Below is a copy of an essay recently written by my daughter. When given the title “What Freedom Means to Me”, she decided to write about gender inequality. It was too good not to post, so without further adieu:

What Freedom Means to Me

Reagan I. (6th grade)

To me, freedom means equality between men and women. When people first moved to America from Europe, they came here to be free. They wanted freedom of religion, they wanted a say in their government, and they did not want one person ranking higher than another like the monarch systems they were used to living under. However, they ended up turning around and creating the same types of problems they had tried to leave behind. Women, especially, still lived like second-class citizens.

Then, in 1920, after more than 70 years of fighting, women gained the right to vote. Imagine working for so long on that one issue. One woman who fought for this was Susan B. Anthony and is the most well-known person for the effort. She never even got a chance to vote herself, dying in 1906.

On October 13, 2015, news stations everywhere reported on an essay written by Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence. Her essay was entitled, “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-stars?” She was infuriated to have been oblivious to her own reality of inequality. She wrote, “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion.” Many other actresses were outraged as well, including British actress Emma Watson. Although Emma Watson is best known for playing the role of Hermione Granger in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter movie franchise, she is also an active member of HeForShe. HeforShe is an organization that supports gender equality and Ms. Watson is one of their main spokespersons.

Another actress, Patricia Arquette, brought attention to gender inequality with her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech. She said, “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

It has been 95 years since women gained the right to vote, but many other inequalities still remain. I hope more men will support gender equality. It is an important issue and has everything to do with freedom.