I stood next to Representative Nancy Pelosi during my second week of interning at the Feminist Majority Foundation. I was so excited at the opportunity and I remember tweeting that this was the highlight of my entire internship. I was wrong, it was too early to make such a committed statement and my experiences were only going to get better after that.
Fast forward ten weeks later, I am reflecting on my time at FMF and I am having a difficult time deciding on a major highlight of my internship. Settling on one would be a disservice to the countless and meaningful opportunities I experienced whether, I was sitting in our fishbowl office or ‘in the field’ across DC.
Everyone tells you internships are a way of gaining real experience in a field you are interested in. While this is very true, I think we undermine the importance of this real experience. As a Political Science major, I have taken courses on various social and political policy issues, such as Title IX in educational institutions. Working with Dr. Sue Klein, the Education Equity Director, opened my eyes to real challenges and problems associated with the law (Title IX), such as the lack of qualified and equipped Title IX coordinators in the largest school districts in various states. However, attending events centered on the issue gave me hope that dialogue between lawmakers and the public is happening and this, will eventually bring real solutions to problems. As a result of the work I did with Dr Klein I was able to co-author a report about the State and District Title IX Coordinators.
Besides working in the Education Equity Program, I enjoyed doing research for our abortion/reproductive access program. My first assignment, which included writing an article on ending the Hyde Amendment, introduced me to the very serious battle that women are fighting. I had the opportunity to rally for Planned Parenthood, with FMF, and it’s unfortunate that the events had to happen; Congress attempt to defund the organization and the violent attacks in Colorado. Throughout my internship, we attended a protest at the Capitol during Cecile Richards’ testimony and a vigil outside the Supreme Court to remember the victims who have died at the hands of individuals who are against abortion. While there are individuals that would like to take the women’s movement backwards, women’s organizations are definitely working against this as evidenced by a round table discussion I attended at the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, where various health institutions and women’s organizations discussed their work to improve and advance the policies and research around medication abortion.
The Women Money Power Summit was one of the best events organized by FMF that I attended. One of the skills I can definitely add to my resume is event planning which I gained during preparation of the Summit. As an intern I got an insight of the kind of team-work that goes into planning a successful event. Not only did I enjoy the preparation but the event itself had so many gems of knowledge. Over the past months, students in educational institutions from South Africa to Missouri have been demanding accountability from governments and school institutions so it did not come as a surprise when the majority of the panelists on the two panels, including Ellie, acknowledged the work and resilience of the youth. I am especially proud to be a part of the youth of this generation who are aware of the social injustice in the world but are determined to change it for the better.
I have always admired environments were like minded people who have the agenda of making the world a better and more equal space for everyone convene. This is what it was like interning for FMF. I have learned so much from all the diverse individuals in the office and I know that the world is a little better because of the work they do. I have successfully completed my internship knowing that working in the feminist movement and enhancing the status of women in the world is definitely what I want to do. I will certainly miss the people I worked with not forgetting the free WINE and food at the social events we attended together after work!