On International Women's Day, Meet Some Extraordinary Women

In Honor Of Women's History Month, Meet Some Extraordinary Women

My empowered friends remind me what it means to be a strong woman

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Earlier this week my friend sent a simple request in our only girl's group chat. She asked for each of us to list our majors and/or minors and why we chose them. As I was reading all of my best friends' dreams and ambitions I noticed how extraordinary the women I interacted with every day were. Not just my friends from home, but my roommate, the girls in my department, and the upperclassmen I've worked with. During Women's History Month, it's important to recognize how so many women around you are working harder and harder every day to make their goals a reality.

One of my best friends in high school started a feminist club at the start of our junior year. She created a space where we could talk about issues we faced whether it be in school, at home, or things going on in the world. She was able to organize several walkouts, protests, and awareness-raising campaigns. She now is in a unique, combined major at American University that includes communications, law, economics, and government. She is the kind of person who demands respect and earns it within seconds of meeting her. She volunteers on political campaigns and attends protests as well as congressional sessions and hearings. Her activism is so genuine and admirable and I know one day I will be watching her run her own campaign.

The Vice President of the same feminism club in high school is working towards a degree in television and radio studies to eventually write for tv shows and movies. Other members of our small feminist organization are majoring in communication studies, psychology, environmental studies, neuroscience, chemistry, political science, art history and even product design at Parsons. I know women who want to improve national environmental sustainability or who want to create innovative and sustainable products. I have friends who want to be surgeons or engineers and a friend who wants to catalog art for libraries in Washington in order to feed her love for art and to make a difference politically.

I myself am a part of a dance department surrounded by powerful female figures. My classmates are from all over the world and most of them have lived away from home for many years already to pursue their dance careers. I know girls who lived in Russia for a year to train and watching them go after their dreams every day is nothing short of motivating and inspiring. The upperclassmen in our department have second majors and take a ridiculous amount of credit hours all while looking beautiful on stage. Their grace and athleticism remind me of all that women are capable of. My female professors have had astonishing careers in the dance world and have a presence that changes the air of a room. They push us hard and always remind us how willing they are to help with anything their students could need.

It is, of course, important to find positive female role models in the public sphere and in media, but it is almost more important to find role models within your own life. I guarantee the women around you are working towards some pretty great things, you just need to stop and take notice of it. Let your female peers motivate you to be better and let them serve as a reminder of how much women's movements are constantly progressing.

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To The Congress Members Of Ohio: Birth Control Isn't Abortion

It's called birth control for a reason!

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To the Congress Members Of Ohio: birth control isn't abortion.

But before I go further: what am I even talking about?

As of May 7th, 2019, there is an Ohio bill up for debate. In the article about the bill on www.thestatenews.org, written by Jo Ingles, it states that "The bill would ban non-therapeutic abortions that include "drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum". What this means is birth control could be not covered by insurance companies because it is considered a non-therapeutic abortion.

First, let's start with the definition of birth control itself.

According to Google, the definition of birth control is "the practice of preventing unwanted pregnancies, especially by use of contraception". Is there any mention of abortion in that definition? I don't think so.

Birth control is for prevention against pregnancies.

The key word here is prevention. In order to combat abortion rates, the answer isn't to outlaw abortion. It is to prevent pregnancy in the first place. One of the ways we can do that is birth control.

How is this done? There are three methods of birth control. Medicinenet.com says that "Birth control methods can be broadly classified into barrier methods (that prevent sperm cells from reaching the egg), methods that prevent ovulation such as the birth control pill, and methods that allow fertilization of the egg but prevent implantation of the fertilized egg inside the uterus (womb) such as the IUD (intrauterine device)".

With all of these different ways to use birth control, it is extremely helpful for women to have safe sex without fear of contraception. Although the failure rate isn't 100%, it is better than not using any birth control method at all. The goal is to limit unintended pregnancies, and birth control is one of the most effective ways of doing so.

Birth control isn't just for protection against pregnancy.

Women across the country use birth control for other reasons other than fighting against pregnancy. It is beneficiary in aiding many other diseases and ailments. WebMD states some other reasons why women use birth control. They use it to help with "premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoria disorder (PMSDD), painful and/or irregular periods, acne, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)."

On top of helping with these issues, birth control has other health benefits. "Because birth control pills cut back on the amount of bleeding you have during your period, you may also be less likely to get anemia, or low levels of red blood cells. They've also been linked to lower rates of ovarian and uterine cancers." There are also lower risks of ectopic pregnancy. Birth control has so many health benefits-- without it many women's lives would be negatively affected.

Without insurance coverage, birth control is expensive.

If there was no insurance coverage for birth control, it would be unattainable for many women, especially those struggling with finances. Birth control pills on average cost "up to $50 without insurance...a year's supply could cost up to $600" (Birthcontrol.com 2018). For the birth control shot "...depending on your level of coverage, the first shot can cost anywhere from $0 to $250. Any subsequent visits for follow-up shots can cost anywhere up to $150" (Birthcontrol.com, 2018).

What about the IUD or implant? For the implant it ranges from $300 to $800 (Birthcontrol.com, 2018). The IUD costs between $500 and $858 (Birthcontrol.com, 2018). Would you rather have to fork $500 to purchase an IUD, pay this month's rent, or put food on the table? This would be the harsh reality for lower-income women if they were denied insurance coverage.

Ohio Congress Members, do your research first before you make bills.

Republican John Becker who sponsors the bill seems to believe that the bill will not affect birth control, but it will. He states "'When you get into the contraception and abortifacients, that's clearly not my area of expertise but I suppose, if it were true that what we typically known as the pill would be classified as an abortifacient, then I would imagine the drug manufacturers would reformulate it so it's no longer an abortifacient and is strictly a contraceptive," Becker says'" (Birthcontrol.com, 2018).

A word of advice: if you do not know how birth control works, don't make a law that possibly prohibits its use. I would do my research before even thinking that a bill like that would even fly. The more you know about the field of interest, the more credible your bill will be. Along with this comes integrity as a member in office. We need to stop electing those who are uninformed.

Long story short, Congress Members, look out for your fellow women. Don't ban birth control, that's not cool. It's a violation of women's bodily autonomy and rights for health care.

How can we stop it? By being informed and voting!

Living in the United States gives us the privilege as citizens to be able to vote. Our founding fathers made this country a democracy for a reason: don't waste it. Your voice matters. Your opinion matters.

It's not possible to be in the dark about politics anymore because it's on our social media platforms, websites, television screens, and what we read. It's not okay to hide from it and pick and choose when to participate. Silence is acceptance; silence is tolerance. Wake up before it is too late. Do your research and do your duty. You can be part of the change to bettering politics.

Here are the links to the articles I took information from, feel free to check them out!

Article about Ohio Abortion Bill

Other Reasons To Use Birth Control

How Much Birth Control Costs Out-of-Pocket

Birth Control Methods

The Definition of Birth Control

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