Katrina Wardell is originally from San Diego, California, but has spent the last year in Dublin working on her Master’s degree in international development and peace building at Trinity College.
She has development field work experience in Namibia and Tanzania, and interned at the American Civil Liberties Union in San Francisco during her final year of college. She speaks Spanish, is currently learning French, loves to travel, and volunteers at Plan Ireland.
Because I am a Girl I ask … why my sister and I were educated, had access to healthcare and clean water, and could speak our minds whenever we liked, and yet so many women and girls in the world still cannot.
Because I am a Girl I believe … that it is my responsibility as a woman in a “developed” country to never forget how hard women before me fought to ensure my rights. I believe it is vital to use my voice because there are millions (billions!) of women around the world who cannot. Just as those women fought for us, I believe it is our obligation to fight for those women who are not able.
Because I am a Girl I hope … that the problems facing girls all over the world are not just “ a girl thing”, but something that everyone (men, too!) can help to fix and eradicate. My father has always made it a point to say that he’s a feminist, and sometimes people laugh at him for it. But the joke’s on them because his response is always the same: “Why, exactly, is the idea of women being equal a joke?” You go, Dad!
Because I am a Girl I wonder … if I’ve challenged as many barriers as I could have in my life, or broken any glass ceilings yet for the girls who will come after me.
Because I am a Girl I dream … of a world where women and girls have control over their own bodies and have real access to healthcare and education. I dream that their having access to education and healthcare will become the norm for their daughters and granddaughters. Wouldn’t that be the bee’s knees?
Because I am a Girl I remember … how hard my mother fought to be the first female grocery bagger in California. She was only 16-years-old, and it was only an after-school job, but when the grocery store wouldn’t hire her simply because she was a girl, she sued, and she won. Because of her guts and guile, women can now be grocery baggers in the United States. That was a story that I constantly heard growing up, and I have always aimed to break just as many boundaries as she has. I keep that triumph in my pocket always.
Because I am a Girl I like … that I am (and always have been) constantly surrounded by awe-inspiring women in almost every aspect of my life. My mother aimed from birth to surround my sister and me with strong women: female soccer coaches, female dentists, female ceramics teachers, female gardeners, female doctors, female authors, female entrepreneurs—everything female. It sounds a bit extreme, but it explicitly showed us that women can be and do anything they want. It was a fabulous lesson to grow up with.
Because I am a Girl I dislike … that women in power are always dubbed the bitch while men in power are always kicking ass or go-getters.
Because I am a Girl I feel … angry when girls shun the term feminist because they don’t want to make waves. Being a feminist doesn’t automatically mean that you abhor men or burn your bra. It’s simply agreeing that women should not be discriminated against based on their being a woman. Not so scary, is it?
Because I am a Girl I … want the world to know that this din of women’s voices, clamoring for equal human rights, is not going away. Someday that din will be a deafening roar, and the powers that be will be ashamed that they didn’t listen sooner. Be a part of that roar!!
– Katrina Wardell