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Empowering Each Other: High School Girls Creating a Community of Support
Episode 13020th February 2023 • Boomer Banter • Wendy Green
00:00:00 00:47:55

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"We don't have to hold ourselves to these amazing standards. And I think with our club, we just mostly want a community where we can be like, hey, I'm not alone. I'm not having these feelings alone, I'm not feeling judged alone. We can all help support each other and have these shared feelings and talk about it and be like, hey, I don't have to be this way or this way because someone wants me to be that way. I can just be.

Eleanor McGuirt and Avery Simon are juniors at Maldin High School and the co-founders of the Young Women's Forum, a club that provides support and activism for teenage girls.

Eleanor and Avery, two friends since freshman year, sought to start a club to discuss the stigmas and challenges women face on their campus. Through the course of their journey, they encountered resistance from their peers and administration, but eventually secured a club and a space for women to openly discuss their experiences and feelings. With the help of an understanding teacher, they created a safe and open space for girls to talk and share. Their desire is to break down the stereotypes and pressures surrounding women in our society.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. How do stereotypes and societal roles contribute to gender inequality?

2. Some of the challenges facing young women today and the importance of listening to break down barriers.

3. How can we create a safe space for young people to share their thoughts and feelings?

Other episodes you might enjoy:

Empowering a Better World: A Conversation with Sages and Seekers

Boomers-Millennials-GenZ: Bridging Generational Gaps

Connect with me:

wendy@heyboomer.biz

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heyboomerpodcast/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/heyboomerpodcast

YouTube: https://https://www.youtube.com/c/HeyBoomer

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendy-green-cpc-heyboomerlive/

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Transcripts

Speaker1:

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Hello and welcome to the Hey Boomer show.

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My name is Wendy Green and I am your host for Hey Boomer.

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I'm really excited about today's show and there's just so many reasons why.

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But let me start with this.

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Teenage girls are struggling today.

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The CDC chief medical officer said the other day that teen girls are engulfed in a growing

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wave of sadness, violence and trauma.

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And that was up from a report that they released that showed that 57% of teenage

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girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021.

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That's the highest rate in a decade and almost twice what was reported by teenage

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boys. Additional findings of this report.

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About 30% of teen girls had seriously considered suicide.

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Up from 19% ten years ago.

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And 18% also reported that they had experienced sexual violence.

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These numbers are very disturbing.

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I know that people in my generation, in every generation, we grow up with our teenage

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problems, our views of the world.

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And what teens are experiencing today may have some overlap, but there's also a lot of

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differences. And my goal with today's episode is to talk to these two young women.

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That will be my guest.

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And learn more about their experiences as teen girls, what they're doing to address

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some of the problems and what we can do as members of the boomer generation and beyond

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to support them in the in the work that they're trying to do and in their development

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as our future leaders.

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My guests today, I met at an AAUW.

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American Association of University Women Conference.

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And I was so impressed with them that I had to bring them on the show to meet you all and

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to share some of their wisdom with us.

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As I said before we came live, they're going to be the teachers today and we are the

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students. Their names are Eleanor McGirt and Avery Simon.

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And they're juniors at Maldon High School.

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Last year, they started a club called the Young Women's Forum.

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And it is for all who identify as female.

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The group aims to create a community of support and activism for girls at Malden High

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School. Their first initiative at the school was to provide free menstrual products in the

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bathroom, because period products are a necessity for every single girl, and every

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girl should have easy access to them, regardless of their financial situation.

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In this episode, we will talk to Avery and Eleanor about what other needs they see for

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the members of the Young Women's Forum, what resistance they ran up against when they

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started it, and their vision for what this group can do in the future.

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They're going to help us increase our understanding of some of the issues that

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young women are dealing with today.

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But before I bring them on, I want to thank our sponsor, Rhodes Scholar.

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All right. So I'm going to bring Avery and Eleanor on.

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And fortunately, it's President's Day so they can join us.

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Hi, ladies. I'm so grateful that you guys decided to join us today and share your story

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and your insights.

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Thank you. Yeah, we're excited.

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So, first of all, have you guys been friends a long time?

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Oh, well, two years.

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About. Yeah, about two years.

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We met like.

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Well, I knew her since freshman year, but we only have, like, one class together, so we

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didn't know each other that well freshman year, but we mostly became pretty close

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friends the year of COVID.

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So yeah, there's Plexiglas and masks.

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So it was really hard to get to know people.

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That's true.

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Around sophomore year, restrictions started easing up a bit, so we were able to have more

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direct communication with our peers.

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So I got to know Ellie a bit more, and since then we've been pretty close.

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So.

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And so how did the idea for the Young Women's Forum come up?

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I can remember there was a FaceTime call and because we just go on FaceTime calls and we

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do our work well, just being on calls together and we were just talking and she and

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I have something in common where we're both pretty politically aware of what's going on.

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So we have talks about that and we have talks about how hard it is for teenage girls.

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And we were just like, Wouldn't it be so cool if there was a club that, you know, was

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just for women to lift each other and yeah, why not?

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But we have previously established at our school there's a group called GSA, which is

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for it's stands for Gender, Sexuality, Gender and Sexuality Alliance.

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So we knew that it's because that was kind of the starting point.

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We were like, Wow, if they can create that club, I wonder if we could do this.

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For people who identify with LGBTQ, which is an amazing club, and they do a great job with

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that. We thought, you know, I think it would be something cool if we could have something

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for women as well.

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Since there's a lot of struggles we face in a lot of things in our current day that we

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have to deal with, but we don't really talk about, especially where we live.

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We thought that would be a great type of club to reach out to people and have those

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type of discussions.

Speaker1:

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So tell me more about that, especially where you live.

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What did you think you were going to run up against when you brought this idea out?

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We knew since there was a GSA, we were like, Well, if they can do that, you probably can't

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turn us down. They don't our school doesn't turn us down.

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They don't encourage us, but they don't.

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I guess discriminating.

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Well, they don't discriminate against us, but we're definitely not like predominantly

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uplifted. I mean, there are definitely other clubs that are more seen as something we have

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to push out. But at least when we first started our club, there were some fundraisers

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we wanted to do.

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But many of those opportunities to do those fundraising ideas were taken up by other

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clubs that I guess were seen as a higher necessity for having the ability to do

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fundraisers and stuff. So we definitely I feel like with our club, we definitely have

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to push a lot more to get the things done, what we want to get done.

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Obviously there's no one stopping us, but if we want something done, we have to push for

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it and we have to contact multiple people, go through multiple people to be able to

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achieve something and get a plan done.

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There was also one incident with the bathrooms.

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It was when we first because when we sophomore year was kind of a jumpstart, we

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started later on and we knew our main priority was putting feminine products in our

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bathrooms free for every single girl.

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So we kind of just like kicked it off with a few boxes.

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And we within like the first week of putting in for the first time, we look in the

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bathroom and we're like, Our box is missing and we don't know where it is.

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And it turns out our janitor, I guess, took it up because he said that it would be

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causing too much of a disturbance and that it was too much work.

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I guess he just came up with very questionable excuses and it just felt like it

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just felt really I don't know what's the word for it.

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It just kind of felt like people didn't care.

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Like, yeah, people don't understand because, I mean, it was a male janitor, so not going

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to understand the importance of it.

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The importance of feminine products are a basic necessity, the same as food and water

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and anything else.

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Maybe not quite to that extent, but it's the same as like clothing.

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You need clothing, you need shoes, you need things like that.

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I mean, with every single woman or someone who has a menstrual cycle has to deal with

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that and has to have those type of products just to be able to continue on.

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And that's a basic necessity, and not everyone can afford that.

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So that was our main goal. But I just don't think he could fully understand how important

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that was. Maybe in a sense it might be a little more to keep track of, but we're

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willing to keep track of that.

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We're willing to keep those put up.

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I just think with seeing that he might have been a little frustrated, like, Oh, something

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else I have to like look out for clean up or whatever.

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But I don't think you realize that it's really much more of a necessity than just a

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little task of something extra for.

Speaker1:

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Yeah. So how did you address that?

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I mean, that could have been pretty disheartening right there to see.

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Oh, we did all this work.

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Now it's gone.

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Well, first of all, we had to track it down because it was in the middle of class and we

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started freaking out.

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We were like, It's gone.

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Like what? So we contacted ATD, some of the administrators.

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We were like, someone took our box and he was like, Oh, the gender took it out.

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And to them it just really seemed like it wasn't a priority.

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Like we had to go through multiple people to figure out where it was, and then we had to

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contact our administrators and be like, We need to be allowed to do this.

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Like we can't have the janitors just taking up our boxes.

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Like, we'll fill them up, we'll clean them up.

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We check up on them at least like multiple times a week.

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Like it shouldn't be that much of a hassle and it becomes that much of a hassle than

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tell us and we can try and plus plus, like I don't think they really realize that.

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And maybe we didn't even realize it because there was a concern of, okay, well, if we put

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these products in the bathroom, you know, we are teenagers.

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Sometimes people like to do messy things with them and maybe put pads on the walls or

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something like that. And that definitely was something that happened in the back of our

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mind. But we really have discovered and we kind of knew this, but like feminine products

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are such a necessity that no girl would ever like, take that away from us.

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No one's going to mess with the products because it's kind of just like a like an

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unspoken rule that that's that's just not something you mess with.

Speaker2:

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Yeah, I just think they jump to conclusions.

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About what? Like maybe people try and flush them down the toilet or maybe they will leave

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them places. That didn't happen.

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Even we've had them in place for over a year now.

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That hasn't happened.

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It's just they jump to these conclusions and they try to want to prevent these imaginary

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problems without thinking about the repercussions of people not having access to

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those. If you have a menstrual cycle, you're going to have to use those products, whether

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they're there for you or whether you bring them to school.

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So you're going to run into those problems, whether they're provided to people or whether

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they're not. But they just immediately thought, well, this could cause problems.

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So we're going to try and get rid of it without thinking, hey, people might actually

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need this. And we were not going to tolerate that.

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So we contacted our finishers, we tracked our basket down, and now we have one in

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almost every. You smell about them and we're pulling up.

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And if someone tries you again, we will go through the same exact process to make sure

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they're still there.

Speaker1:

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So there you go. You tried what you thought was just going to be a very useful activity.

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How could that possibly be controversial?

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Every young woman has Alma.

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I guess every young woman has a menstrual cycle, unless there's something physically

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that's not you know, that's a problem.

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But how does that how does that make you feel about addressing some of the other

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problems that that I mentioned in the beginning?

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You know, like sexual violence or, you know, fear or thoughts of suicide, those kinds of

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things. Do you guys even consider tackling those kinds of issues?

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Yeah. Within one of our main objectives with the club was to provide menstrual products.

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But within our club meetings themselves, we do try and progress more towards having

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discussions about that kind of stuff because at least I mean around the world and more

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predominantly in the south of America, it's women aren't supposed to really share their

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struggles. We're just supposed to keep going, have a smile on her face and keep

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checking forward. But there are these constant fears that we face that we should

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probably be more open to talking about.

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And that's something we push to do with our club, is have those type of discussions.

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Like no matter what you feel, it doesn't matter whether you're this way politically or

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that way politically. We want everyone to feel comfortable sharing their opinion,

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whatever it is, just so we can all be more educated and have different perspectives on

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everything. But yes, those are some things we need to address and we do try and address

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is things like that, because that's very prevalent to what us as young girls have to

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face nowadays with the new scary things that people decide to do.

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And that's kind of the reason.

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That's kind of one of the things that sparked us wanting to do this, just trying to

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create a community of support.

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Because even if you don't, some people, I understand, don't want to talk about those

Speaker2:

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things, which in some cases that's fine, but it's just like being there for each other.

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Like I feel like there's just this, this thing with social media and all these

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factors. It's just sometimes it can just turn girls against each other.

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And I we even know from personal experience and just being friends like there is a huge

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problem with girls and mental health and there's probably there's a massive problem

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with mental health generally.

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But we just as young girls have so many problems and so many factors that just affect

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us on the daily that I it's just I without like having friends and I don't know what I'd

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do. So it's just like with this club, we want to make sure people meet people and feel

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comfortable and just to be themselves.

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Yeah.

Speaker1:

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Ellie What are some of those factors that contribute to the mental health issues that

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girls are facing today?

Speaker2:

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I don't even know if I could count them.

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I mean, social media is a huge factor.

Speaker2:

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I mean, there's a huge stigma that we have to look good on social media and our life has

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to be perfect. And that is just a huge factor.

Speaker2:

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I mean, also with like.

Speaker2:

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There are just stereotypes and stigmas, stigmas that we face every day.

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Like, I think I don't think any young girl could walk around saying that they have not

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experienced some form of like.

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And I think one major problem in our society, which I've noticed amongst many

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people or women who work hard, is women when they tend to work harder or push hard for

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something or driven about something they're seen as.

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More mean or aggressive.

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But if a man does the same thing, it's seen as initiative and drive.

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It's just no matter in our society what women do, if they're passionate about

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something, they're aggressive.

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If they are laid back, they're lazy.

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It's like women, I feel like in our society are constantly critiqued and judged, and even

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women amongst each other, they judge each other, which I feel like has been kind of

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conformed in our society.

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So we just try to work to like, break that down and be like, nobody's perfect.

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You know, everybody's trying their best and we just generally don't have to hold

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ourselves to these amazing standards.

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Women just have to try harder.

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And it's like, I don't we just have to try harder to get somewhere.

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You know, men can do all these things and they can climb up the ranks.

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But women, we just have to try harder.

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And it's not our fault.

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No matter how hard we work, we're still there's always going to be stereotypes of,

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Oh, you're not you're not working hard, you're mean.

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Or you why are you not at home with kids and stuff like that?

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It's just like those are always going to follow us no matter how progressive we get.

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It's just like those follow ups.

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And I think with our club, we just mostly want a community where we can be like, Hey,

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it's not I'm not alone.

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I'm not having these feelings alone.

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I'm not feeling like judged alone.

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Like we can all help support each other and have these shared feelings and talk about it

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and be like, Hey, I don't have to be this way or this way because someone wants me to

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be that way. Like I can just be myself and be happy with what I'm doing and not have to

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constantly worry about how people are judging me or how people are looking at my

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actions. But just having a community where everyone's like, Hey, I experienced that too.

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That is enough to make someone feel better because I feel like as women, we constantly,

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like suppress some of our feelings.

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Maybe not to the extent like some men do, because that's also discussions we have is

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about health because as like feminist, it's about equality amongst men and women in our

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society. Men are almost supposed to suppress their emotions.

Speaker2:

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And we we like to be well rounded in our discussions, but we just try and say, hey,

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like this is how we're feeling.

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This is what we think we can do.

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You know, maybe for us, we feel like there's a lot of pressure to be perfect.

Speaker2:

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Then also with men, maybe they don't feel like they can express their emotions enough,

Speaker2:

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but it's mostly just working together to try and be like, Hey, not everything needs to be

Speaker2:

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perfect and what you're experiencing.

Speaker2:

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I'm also experiencing in That's okay.

Speaker1:

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So I have to say.

Speaker1:

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It's a little bit shocking, I guess, to hear some of what you're saying, because those are

Speaker1:

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certainly issues that women in my generation have felt and fought for, you know, equal

Speaker1:

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rights and to not always have to be better than and try harder than and be prettier or

Speaker1:

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be smarter or be whatever to be acceptable.

Speaker1:

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And you're right, part of the fight has been.

Speaker1:

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You know, if you cry too hard to achieve, you may come across as aggressive.

Speaker1:

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So it's interesting and disappointing that that seems to still be an issue.

Speaker1:

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I'm curious about.

Speaker1:

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What you hear from other girls when you're in your meetings and you bring this up, Are

Speaker1:

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they all in agreement with this or are there different points of view?

Speaker2:

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There are definitely some girls who are more outspoken about it and some girls who are

Speaker2:

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more quiet about it.

Speaker2:

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But I think we all notice it.

Speaker2:

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I think I don't I think it's just something that we we everyone notices it.

Speaker2:

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Everyone. You have to be completely blind to not notice the discrepancies.

Speaker2:

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But I just think there's just thing when no one wants to talk about it and no one talked.

Speaker2:

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And that's the problem. So yeah, there are girls that talk about it, but I like I

Speaker2:

:

remember one girl, she came up to me, she's like, I really love what you're doing.

Speaker2:

:

Like, I love engineering.

Speaker2:

:

She said she wanted to go into like mechanical engineering or something like

Speaker2:

:

that, but she's like, I constantly feel overwhelmed because like all the engineering

Speaker2:

:

classes, it's all men.

Speaker2:

:

And I feel like in society there's this stereotype that women are good at, like

Speaker2:

:

English and writing and stuff like that.

Speaker2:

:

And men are, you know, in the STEM field and based on just that, like pressure, even

Speaker2:

:

though like, I can take an engineering class just as easy as a man could.

Speaker2:

:

It's like these stereotypes have almost slightly conform to us.

Speaker2:

:

So women are like, Oh, I'll go more.

Speaker2:

:

The English women might be like, Oh, I'll go more the stem route because of that.

Speaker2:

:

This girl is like all these engineering classes I take.

Speaker2:

:

It's like all men.

Speaker2:

:

And it almost it's almost discouraging because it's not like she has other girls to

Speaker2:

:

relate to in those classes who also are like in intro to engineering or aerospace

Speaker2:

:

engineering, because it's constantly just been driven into our minds that like, that's

Speaker2:

:

a man's job. That's what a man traditionally is supposed to do.

Speaker2:

:

So I think breaking down the stereotypes and being like, Hey, if you like math and

Speaker2:

:

science, take an engineering class, like we should do that.

Speaker2:

:

Jump into that. Don't feel like that's kind of what men do.

Speaker2:

:

That way, more women can go into those types of classes and then other women can feel more

Speaker2:

:

comfortable following in their footsteps.

Speaker2:

:

But I feel like there's these stereotypes that even though I feel like in a lot of ways

Speaker2:

:

women do have equal opportunity, it's just these stereotypes are still there and almost

Speaker2:

:

discouraging us from still being able to take hold of those opportunities.

Speaker2:

:

Yeah, it's not necessarily blatant.

Speaker2:

:

Sexism in our society.

Speaker2:

:

But it's little things.

Speaker2:

:

It's just little things that we notice that we have to experience every day.

Speaker2:

:

I mean, I don't think that it's a coincidence that the two most underpaid jobs

Speaker2:

:

nursing and teaching that are extremely difficult jobs, but are underpaid, are female

Speaker2:

:

dominated. That's not a coincidence.

Speaker2:

:

I don't think so.

Speaker2:

:

And there are just little things like people assume, like I'm in an engineering class

Speaker2:

:

right now. It's all men.

Speaker2:

:

All men. There are two other girls who are in the class with me.

Speaker2:

:

And not that it's discouraging, but it definitely just makes me feel a little upset

Speaker2:

:

because it's like there are so many women like you guys who have fought before us and

Speaker2:

:

want these equal opportunities, yet we're still having to do this and I still feel like

Speaker2:

:

I'm lesser than at some points.

Speaker1:

:

Hmm. We certainly don't want you to feel lesser, then.

Speaker1:

:

Yeah, that is a common issue, I think, for women in general.

Speaker1:

:

We question ourselves and feel lesser than more than we need to.

Speaker1:

:

So you're not.

Speaker1:

:

Let me just tell you that right now.

Speaker1:

:

You two are very impressive young women.

Speaker1:

:

So Doris asks, How do you get the word out about the club?

Speaker1:

:

And I want to add, how many members do you have now?

Speaker2:

:

So right now, because one thing we want to establish with our club is there isn't like.

Speaker2:

:

Anyone can come to any meeting.

Speaker2:

:

That's one thing we want to discuss.

Speaker2:

:

You don't have to, like, come to the first meeting, sign up, be a member.

Speaker2:

:

If there's something that interests you about one of our meetings and we announce it,

Speaker2:

:

you can come. We don't want to discourage anyone from coming, and we don't want to

Speaker2:

:

force people to attend to the schedule.

Speaker2:

:

We just want if you want to come and participate in one of our events, you can

Speaker2:

:

come whenever you don't have to come to every single thing.

Speaker2:

:

And so typically our meetings will have roughly like 30 to 40 people attend our

Speaker2:

:

meetings, but it's different people every time.

Speaker2:

:

So we have around 60 to 70 people in our Google classroom.

Speaker2:

:

So those are people we have 91 book.

Speaker2:

:

Yeah, but we basically got word out like telling our friends, posting things on our

Speaker2:

:

social media.

Speaker2:

:

Word of mouth is a big way.

Speaker2:

:

We make announcements, we put things in the newsletter and people are passionate about it

Speaker2:

:

because even though where we live, there's still plenty of girls out there who share the

Speaker2:

:

same thoughts as us and have the same type of worry and concern and desire to talk about

Speaker2:

:

these things and we were just getting word out about that.

Speaker2:

:

And I think creating something where people can talk about those types of things, people

Speaker2:

:

jumped right out of I just think someone needed to start it.

Speaker2:

:

Someone needs to do it, and we are willing to do that.

Speaker1:

:

Surprised right?

Speaker1:

:

You're like, Well, we're in the heart of South Carolina and speaking about women's

Speaker1:

:

rights and women's issues is not always at the top of everybody's agenda here in South

Speaker1:

:

Carolina. And I think you were a little surprised at the response you got.

Speaker1:

:

Is that right?

Speaker2:

:

Yeah, Well, maybe not surprised.

Speaker2:

:

We have a lot of friends.

Speaker2:

:

You know, South Carolina definitely is dominated by.

Speaker2:

:

Definitely not our views.

Speaker2:

:

So but we we have a lot of friends and I think the younger generation, I really do.

Speaker2:

:

I think that they are becoming a little bit more educated.

Speaker2:

:

And I think I really do think we're getting progress.

Speaker2:

:

I notice more like progressive ideas within younger generations than I do older ones.

Speaker2:

:

So I think we are getting started.

Speaker2:

:

And I wasn't completely I was definitely surprised that we got so many people, but I

Speaker2:

:

did know that there were definitely a lot of girls who felt the same as we did, so that

Speaker2:

:

was helpful.

Speaker1:

:

Yeah, and that's really exciting for me to hear that the younger generation is starting

Speaker1:

:

to be more progressive and more open.

Speaker1:

:

I, I certainly the pronouns now that shows a greater sense of acceptance of differences

Speaker1:

:

and you know, you can be who you want to be.

Speaker1:

:

I think that, um.

Speaker1:

:

So Janet says, first of all, she commends you guys as being two intelligent and

Speaker1:

:

articulate young women.

Speaker1:

:

I totally agree.

Speaker1:

:

And then she asks, Is there an adult as part of the group?

Speaker1:

:

And do you meet at the school?

Speaker2:

:

Yes, we meet at the school.

Speaker2:

:

There's is an adult. Miss Barry, I have to give Miss Barry's our adviser.

Speaker2:

:

I really do have to give her a lot of credit.

Speaker2:

:

She really has supported us so much.

Speaker2:

:

I mean, we I don't think we would have found she's been like one of the most supportive

Speaker2:

:

people. She's gone out there and tried to find opportunities for us.

Speaker2:

:

She's very passionate about She is passionate.

Speaker2:

:

We could probably get sponsors willing to sponsor us who have some desire for a club

Speaker2:

:

like ours. But I will say without a doubt our sponsor, Ms..

Speaker2:

:

Barry, is one of the most passionate and she's so supportive of any of our ideas and

Speaker2:

:

anything we want to go forward with in the club.

Speaker1:

:

That's awesome. Well, we need to nominate her for Teacher of the Year.

Speaker1:

:

Do you know if there are other clubs like yours in in surrounding schools there?

Speaker2:

:

I don't I don't think I don't think there are any.

Speaker2:

:

I know when we've posted stuff about our club, people from other schools who follow us

Speaker2:

:

have definitely mentioned that they wish there was a club, because when we posted

Speaker2:

:

about our self defense class that we had last week or the week before, I had a few

Speaker2:

:

people from jail, man, and one of my friends from Group B, I really wish we had a club

Speaker2:

:

like this or something like this at our school.

Speaker2:

:

So there's a clear desire for it.

Speaker2:

:

It's just a matter of someone taking the initiative to set that up.

Speaker2:

:

Yeah, and we went to a women's rights rally and I remember that people came up to us

Speaker2:

:

like, I think they were just yelling and they were like, I wish how did you guys do

Speaker2:

:

this? And it's it's really is kind of cool to see how people are, I guess, inspired by

Speaker2:

:

it and like, want something?

Speaker2:

:

Yeah.

Speaker1:

:

Yeah. We've got to spread this out and you and hopefully you have a succession plan

Speaker1:

:

since, you know, after next year you'll be graduating.

Speaker1:

:

Who's going to keep it going at Malden High?

Speaker1:

:

So got to work on that.

Speaker1:

:

So we, we are there other things that we need to know as the older generation about

Speaker1:

:

things that are struggles for young girls and and young boys and and ways that we might

Speaker1:

:

be able to offer support.

Speaker2:

:

I think the biggest thing is a lot of what pressure we feel to not talk about these

Speaker2:

:

things is there's this huge question is there a quality in our society for men and

Speaker2:

:

women? And in a lot of ways there definitely is.

Speaker2:

:

We've made some strides and I think off the top of someone's head, it might be like hard

Speaker2:

:

to be like, Well, this opportunity is giving them men, but not women vice versa in our

Speaker2:

:

society. Presently, it's not a matter of do I have equal opportunity.

Speaker2:

:

It's more of these just underlying stereotypes and this pressure that's really

Speaker2:

:

still creating this gap in our society.

Speaker2:

:

I think the biggest thing, and this is maybe more for people of like an older age, maybe

Speaker2:

:

not for us, but like maternity leave.

Speaker2:

:

The biggest reason that causes the wage gap, because I was watching a documentary about

Speaker2:

:

this with my dad the other day, my dad's very supportive.

Speaker2:

:

He is a feminist. He supports me with my stuff.

Speaker2:

:

But it was talking about the wage gap and one of the biggest reasons for the wage gap

Speaker2:

:

is maternity leave.

Speaker2:

:

Maternity leave and women's basically stereotypical role to be a mother.

Speaker2:

:

So women will like work for a while and then they get married.

Speaker2:

:

And then once they have kids, they're expected to stay home and take care of the

Speaker2:

:

kids while the husband works.

Speaker2:

:

And then after that, they have to take on this role of a mother pretty much by

Speaker2:

:

themselves, like the parental figure, like majority by themselves, like some like

Speaker2:

:

husband helps. But because they have to take on this role almost entirely by themselves

Speaker2:

:

because of like our society and what women are expected to do, a lot of them don't go

Speaker2:

:

back to work. A lot of them will stay home after that and take care of their kids and

Speaker2:

:

won't go back to their job.

Speaker2:

:

And that's why there's a big gap in our wage, because, you know, a man and a woman

Speaker2:

:

can start out with the same job, the same qualifications.

Speaker2:

:

But then as soon as this woman gets married and she has children, she has to like slow

Speaker2:

:

down the amount of work she's doing or stop working for a little bit.

Speaker2:

:

And this man will continue to progress in his job and his wages while the woman just

Speaker2:

:

kind of remains stationary in her place in the workforce because she has to dedicate so

Speaker2:

:

much of her time to fulfilling her role as a caretaker while the man, you know, he isn't

Speaker2:

:

seen as having to do that.

Speaker2:

:

So he just continues to work up the chain and not have to focus on this maternal role.

Speaker2:

:

Whereas the woman in our society, even in present day, is still expected to take on

Speaker2:

:

that role, even though they might have equal opportunities in the sense of being able to

Speaker2:

:

work. But because women are so much seen as like, we have to take care of kids, we have

Speaker2:

:

to do this, then it's just that's what really puts sets us back in our society.

Speaker2:

:

And I think breaking down these stereotypes and these roles in our mind will help make

Speaker2:

:

more of an equity in our society.

Speaker2:

:

Not that we don't have equal opportunity, but it's just really these stereotypes and

Speaker2:

:

these societal roles that are kind of still creating this gender gap.

Speaker2:

:

I guess also to add on to your question, I think that there tends to be with older

Speaker2:

:

generations because our generation, if you're progressive, we are very progressive,

Speaker2:

:

which I'm not saying is a bad thing at all.

Speaker2:

:

But I think that there tends to be there definitely is a discrepancy between the like

Speaker2:

:

thoughts and ideas between younger generations and older generations.

Speaker2:

:

And I think that it's not necessarily either one's fault, but I don't I just think like we

Speaker2:

:

just don't tend to understand each other like I.

Speaker2:

:

Like I would never talk to my grandparents or my older figures in my life about politics

Speaker2:

:

and stuff like that besides my parents, because I just don't think they'd understand

Speaker2:

:

how I feel.

Speaker2:

:

And I just think that there's kind of because times have changed.

Speaker2:

:

A large amount in the last 20 years.

Speaker2:

:

So I feel like it's just hard to understand each other.

Speaker2:

:

And I feel like if we just can come together and just try to understand how each other's

Speaker2:

:

feeling and just support each other and understand the troubles that younger

Speaker2:

:

generations face, you know, I don't know if that answers your question.

Speaker1:

:

Big goal of what I want to get out of this conversation with you both today.

Speaker1:

:

I have grandchildren about your same age and.

Speaker1:

:

You know, I think they know I'm very progressive as well.

Speaker1:

:

So I think that's not an issue.

Speaker1:

:

But there still is a difference.

Speaker1:

:

You know, I don't understand some of the challenges they face.

Speaker1:

:

I will ask about school or about an event.

Speaker1:

:

And, you know, so it's the you know, there is that hierarchy of roles, right?

Speaker1:

:

So I how do you get to that point where you can say, Grandma, we need to talk and you

Speaker1:

:

just feel safe talking?

Speaker2:

:

I just think being willing to listen because I know at least in my family, because like my

Speaker2:

:

family is like we have this very traditional role, like children, like, I guess younger

Speaker2:

:

ages. It's like, you know, we're not as wise as like, older groups.

Speaker2:

:

So maybe we shouldn't share as much of our opinion on politics and stuff like that.

Speaker2:

:

But I think we should try and move away from that.

Speaker2:

:

Just make the younger generations like maybe your grandchildren or your children feel more

Speaker2:

:

comfortable sharing their thoughts on things because, you know, if they're like, Well,

Speaker2:

:

this is how I feel.

Speaker2:

:

This is what I've been hearing about in politics.

Speaker2:

:

This is my opinion on it, and just be open to what they have to say and like answering

Speaker2:

:

their questions or helping them do more research on it.

Speaker2:

:

So like these younger generations can be more educated and feel more comfortable

Speaker2:

:

sharing their opinions. I feel like that's the best way to move forward in like fixing

Speaker2:

:

these gaps of inequality and just like being more educated overall and allowing people to

Speaker2:

:

share their opinions. Because I feel like as younger generations, we have this stigma,

Speaker2:

:

like we're not that smart, we're not that educated.

Speaker2:

:

We really shouldn't have an opinion about this.

Speaker2:

:

We need to let the people who are older and have been to college and have jobs like be

Speaker2:

:

the only ones with opinions about this.

Speaker2:

:

But like we're growing, we're eventually going to grow into those people.

Speaker2:

:

And as soon as we start understanding what this stuff is, we should be allowed to like,

Speaker2:

:

share our thoughts and feelings on it and just be heard and be represented because we

Speaker2:

:

have to experience this stuff all the time.

Speaker2:

:

But why is it that not until we sort of hit a certain age mark that our opinion is valid

Speaker2:

:

or we should be heard or we should even be talking about this kind of stuff.

Speaker2:

:

It's just we need to be heard and understood because that will make it more easier to

Speaker2:

:

understand everyone overall and just be able to move forward.

Speaker2:

:

And I feel like no matter what, there is kind of a social hierarchy, like you said.

Speaker2:

:

I mean. Not that my grandmother is, I guess, better than me, but she.

Speaker2:

:

She's older than me.

Speaker2:

:

She's wiser than me.

Speaker2:

:

She knows more. So sometimes it's hard when we have difference of opinions like that just

Speaker2:

:

feels hard because like, when in doubt, I would feel like my grandmother would be right

Speaker2:

:

because she's older than me.

Speaker2:

:

She knows more than me.

Speaker2:

:

So it's just hard for me to discuss my opinions if sometimes I feel a little

Speaker2:

:

discouraged whenever talking to her.

Speaker2:

:

That makes any.

Speaker1:

:

Sense. Well, I think you made some brilliant points about listening.

Speaker1:

:

I think we all have to listen better.

Speaker1:

:

And your comment about older and wiser, I mean, in.

Speaker1:

:

In some respects we have experience that you haven't had yet.

Speaker1:

:

But that's our experience.

Speaker2:

:

Yeah.

Speaker1:

:

It's different than what you're living, you know?

Speaker1:

:

And so I think listening both ways, you know, I mean, speaking with.

Speaker1:

:

The women that you did at AAUW, you know, they have had a lot of experience working

Speaker1:

:

towards women's rights and educational rights for women.

Speaker1:

:

But we're not living as 17 or 18 year old girls.

Speaker1:

:

Right. So I think we starting this dialogue like we've done today and seeing it.

Speaker1:

:

Hopefully develop.

Speaker1:

:

I think we have to create these bridges between the generations to.

Speaker1:

:

To make the progress that you want to make, you know, so that Ali and Avery, you can both

Speaker1:

:

have those careers and have a family if you choose.

Speaker1:

:

And, you know, study engineering if you want to or be a writer if you want to, it doesn't

Speaker1:

:

matter, you know, as long as you feel understood and supported.

Speaker1:

:

And I hope everybody listening finds ways to do that.

Speaker1:

:

I know we've talked about a lot of the challenges, and I did want to take an

Speaker1:

:

opportunity to also talk about some of the things that we might be hopeful about.

Speaker1:

:

You know, are there things looking out into your future in the next few years of college

Speaker1:

:

and careers that you feel like you're hopeful you're seeing some progress?

Speaker2:

:

Yeah, I think there's a lot of you know, there are a lot of issues going on.

Speaker2:

:

There's a lot going on.

Speaker2:

:

And sometimes it's hard to look past the negativity and the stuff that's going on.

Speaker2:

:

But I do believe that there is there is change.

Speaker2:

:

There are people out there who think the same things we do and are willing to make

Speaker2:

:

change and are willing to educate themselves.

Speaker2:

:

And it really is it's kind of cool to see it sometimes.

Speaker2:

:

And I think one of these stigmatism is like the woke movement, which I.

Speaker2:

:

I don't understand why people are so scared by that, because in my mind I get like some

Speaker2:

:

things people are confused by.

Speaker2:

:

But I think just the ability, which I feel like I've been excited to see is people are

Speaker2:

:

willing to talk about these things.

Speaker2:

:

People are willing to talk about their feelings and what they want to do.

Speaker2:

:

And just having these open conversations, like with the more recent movement, like

Speaker2:

:

gender identity, people feeling more comfortable like, Hey, I might not fit

Speaker2:

:

completely into this idea of what a female is or what a male is like.

Speaker2:

:

I think I might be somewhere in the middle or I might be just being open about who you

Speaker2:

:

are. That doesn't affect anyone negatively if you want to identify differently because

Speaker2:

:

that's how you feel, what you are truly, then that doesn't affect anyone.

Speaker2:

:

And I think being open to that and making everyone feel more comfortable and just

Speaker2:

:

having those discussions and breaking down these stereotypes is one thing I've

Speaker2:

:

definitely seen in our society as we're moving forward is people are just more

Speaker2:

:

comfortable to express how they feel and their thoughts on things.

Speaker2:

:

And I think the more we talk and the more we're open to and being receptive about ways

Speaker2:

:

people feel and how things affect them, that overall can help us move forward as a

Speaker2:

:

society. And I'm definitely seeing a lot more of that.

Speaker2:

:

And I think people I think people are becoming less scared of the idea of us moving

Speaker2:

:

back from this traditional society where men go, go work in Women's Day in the house.

Speaker2:

:

And I think we're I think we really are moving, moving slowly, but we are moving past

Speaker2:

:

that idea. And I think people are.

Speaker2:

:

Becoming more and more every day slowly.

Speaker2:

:

But they are becoming more, I guess, comfortable with the idea of us moving on

Speaker2:

:

from that. And I.

Speaker2:

:

That's really important.

Speaker2:

:

But I think I think once people become a little bit more comfortable with just opening

Speaker2:

:

their minds a little bit, we can we can make so many strides and that would be so amazing.

Speaker2:

:

But I think we're getting there.

Speaker2:

:

I really do.

Speaker1:

:

So you're hopeful that people are getting more comfortable with being open about who

Speaker1:

:

they are and talking about some of the concerns and differences and.

Speaker1:

:

Well, that's very positive.

Speaker1:

:

Heidi has an interesting suggestion.

Speaker1:

:

Have you thought about having a meeting where you invite your grandparents and try

Speaker1:

:

and have a dialogue?

Speaker1:

:

What would that be like?

Speaker2:

:

My grandparents live in Rock Hill.

Speaker2:

:

They are lovely human beings.

Speaker2:

:

I do love them.

Speaker2:

:

I don't I don't think they would be.

Speaker2:

:

I think. I don't know.

Speaker2:

:

They are very different from me and I love them.

Speaker2:

:

I really do. But they definitely have grown up with ideas and they kind of stick to them.

Speaker2:

:

So I don't know if they'd be too happy to be there.

Speaker2:

:

I don't know. I don't know about your grandparents.

Speaker2:

:

Your grandparents would be supportive.

Speaker2:

:

Right. Maybe my grandparents.

Speaker2:

:

The only thing is they are slightly technologically challenged, so I would have

Speaker2:

:

to figure that out.

Speaker2:

:

So.

Speaker1:

:

So you don't meet in person?

Speaker2:

:

Yeah. I don't think they might not be able to come in person.

Speaker1:

:

But you. Your school meetings, are they in person or are they all online?

Speaker2:

:

Our school meetings or school meetings are in person.

Speaker2:

:

Sometimes we have guest speakers.

Speaker2:

:

They have been in person and online.

Speaker2:

:

Most of the time we try to do online because we figure that's easier for everybody.

Speaker2:

:

But again, after seeing my grandparents do a Zoom meeting during COVID, I don't think I

Speaker2:

:

don't think they'd be able to figure it out, unfortunately.

Speaker1:

:

Well, something to think about for the future.

Speaker1:

:

It could be interesting because you.

Speaker1:

:

You know, you want to start the dialogue and we have to learn to dialogue with people that

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don't think like us. So that's always.

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Yeah, that's.

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True. Not easy, but it is a challenge.

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So any takeaway or advice for boomers on how we can work to support what you're doing in

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the Young Women's Forum?

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Um, I just think being overall, just being more receptive of these changing roles and

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just breaking down stereotypes of what females have to be and what men have to be.

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I just think as society in the past, we've built up these ideas of what a women should

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be, what men should be.

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I feel like breaking those down, making people feel more comfortable sharing their

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:

ideas and just how people feel overall about their struggles and what they think they want

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to do. I feel like be more receptive to that will make everything everyone be more

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comfortable in their own skin and more happy, like pursuing the things they want to

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do. I think a big takeaway is just I have noticed that times are changing really fast

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and sometimes people just can't keep up with it.

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And I get that. But I feel like sometimes people just need to figure out how to just

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listen. I feel like that's definitely a big problem with what's going on, is that even

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including my generation, we just can't listen and try to just sit there and

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understand someone else's perspective.

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So I think just listening and being open to things that are maybe challenging and scary

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is just something that is really, really needed.

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Uh, well, you two are very impressive young women.

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I so appreciate that you took the time to share these ideas with us, and I'm not

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sharing your contact information with the audience, But if anybody would like to get in

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touch with Avery and Eleanor about what they're doing and maybe bring it to other

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schools, you can email me.

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You can email me at Wendy at Hey, Boomer Dot Biz and I can forward your email on and then

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they can decide.

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But for safety reasons, I didn't want to share their emails.

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All right so.

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If you are a regular listener of the Boomer show, then you are aware of the Hey Boomer

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banter, which we will start up again tomorrow night at 730.

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No, I'm sorry, at 630 Eastern time.

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:

And it's a chance for us to get together as a community and talk and learn and grow and

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listen. And so tomorrow night, we're talking about friendship.

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If you'd like to be part of that, just drop me an email at Wendi at Hey, Boomer.

Speaker1:

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Biz I'll send you the link to join us for that.

Speaker1:

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Also, the vitality assessment.

Speaker1:

:

Like I said, you can get that on the home page.

Speaker1:

:

Hey, Boomer dot biz.

Speaker1:

:

So be sure to download that and check out where you are on feeling vital in this stage

Speaker1:

:

of your life.

Speaker1:

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And please go to road scholar dot org slash.

Speaker1:

:

Hey Boomer. Just look at the trips just so that they know that we're talking about them

Speaker1:

:

and we're supporting them.

Speaker1:

:

They do have some amazing opportunities.

Speaker1:

:

So go to road scholar dot org slash.

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:

Hey Boomer. It's important to support our sponsors.

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And next week I have a real treat for you.

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And some.

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Homework.

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Okay, So next week, my guest is Skye Bergmann.

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And Skye is an award winning photographer, a filmmaker and the director of a documentary

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called Lives Well Lived.

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The film celebrates the incredible wit, wisdom and life experiences of older adults

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:

living full and meaningful lives in their later years.

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:

Skye began creating this documentary by filming her 99 year old grandmother cooking

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her famous lasagna.

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Then she is now, I think Grandma is 103 and still going strong.

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:

But then she continued creating the documentary by adding, I think, another 15 or

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:

so vibrant older adults and now uses this to create conversation with younger adults,

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younger people in high school and college who are amazed at what older adults are still

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interested in and doing and makes aging look much less scary.

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So your homework is to watch the movie lives well lived.

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You can find it on PBS.

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I'm also going to put the link for where you can stream it live on your on your home

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computer. So thank you again, Ellie and Avery.

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No, thank you. Thank you for having us.

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Thank you for having us. Really.

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This has been great.

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And I always like to leave you all with the belief that you can live with relevance, live

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with courage, and live with passion, and that we are never too old to set another goal

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or dream A new dream.

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My name is Wendy Green, and this has been.

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