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The power of cute shoes & conversation

What can a pair of cute shoes & conversation do?
I'll tell what they can do, they can transform a timid girl with no dreams into a national leader for the rights of baby girls,, they can take wayward students to graduate school and they can bring a single teenage mother to a career in science and engineering.

I am lucky to know these four women, they were my students. And they liked my cute shoes.

We spent hours after class chatting about life & fashion. They didn't have a dream, and they certainly didn't know their own power as women. They didn't think they liked math or science and they were surprised to have a female professor. They were the students that others had given up on, if they even saw them at all. They were the girls who didn't fit the mold, as society believes anyway. Over many conversations, they began to dream, & I encouraged them. I tied math & science to makeup & the fun girly things of life. They began to blossom. They found they loved math & science & they weren't just good at it, they were phenomenal. They realized they could define their destiny as women, as scientists, as leaders, all while wearing cute shoes. Fierce and fashionable- they are having a positive impact on society as I write.

I am so proud of these ladies, and so grateful for the lesson they taught me. They taught me that some dreams are not yet dreamt, a latent seed waiting to nourished with interest, time, conversation, faith, non traditional education, and of course, cute shoes.

I have a new dream, to reach every & any women who hasn't found her way through this power because standard education will never see us as we are, smart, beautiful, stylish, & free to define our own way, no matter what shoes we wear.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

KathyG's picture

Love this!

As an engineering student back in the 1980's I wish you had been my instructor. Not so much that I liked pretty things. I was quite the tomboy. But, back then, and seemingly still today engineering curriculum was taught to men by men. My brain didn't work that way. It didn't mean I wasn't smart enough, but it felt like I was having to translate a foreign language first, before even thinking about what was being taught.

Thank you for sharing. Having someone understand, take the time to relate in terms we can connect with, only empowers us all. You are that special teacher that these women will never forget!

I look forward to more!

Kathy
World Pulse
Project Manager

Leedjia's picture

Thank You!

I am so grateful for your response, it made my day :) What kind of engineering do you do?

I agree with you, there are many ways to take in information and most institutions offer only one, one that usually isn't shared by us, but no less valuable.

Your comments also made me reflect and realize that my first science teachers were women, I imagine that was a subconscious green light. In graduate school it was all guys when I started. I tried to be one of them before realizing I am better off being me. By trying not to be put in a box by others, I put myself in one. It sounds like you were more self aware in that regard. It is my hope for a future where we can feel free to talk about anything, including science, and positive social change without fear of social stigma.

LisaXi's picture

the seed

Sometimes all it takes is a mentor to plant the seed, in which a girl can begin to believe.

SallyB's picture

Fabulous Analogy!

Shoes as vehicle for personal progress; what a fabulous analogy!

tiffany_anne's picture

So True

I love this story, and I really feel like it's a reflection of how women today are taking charge to define their own lives- allowing themselves to be as cute and girl as they want while still being intelligent and successful. The idea that women need to let go of "feminine" things like pretty shoes or clothes to be respected and taken seriously is rightfully ending, and this is a fantastic example of that.

edelgros's picture

Leedja, Thank-you so much for

Leedja,

Thank-you so much for sharing such insight. As a science student myself, I have often felt discouraged by observing the others around me and feeling that I didn't fit the mold. Our culture's ideas of what is allowed to be feminine and what is not can be very disheartening for a young woman. Your personal effort into your students and the time you've taken to truly get to know them is an inspiration. I hope that there are many more professors like you to come!

Liz

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