Friday, December 7, 2018

Seneca Falls Revisited: Women's Equality Weekend

by Emille B., Emma V., Allison T., Setu M.

Recently, we had an amazing opportunity to attend “Seneca Falls Revisited: A Women’s Equality Conference and Retreat.” We engaged with a plethora of inspirational women and sister Girl Scouts channeling the spirit of past female leaders who championed women’s rights, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony. Rochester and Seneca Falls are two places that are no strangers to the women’s equality movement. Rochester was home to Susan B. Anthony and served as headquarters of the women’s suffrage movement, and Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Seneca Falls was the location of the first ever Women’s Suffrage Convention, where 68 women and 32 men signed the Declaration of Sentiments. We want to share with you some highlights from our trip:
What was the best advice you received this weekend?

Emilee B: Honestly, so much amazing advice was shared with us this weekend from all of the accomplished women attending the conference. However, in my opinion, the best advice I received from this great experience was to always be your authentic self and to stay true to yourself regardless of what other people may think or say. I learned from the speakers’ stories that only when you are true to yourself can you really succeed and reach your full potential. If you spend your time worrying about what others will think of you, you will be too busy hiding behind someone you are not to reach your dreams.

What was your favorite part of the conference?
Emma V: My favorite part of the conference was listening to and engaging in conversations with so many empowering women leaders. Every woman who spoke, shared her own amazing story about her journey and how she got to where she is today. It was so inspiring to hear that all of these women started out like me and were able to work their way up to positions of power, and that even though they all faced numerous hardships along the way, nothing stopped them from reaching their goals. The powerful messages that they conveyed in their speeches proved to me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.

Who was your favorite speaker?
Allison T: There were many impactful and motivating speakers throughout the conference but one that stood out to me was Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul. She delivered an inspiring speech on the first day of the conference that called the attendees to take action about women’s issues. The speech caused us to reflect on the progress that women have made in the past and look forward to all that has yet to be accomplished. Hochul left us with important questions; what will the legacy of our generation be? What will people one hundred years from now think of our efforts towards progress? Her speech provided an amazing start to an incredible weekend.

What surprised you the most from the conference?
Setu M: I was surprised by the fact that despite the difference in age between us and the speakers, we were all able to connect with one another and discuss how to achieve women’s parity. We were able to use the differences among our experiences as women to generate fruitful conversation that allowed the older generation to pass their knowledge onto us; we built bridges and laid the foundation for the future of women’s equality. Everyone was so open to questioning, discussing, and growing, and that was such an amazing environment to be a part of.

Just as the speakers challenged us, we want to challenge you to share the unspoken story of women. Engage your peers and family in the fight for gender parity, making the world a better place for the next generation of girls and women.

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