Feminism. That’s according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. It’s rather apt that this is the most searched-for word of the year, given all the issues women have faced this year, from the election of Trump, to Wonder Woman, to my colleagues’ attitude about International Women’s Day, to more recent announcements such as the new Doctor in Doctor Who and my students’ breaking glass ceilings.
Indeed, many of my former students are applying to study abroad (mostly in the US), and this week they have had their ‘early decision’ announcements. I don’t really understand the US system, but from what I can work out, they can apply to several universities and their favourite they can get an early decision on, meaning that if they are accepted by them, that is that, and if not, then they can have an option at the other universities they have applied for.
My three ceiling-breaking students have all applied to various schools for next year, including Harvard, New York University, Brown University and a host of others. Two of them had deferments on their early decision (which means they will find out in March, along with their other choices, and along with most other students, whether they have been successful). The other was rejected from NYU, but she is not so disappointed in it, as she is also very excited about her other choices. Unfortunately, even now in 2017, they face enormous challenges, simply because they are female. But, equally, I know that wherever they go, they will do exceptional things, and that, I think, is what’s so great.
You know, in the media, there are lots of negative stories about right now; Brexit, Trump, the state of the environment. And yet in all that darkness, there are little rays of light, like these students, or the Muslim foster parents, who The Observer profiled recently, and who, despite their religious views, still celebrated Christmas for the kids they were fostering. So it’s really great to see these students – and others – pushed boundaries and breaking ceilings. As the Chinese saying goes, 加油! (jiāyóu – literally it means ‘add oil’ but it is often used to mean ‘come on’, or variations of this).