Britney Quiroz, Finalist, Local Letters for Global Change

Both Sunni and Shia students study at a girls’ school in Minawar, a village near Gilgit in the province of Gilgit-Baltistan. Image by Sara Hylton/National Geographic. Pakistan, 2019.

Both Sunni and Shia students study at a girls’ school in Minawar, a village near Gilgit in the province of Gilgit-Baltistan. Image by Sara Hylton/National Geographic. Pakistan, 2019.

This letter features reporting from "The Rising Voices of Women in Pakistan" by Alice Su and Sara Hylton

Dear Representative Jesús García,

For many years, women have been constantly fighting against the oppressive shadow that their society utilizes to conceal their potential, but unfortunately, many countries still strictly discourage women from performing labor that rebels against the idea of female submissiveness. I believe that the root cause of this injustice should be addressed by advocating for female representation throughout countries that lack from female participation in male dominated labor, and offering opportunities that empower women to willingly strive for a better education. As reported in the Pulitzer Center article “The Rising Voices of Women in Pakistan” by Alice Su and Sara Hylton, women in Pakistan are choosing not to participate in events that affect their future due to their lack of family support, societal oppression, and the fear of becoming  the target of a deadly attack. Su’s article offers a better insight into the frightening experiences Pakistani women face in the attempt to fight for equal rights. Unfortunately, many women are sexually assaulted, threatened, and experience pushback from other religious women because of their willingness to spread feminism and fight for equality. Although more women are beginning to voluntarily take action in male dominated roles, the pressure of having to appear weaker than a man in their society is still an issue that manipulates women into believing that they only deserve half of a man’s rights. 

As a result of our large Latinx community, this issue is important to address in Chicago because Latinas are still encountering injustices that decrease their possibilities of being successful in the United States. Similar to Pakistan, the root of this inequality stems from the expectations that Latinas receive from the culture they grew up in, the lack of well-paying job opportunities, and discrimination. Latinx society suffers from a divide in gender roles, which results in the oppression of the female image, and as a result of this, many Latinas do not graduate from high school. Although choosing to not achieve a higher level of education may seem like a personal decision, it is important to know that Latinxs are already a minority in the U.S., and if the number of educated Latinas continues to decrease, young Latinas will be far less represented in the country. Taking into account that the Latinx community is a minority, most Latinx households are male dominated, and women in the Latinx community are not achieving a higher level of education, it can be inferred that Latinas will never achieve equality in comparison to men and their participation in male dominated roles will constantly decrease. If the future generation of Latinas are not empowered to achieve major success in a country that naturally oppresses their culture, the potential that many of them promise will go to waste and America will continue to be dominated by white, rich men. All women deserve equality. All future generations deserve representation. All Latinas deserve a chance.

To the Latina’s advantage, people have advocated for women’s rights in Chicago and have successfully created movements that provide Latinas with better education and representation. Although these movements have positively affected the lives of many Latinas, the movements are not helping all Latinas in Chicago. We must raise awareness of this issue by continuously advocating for equality in Latinx roles offering emotional support to the future generations of Latinas. This said, I urge you to provide resources, better opportunities, and equal funds to majority-Latinx public schools in Chicago. If the future generation of Latinas are educated in an environment that supports gender equality and offers better resources, they will be empowered to overcome challenges and achieve success. Remember: A knowledgeable Latina has the power to shape the world.      

Sincerely,

Britney Quiroz

My name is Britney Quiroz. I was born in Dallas, Texas, but I have been living in Chicago for most of my life. I’m currently a junior at the Back of The Yards College Prep High School in the South Side of Chicago. I love theater and some of my hobbies include playing volleyball, singing, and writing. My passion for theater began at a very young age and I have continued to develop my skills as an actress by working with theater companies that focus on providing the South Side community with theater that addresses injustices like lack of female representation, and lack of community support towards minorities. Terence Morrow, my choir director, is my role model. His unconditional support towards my dreams and his passion for music has made a huge impact in my love for theater. I would like to thank my english teacher, Sergio Espinoza, for supporting me unconditionally in everything I do. I would also like to thank my Theory of Knowledge Teacher, Mr. Potter, for challenging me to think outside my own barriers and providing me with this opportunity.