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A Fourth Grader's Call to Fellow Girls: Raise Your Hand, Raise Your Voice

Alice Paul Tapper, a 10-year-old named after one of the leaders of the women's suffrage movement, is leading her own charge in women's rights history: encouraging girls' confidence and making their voices heard. 

Tapper, who told her story in a New York Times Opinion piece yesterday, noticed on a field trip that the boys stood in front and raised their hands, while the girls naturally stayed to the back and remained quiet. "It upset me," said Tapper. "I told my mom that I thought girls weren't raising their hands because they were afraid that the answer was going to be wrong ... and because the boys already had the teacher's attention, and they worried they might not be able to get it." 

For Tapper, that was simply unacceptable. She took the issue to her Girl Scout troop, where it resonated with the other members enough that they decided to go to the Greater Washington, D.C. chapter to present their idea: a Raise Your Hand patch that encourages girls to "have confidence, step up, and become leaders."

Their pitch was met with great enthusiasm, and the Raise Your Hand patch is now available nationally. 

"People say girls have to be 90 percent confident before we raise our hands, but boys just raise their hands. I tell girls that we should take the risk and try anyway, just like the boys do," wrote Tapper. "For women to be equal to men, we have to fight for it."

Photo credit: Al Drago for The New York Times


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