I grew up as an only child, greatly coddled by my parents who believed that I could do anything I wanted. I was afforded many luxuries, including my mother’s support and care as she stayed at home to raise me. Although my mother graduated from college and had career prospects, she decided to be a stay-at-home mother primarily because that was what all her friends were doing. Her sisters, her mother and her grandmother had all done the same thing. Myanmar, like many countries around the world, has a patriarchal society and my mother was never expected to both work and raise a family.
Although she stayed at home, my mother had nothing less than a full life, and she managed to find ways to incorporate a professional element. As I grew older, she participated in many business ventures, creating small firms and watching them succeed. She took on these endeavors without much support from her family and friends; they all thought that she was doing something frivolous to pass the time. However, she continued to build a career from home, despite what others thought. To me, my mother is an ideal role model. She was a woman who knew herself well; she wanted to raise a child with my father but also wanted to have a life outside of her family. My mother’s determination and perseverance make her my personal role model.
But it isn’t just my mother who deserves this recognition. In celebration of Women’s History Month this March, I wanted to focus on some great female role models in the staff and student body right here at Georgetown. Laura Kovach, the director of the Women’s Center, has been at Georgetown since July of 2008 and has been doing some outstanding work. The Women’s Center is a great resource to the whole Georgetown community, and it has countless important programs throughout the academic year. For Women’s History Month, the Women’s Center has a whole calendar of events, highlighting their own events as well as events by student groups that focus on women and gender equality issues.
A number of groups and events on campus play an important role in ensuring that recognition and discussion about women’s issues and rights are not limited to one month each year. Notable programs for the spring semester include “The Vagina Monologues” and Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. “The Vagina Monologues,” a play comprised of a collection of speeches about the different relationships women have with their vaginas, is a powerful performance I personally recommend all Georgetown students see at least once in their time on the Hilltop. The students who perform in this play are amazing women who work to educate the Georgetown community. Sexual Assault Awareness Month includes Take Back the Night Week, which is full of insightful events relating to gender violence. Take Back the Night, a student organization that aims to address issues of sexual assault and domestic violence, puts on both these programs.
In the fall semester, one of Georgetown’s most impactful events is “RU Ready?,” an event intended to raise awareness about sexual assault and work toward creating a community of people capable of helping their loved ones. “RU Ready?” is put on by the Sexual Assault Peer Educators, a group of individuals working together to empower survivors and allies with the resources and tools to find support on campus. I am proud to have many friends in the program, and I view each and every SAPE member as a role model for the work they do.
In October, Georgetown student groups put on events to highlight Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence Awareness Month. In addition, Take Back the Night holds a week called “These Hands Don’t Hurt” in order to raise awareness about dating and intimate partner violence. The individuals of Take Back the Night are a small group, but they do a lot of great work on campus on these very important issues. Without groups like these pioneering discussions about these issues, violations like this could affect many more women and go unacknowledged.
Lastly, I want to highlight the staff members and volunteers of the Women’s Center. Many students choose to volunteer a few hours of their time to work in the Women’s Center, a magnificent feat considering how busy Georgetown students are. The staff members are just as wonderful; they are always willing to talk to students to help them plan and advertise their events on the Women’s Center’s social media. All in all, the Women’s Center is both a great resource either in its staff members and in its events for all members of the Georgetown community to utilize.
Eng Gin Moe is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. New in Town appears every other Friday in the guide.