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What Does It Mean to Be a Woman in 2021?

To approach this challenging (and extremely pertinent) question, I asked University of Connecticut students for feedback through a cumulation of in-person interviews, Instagram surveys, and a sign posted outside my dorm.

The answers I received are inspiring, disheartening, humorous, and reflective of a tense, and sometimes frightening, reality. Most of the responses are from individuals who identify as women; however, my target population was UCONN students as a whole.

Some students preferred to remain anonymous, while others allowed me to include part of their name.

Thanks to all Of the participants, this is what it means to be a woman in 2021:

“Having to fight for confidence, self-worth, and making your way.”

“To need to advocate for yourself.”

“Learning how to put yourself first.”

“Fighting for a spot.”

Inclusivity needs to become a personal priority. More than anything else, women need to support and protect other women.” -Maddie C.

“It means ignoring stereotypes and expectations.” -Mackenzie C.

“It’s challenging and scary.”

“To be unified with other women.” -Gabby D.

“To support and protect other women.”

“Second guessing every decision.”

More than anything else, women need to support and protect other women.

-Maddie C.

Having to overcome extra adversities on a daily basis without any extra praise, recognition, or lack of responsibility.” -Nick W. 

“To be strong.” -Marissa F.

“There’s a lot of pressure.”

“To believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

 “To persevere through a society of patriarchy.” -Joey R.

Constantly redefining yourself to fit society’s standards.”

“It’s horrible.”

“Thinking I’ll be sexualized if I make one mistake.”

Unprotected, regarding our life choices.” -Haley

“It’s harder than it has been in the past.”

To believe in the beauty of their dreams.

-Anonymous

“Feeling empowered to be unique.”

“It takes a lot of composure and confidence.”

“To work hard and achieve your dreams.” -Infanta

“It’s really harsh.”

“To face different challenges than men.”

“To be a graceful badass.” -Daria

“Be independent.” -C.

“Learning how to make people respect you.”

“Being assertive.”

 “A constant test of your own self-worth.”

A constant test of your own self-worth.

-Anonymous

“To be empowered.” -Brandon C.

“To fight for equality.”

“To not be afraid to say something.” -Chloe

“To have to stand up for yourself.”

“To be a person.”

“It’s rough.”

“Having a strong sense of self-worth and strength.”

“To strive to be equal in all aspects.”

“To put yourself first and refused to be silenced.”

“To be sure of yourself and confident.”

To put yourself first and refuse to be silenced.

-Anonymous

In Conclusion

Talking to students on campus about this issue felt very empowering and I enjoyed stimulating this conversation amongst friend groups. I noticed that many students initially felt hesitant about participating because they were afraid of saying “the wrong thing” (which is impossible!). As a result, I encouraged people to say the first thing that popped into their heads instead of overthinking the question.

The ideas of self-worth, fighting for a spot, and supporting other women seemed to be common themes throughout my interviews. The idea of being unified with other women is particularly important, and will likely prove crucial to the ongoing fight for equality.

Chloe Hummel

U Conn '24

Chloe is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut. She is an English major and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor, concentrating in Creative Writing.
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