Raise Your Hand & Speak Up

by Caroline Cioffi, LiveGirl Mentor

Be honest, have you ever chosen not to raise your hand in class because you were afraid others might not listen to your ideas? Or maybe you didn’t try out for the lead role in your school play because you were afraid you might not be good enough? Perhaps you didn’t like the way a friend was treating you, but you were afraid to speak up?

I understand that it’s sometimes hard to have the courage to speak up. When I was in middle school, I played a constant game of avoiding eye-contact with my teachers, praying not to be called on. But, why? Sadly, sometimes we girls lack confidence.We live in a world where discrimination, sexual harassment and harmful gender stereotypes are constant reminders that we’re not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough. As a result, many of us hold ourselves back. We keep silent rather than risk a wrong answer.

Studies have shown that boys are more likely than girls to project confidence when they’re uncertain. In the classroom, girls must feel at least 80% confident that they know an answer before they will raise their hand, while boys are much more likely to raise their hand when they are only 20% confident.  I am writing this blog to let you know that what you have to say is important. Girls, you have EVERY RIGHT to voice your opinions and, more importantly, every right to have your opinions heard and considered.

Once you start to develop this voice, I think you will see how impactful it can be. The more you speak out, the more comfortable you will become and the easier it gets to express your ideas. You have so many talents and gifts to share with those around you so long as you are willing to do so. The world needs to hear what you have to say, and you can’t be afraid to stand up say it!

In the world we live in today, it is more important than ever to advocate for yourself. Each of you knows when you are being wronged or treated unfairly, and you can’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. You deserve the same consideration and opportunities as everyone around you and cannot be willing to accept anything less.

Luckily, we are blessed to have countless strong, influential women who have fearlessly fought for themselves and their rights and serve as role models for every one of us. All it takes is a simple Google search to find the images and stories of thousands of women who have served as trail-blazers for all of us. Better yet, come to one of the many LiveGirl programs to hear first-hand experiences from and talk to some of these influential women.

Become familiar with these strong girls and women, whether they are celebrities or someone you see every day. These women prove that you are not alone and, if they can stand up for themselves, so can you.

After all, what would our world be if Rosa Parks had decided to get up out of her seat? If Beyoncé truly believed that she was not good enough to pursue a professional music career? If Malala had accepted the fact that she was being denied a proper education? I challenge each of you to let your voices be heard and stand up for what you know is right. It isn’t easy, but I assure you that every time you stand up, you will not only strengthen yourself, but give another girl the courage to follow your lead.

About the Author

Caroline Cioffi is a junior at New Canaan High School. In her free time, she likes to run cross country and track, bake, and hang out with friends. She is involved as a LiveGirl mentor and summer camp counselor.