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The other day I wondered why we call ourselves freshmen. Duh. Only men were supposed to go to college. Meanwhile, women’s lives were supposed to be fulfilled by a simple formula: cook, sweep, scrub, repeat. Well, it turns out that in my school’s computer science classes, one of the hardest courses taught, the ratio between boys and girls is 50/50. Welcome to the 21st century, people. Have we been sleeping? Or have we been so focused on getting As that we cannot be bothered by something as important as a name?
"It is incredible to me that any woman should consider the fight for full equality won. It has just begun," Alice Paul said after women won their battle with the 19th amendment. A century later, worldwide, there are 65 million girls out of school and increasing occurrences of female infanticide in Southern and Eastern Asia. Right here, in America, women earn 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts and face stereotypes we fail to recognize as sexist. Across high schools and colleges, first year girls students are referred to as, “freshman,” a term coined by a student at Cambridge University over 500 years ago.
We must change the term not because it will change people’s thoughts, but because it is a step toward dismantling the edifice of gender inequality. A trivial change, it will not educate girls or bring the girls married off at fifteen comfort, or end wage discrimination, but we must remember Vincent Van Gogh’s words, “Great things are not done by impulse [or tall goals], but by a small series of things brought together.” And don’t we want to establish our place in society before something pushes us back a hundred years, before that nasty thing called History, which has a tendency to repeat itself, starts to haunt us? ACT NOW, my friends, by joining this petition and bringing the world one step closer to equality. Please indicate what we should call ourselves: freshers, frosh, or freshies.
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