Young women become active participants in the republic

Sacred+Heart+Greenwich+students+learn+how+to+embolden+their+voices+through+the+%22Empowering+Female+Voices+Program.%22

Ana López del Punta '23

Sacred Heart Greenwich students learn how to embolden their voices through the “Empowering Female Voices Program.”

Sacred Heart Greenwich students participated in the “Empowering Female Voices Program: President’s First 100 Days,” an initiative that invited young women to engage in discussions regarding the recent policies established by the new presidential administration.  This program ran from January 25 through February 11 and consisted of six evening sessions.  Mr. Vincent J. Badagliacca, Jr. P’20, Upper School History Teacher and Upper School Chair of the History Department, hopes that the program allowed young women to grow as independent thinkers who engage in civil dialogue. 

Ms. Kamala Harris made history after becoming the first woman to serve as Vice President of the United States.  Courtesy of Mr. Saul Loeb

The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, Close Up Washington DC and the Hockaday School Institute for Social Impact sponsored this program, in which students learned how average citizens can shape the future of the United States.  Additionally, “Empowering Female Voices” encouraged ninth to twelfth grade female students from across the nation to become politically active.  By inspiring young women to engage in politics, this program hopes to increase the presence female voices in the United States’ government.  

Currently, 142 women serve in the United States Congress, with 24 women in the United States Senate and 118 women in the House of Representatives, according to cawp.rutgers.eduThis marks a 50 percent increase in female political participation from the 112th Congress a decade ago, in which only 96 women served, according to pewresearch.org.  In the recent presidential election, Ms. Kamala Harris made history by becoming the first woman to serve as Vice President of the United States.

During the first meeting, the student participants chose an issue of interest and spent the five remaining sessions discussing their selected topic.  These subjects included Educational Equity, Health Care, and Criminal, Economic, and Environmental Justice.  Then, in subcommittees, students analyzed current policies in order to develop a proposal that addresses the respective issue.  Selected students will share their proposals with politicians February 18 for feedback. 

Sophomore Katie May is one of the 20 Sacred Heart students who signed up for this program.  She worked with others students to create a policy that aims to tackle the abuse of power in the United States, specifically misconduct of prosecutors and the accused.  Katie explained how she strives to become more confident in her own opinions and beliefs.

The Educational Equity Committee A discusses their proposals.  Ana López del Punta ’23

“I think this program is significant because a lot of times unrest and insurrection, like what happened at the Capitol, is caused by people not using their voice in the right way; they tend to use it in a more destructive manner,” Katie said.  “So I think it’s really important to learn how to not only empower yourself and to use your voice, but to use it in a respectful way, and to learn from others’ ideas even if you disagree with them.”

Mr. Badagliacca believes that through collaborative work and analytical thinking, this program helped students to grow as responsible citizens of the United States. 

“As teens, on the cusp of young adulthood, it is critical that our students have these experiences, even as they gain necessary skills and foundation knowledge in the classroom,” Mr. Badagliacca said.  “This combination of knowledge, experience, and critical thinking skills are necessary for us to meet our obligations of wise citizenship in a representative republic.”

Featured Image by Ana López del Punta ’23