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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

I was raised within a family and community who have resolutely believed in the power and equality of my aspirations. Yet so many young women around the world are chastised and punished for believing in the validity of their dreams. As a culture, we need to reevaluate the societal, often sexist, standards we put on girls at such young ages, and recognize the rather archaic nature of many of these principles.

The world is changing for women. Women are no longer confined to the once standard, preconceived notion of the “perfect housewife,” yet bigotry continues to exist today. Women on average are paid significantly less than men and are drastically less represented in governmental institutions, which unfortunately, could potentially be a source of major female advocacy. An army of women has risen to the challenge of overcoming these gender-based biases. Actress and activist, Emma Watson, began the HeForShe campaign in 2014 in an effort to bring together the two halves of humanity, men and women, together. Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl, has continually advocated for human rights and education for girls after severe oppression and physical harm by the Taliban. She was even honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her continual activism after receiving an outpouring of international support. The 2017 Women’s Marches all around the world, effectively challenged governmental and sexist institutions and allowed women a platform to stand up for what they believe in. The #MeToo movement of 2017 rocked and revolutionized the entertainment industry, its effects now permeating into other industries. These progressive movements are changing the gendered atmosphere. However, campaigns and advocacy should not be the compulsory means in which to achieve equality. Equality should be an inherent right granted to all, regardless of gender, sexuality, race or culture. This is the true obstacle today’s world must overcome.  

Though I have not faced severe sexism myself, I have experienced bigotry based on my gender. Nothing is more demeaning than being immediately devalued upon an initial physical inspection. I personally feel that is my job to understand why these prejudices occur, pose the same questions onto others, and help undertake and drive the movement toward gender equality, so women for generations to come will be judged not by their physical appearance, but instead by the substance of their character and the power they hold in the beauty of their dreams. 

Hi I'm Margaret Crawford and I grew up in Dallas, Texas before venturing to St. Andrews for university to read, write, learn, and travel.
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Jenny Yau

St. Andrews

I'm Jenny Yau, 19 and from Hong Kong. Reading, writing poetry and watching tv are my main obsessions. I am sometimes mistaken for a hermit, but I'm friendly once you get to know me :p