The importance of a woman’s voice

Sydney Purtee

Over the last couple of weeks, women have been in the news nonstop. First, it was Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes. Then, it was the 150 female athletes who spoke out against Larry Nassar, and then it was the Women’s March that took place all around the world. One of the most recent incidents that hit close to home is the Hear Her, Harvard campaign.

More than 200 women rallied at Harvard University after the institution released a new policy that women can’t take on leadership roles in organizations. Sororities on campus were impacted by the policy.

I’m a member of a sorority and heavily involved with Greek life in general. I know women who have received leadership roles and incredible opportunities solely because their sorority opened up their horizon.

Many powerful women that we see today in the media were involved in Greek life. Alicia Keys was an honorary sister of Alpha Kappa Kappa and is a co-founder of “Keep a Child Alive” and the “We Are Here” movement. She is an important activist and was a member of a sorority.

Jada Pinkett Smith was an honorary sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha and founded the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, which focuses on aiding underprivileged children. Smith has supported 14 total charities and foundations and 20 causes throughout her lifetime. 

Harvard telling their female students that their involvement in female-only organizations should limit their access to other leadership roles, and that they shouldn’t reach for the very top, is disappointing.

Women should be empowered, encouraged and given the same opportunities that men are. Nobody is hindering the participation of men in fraternities, so why are women in sororities being targeted?

Women have been fighting this battle for as long as I can remember, and the end of it is nowhere in sight. There have been improvements and they should be recognized, but the entirety of it is not dwindling.

Women in sororities are taught within their organization to empower each other and to hold themselves to the highest standard. All we ask is that everyone else does the same.

Sydney Purtee is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected]