Now that the Moxie Project summer is over, we asked students to reflect back on the summer in its entirety. We asked them, “What connections have you made between your work and your readings that have stayed with you? What was most meaningful to you? Has it changed what you plan to do in anyway?”
Sarah K. interned at Legal Momentum this summer.
The biggest and most challenging lesson I have learned this summer is the importance of solidarity in achieving social change. Through Moxie readings and seminars I have learned that solidarity is defined as the “helpers” or “outsiders” working together and with the marginalized group in order to achieve the most effective and efficient social change. Many times, especially coming from a point of privilege, it may be difficult for outsiders to fathom any connection to a group in need. Yet, our group leaders explained that the freedom of each group of women is tied up together. In other words, unless all women are free from discrimination, then no one woman can be truly free.
When I first heard that I would be working at Legal Momentum for the equality works division, which works to minimize the widespread discrimination and inequality women face in the construction industry, I was not very excited. I had nothing in common with construction women, I did not want to work in the construction industry, and I did not see how I could possibly “help” these women. Why would women even want to be in the construction industry?
During my first few days of work I was reading extensively about the program. Through my reading I began to understand a female’s desire to be in this line of work. This industry offered women economic independence without a college degree and allowed them to work outside with their hands. Moreover, after learning more about the discriminatory practices on construction sites against women, I understood that my original thoughts about there being no connection between these women and me were very wrong. Although I did not want to be a construction worker, these women and I still had a lot in common. We were both women working to end discrimination against women. I did not have to be a construction worker to understand where these women were coming from.
Today, I see that the inequity and discrimination women face in the workplace is most exemplified in the construction industry. The construction industry is typically seen as a very masculine place and thus marks the biggest gender threshold for women to overcome in the workplace. If women can defy the masculine stereotypes of this industry, then it should be a lot easier to confront those of other industries such as finance or science.
After I understood the importance and ability of finding a common ground between all groups in the pursuit of equity for women, I believe that I am now a better-equipped servant of social change. This lesson was hard to learn and without first-hand experience I might not have been able to fully grasp the Moxie lessons surrounding solidarity. Yet, after my internship and the Moxie discussions, I can truly say I better understand solidarity and moreover am one with solidarity. Of course I recognize solidarity is easier said than done but I truly believe that with hard work I can now find solidarity with anyone in order to improve the social standing of all women.