We Are Westridge
A community blog featuring Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor, the Westridge Leadership Team, our esteemed faculty members and occasional special guests
The Impact of an “Everywoman’s” Voice, Including Lasting Peace
by Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor
Image source: University of San Diego, Women PeaceMakers
Our active alumnae community shares information about how we can think and work in ways that uplift girls and young women. Recently, Krista Poehler ’93, the assistant dean for marketing and advancement at the University of San Diego (USD) Kroc School of Peace Studies and Social Innovation, forwarded a story that I think is worthy of sharing with our wider community. Featured on the website Upworthy, the story “We'll start seeing more lasting peace when women get more seats at the negotiating table,” talks to how having more women at the table leads to better results, in this case, a table that makes the difference between life and death.
A quote near the end of the story from Jennifer Bradshaw, program officer for Women PeaceMakers at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the USD, particularly caught my attention. Bradshaw talks about how the female peacekeepers believe they are ordinary people, saying, “They are average people who made important decisions at key points. Anyone can do this. So when you see injustice, oppressions, violence—do not ignore it. Do not be complacent, do not shy away from having hard conversations—the time for this is over."
This sentiment reminds me of what we talk about with our girls so often. We make sure they know that even as young students, as members of our community they have important things to say and an imperative to say them. We ask them to think about themselves in relation to others with whom they interact here at Westridge, in the broader community, and in world, and to have their actions guided by both this interpersonal impact and their personal values.
It seems like a long journey from Westridge to an international peacekeeping table, but it’s really just as simple as one person deciding to get involved. And outside of peacekeeping, engaging the diverse perspectives of thought and experience of women so often leads to improved and long-lasting results.
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