13 essays about slavery and the women’s liberation movement from the 1960s and up. Her essays unravel the importance of remembering those movements and to move forward from them. The deep analysis of the critical moments of time in women’s history this book offers for sure captures Fem. Lit’s goal of acknowledging feminism.

“Throughout this year, we have been working towards creating a safe space in Winston Churchill High School in which students can voice their opinions on feminism and all movements that relate to it,” George said. “We are very proud of the fact that we have been able to gain over 60 participating members who consistently show up to our meetings and contribute to the helpful and inclusive environment that we strive to cultivate.”