Pearson Love '22
A Space for Women in the IS Program and Beyond
Within the IS program, I have found opportunities to reflect on my identity as a woman and celebrate the voices of other women, but on International Women’s Day this year I want to reflect on ways in which those opportunities can be expanded in the IS program, around BC and in the world.
After we were sent home last spring, I received an email from one of my classmates inviting me to spend an afternoon watching "Becoming," the Michelle Obama documentary. The email had been sent to all the women in the IS core course "Introduction to International Relations," and asked us all to join together in the next few days and watch the movie over Zoom. I really enjoyed getting together with everyone that week, partially because we had all been in quarantine for weeks. I also found it really amazing to have time to "check in" with the women in my class and spend time celebrating the life of another amazing woman. This is not to say that we were not able to have valuable and important conversations in class and discussion section with all genders represented, but I realized how much I valued having another space for conversation and reflection with women in the IS program.
The opportunities within the IS Program to reflect on gender, femininity, and my identity as a woman have been incredibly important in shaping how I understand my education at BC and as an International Studies major. For example, in that same IR class, a week was dedicated to women’s rights and gender violence. Even in classes without a concentration on gender or women’s topics, there have always been opportunities for projects based on my own interests. I have often found myself drawn towards topics with some focus on gender, and I have researched and written on many topics, from women as terrorists to gender in the Iranian Revolution.
There have also always been chances outside of the classroom to have conversations about gender and identity, whether in organized events or with the female mentors I have found in IS. I have also had the chance to work as an IS Program peer advisor alongside five other amazing women, and I have loved the opportunity to work closely with everyone on all of the programs, events and overall planning that make the IS Program so great! Because of the IS program, I have been able to connect with my identity as a woman in a way in which I have not been able to in the past.
I have never noticed a major gender disparity within IS, and if anything, I feel that there are more women in my IS courses than men. While there is typically gender equality in undergraduate majors and concentrations, studies prove again and again that gender disparities begin to widen as students leave college and enter the "real world," wherever that might be.
While I’m not sure if I can personally change the biases and additional factors which contribute to gender disparity around the world, I do think that my experiences at BC and with the International Studies Program have given me the tools to make positive changes in whichever communities I am a part of. The IS Program has allowed me to flourish in an environment in which women’s voices are heard and taken seriously, and to think critically about identity and how our identities can shape our understanding of the world. Wherever the future takes me, I would like to take these experiences with me and create similar spaces for future women.
Pearson Love ’22