Girl Up joins list of clubs offered at COD

Alison Pfaff, Features Editor

With the continuation of Women’s history month, a new club has emerged at COD.  Girl Up’s mission is to defend gender equality, as well as help adolescent girls in developing countries attend school, emphasizing the importance of education.

President Poonam Rahman, a first year pre-pharmacy and biological science student, started COD’s chapter in December 2018. Rahman feels the club is an opportunity to give students a place to belong.

“I think COD needed a club like this because, in this day and age, it is important to have a support system for women and a resource for young women to gain their leadership skills,” Rahman said.

In terms of goals for the rest of the semester, Rahman hopes to educate the COD community, as well as complete various projects and fundraisers.

“[Our goal] is to gain student involvement in our club and to host many fun and beneficial events.,” Rahman said. “Since Girl Up COD is a newer club, we also would like to spread awareness and inform students about our club and our mission of helping and empowering young girls all over the world.”

On Thursday, March 14, Girl Up hosted a Women’s Empowerment Panel. Panelists at event included Amal Jarad, a counselor at COD; Hira Umer, owner of Scrumptious By Hira, a bakery located in Lombard; Kris Leonard a counselor from Medinah Middle School, and Stephanie Quirk, who oversees SLC, as well as coordinates Student Life.

Topics for panelists varied from supporting other women and their successes, without questioning your own, to how they were able to bring other women up and who inspires them.

Umer, a small business owner, combats the feeling of comparison to other women’s success by remembering  everyone has a place in the world.

“There is room for everyone, and everyone is doing something different,” Umer said.  

Panelists were also asked what empowerment means to them. Quirk emphasised paying it forward.

“When you empower someone, it empowers them to pay that forward,” Quirk said.

Jarad credited her education to being empowered and wishes someone would have told her everything would be OK.

“Education has opened up a big door for me to be empowered,” Jarad said. “I came to this country when I was 15. I was the top of my class back home… I wish someone would have told me, ‘You’ll make it.’”

As one of the final questions, panelists were asked what “like a girl” means to them.

“It’s the only way I know how to do it!” Umer said.