My Very First Step

My life story is probably the reserve story of most Chinese immigrant children. Instead of moving to the United States to pursue greater opportunities, my family moved to Beijing from Ann Arbor, Michigan when I was five. I went to local school, celebrated Chinese festivals, and most importantly grew up in an abundance of Chinese culture.

I never recognized sexism in certain Chinese values until I was confused by the inverse relationship between personal success and social acceptance for women in high school. It all started when I experienced social backlash after I identified myself as a feminist. The jealousy, animosity, and cold treatment I experienced when I ran for Student Council President traumatized me. When I argued that China’s One Child Policy unfairly prosecutes women and leads to dangerous abortions and forced sterilizations, my friends called me crazy and said that women have to make sacrifices for the necessary policy. When I brought up the gender wage gap in my history class, my teacher said it is reasonable given how different men’s and women’s occupations have always been throughout Chinese history. People called my opinions too “aggressive” and accused me of exaggerating or complicating issues by bringing women into the discussion.

However, gender inequality does not only exist in China. It is everywhere. It is manifested by the wage gap, the objectification of women in the media, gender violence, and the lack of women’s political representation and participation.

I am so excited to work with Girls for Gender Equality this summer to provide girls of color the self-confidence and support I never had during crucial developmental periods. By helping them recognize systemic oppression and educating them on the importance of activism, I hope to give them the support to reach their full potentials and become leaders. I understand the short duration of my stay in New York will not change the world, but I am ready to offer my enthusiasm and determination to help GEE and learn from these driven, ambitious girls.

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