“Cast off the Shackles of Yesterday:” SWSG Simmons College Chapter’s “Women in Politics” Field Trip

1920. That was the year that the 19th Amendment was passed and gave women the right to vote and let their voices be heard.  Ninety-two years later, Alice Paul’s efforts have not gone in vain. With the importance of the 2012 election in mind, the SWSG chapter at Simmons College hosted a “Women in Politics” field trip on their campus on November 10, 2012.

The girls that they mentor come from several sites throughout Boston, which include: Blue Hill Ave. Boys & Girls Club, Cathedral Grammar School, Dever-McCormack Elementary School, OLPH Mission Grammar School, Samuel W. Mason Elementary School, Mission Hill School, Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy’s Columbia and Mattapan Campuses, and William M. Trotter Elementary School. The girls participated in three workshops where they learned about women leaders, teaching them the importance of using their voice, leadership, creativity, and, of course, their right to vote. Simmons mentors and SWSG staff members played the women in each of the workshops.

First Lady “Michelle Obama” taught the girls to use their voice and ideas to create a campaign around an issue that is important to them. Girls split into groups to create their own campaigns. Several groups presented no-tolerance campaigns against bullying, while others focused on health and nutrition. At the end of this campaign, each of the girls received a SWSG “Rock the Vote” button.

In the second workshop, “Condoleezza Rice,” Former Secretary of State, taught girls about the importance of utilizing their leadership skills and the role of being an ambassador for the United States. In the same workshop, they were able to be ambassadors of their own countries and create a governance of their own. After the planning and creating, the girls presented their countries to the entire group.

In the third workshop, the girls went back in time and learned about Alice Paul and the Women’s Suffrage March, along with the First Lady and Secretary of State “Hillary Clinton.” Both Alice and Hillary shared with the girls their many efforts to ensure that women’s voices are heard. After their presentation, the girls were able to ask each of the women questions about their lives. One girl asked, “What inspires them to do the work they do?” At the end of this workshop, each girl received a voter registration form. Mentors explained the importance of voting and asked girls to share the form with another woman for the next election or to save and use it when they are of age.

SWSG Simmons mentors play female politicians from present and past.

After participating in the workshops and enjoying lunch, the girls able to participate in the Simmons College SWSG Chapter Election! Each girl received a ballot that asked “Which woman do you think should be the next head of the SWSG Simmons College Chapter?” The choices were based on the women they learned about in the workshops. The girls may not be of age to vote in the national election, but their voices were definitely heard during their SWSG field trip.  With enthusiasm and focus, the girls learned where women have come and how far more we need to go.


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