Women Empowerment


There are over a hundred student-led clubs at Allen High School, housing a unique array of organizations for all students. Many clubs, such as student council, National Honor Society, archery and animation are led by females around campus who highlight the strength of women at Allen High School.  

 “Allen is so inclusive and diverse,” senior Giana Abraham, the AHS student body president, said.

March, being Women’s History Month, has prompted even more chatter about breaking the barriers that separate men and women. Countless female leaders around the school say they recognize gender gaps in certain environments, but they never view that divide as a setback. 

“My first computer science class had two girls, including me, and it was a full class,” senior Nidhi Pabbathi, who brought a division of Girls Who Code to AHS, said. “Now it’s a full class with 20-25 students. But [there are] four girls, so it’s slightly better, but there’s a big gap.” 

The computer science department is a part of an industry that experiences a lot of gender division. Nonetheless, women continue to pursue their involvement and passion in it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2019, women had become 27 percent of the workers in STEM fields, with 46 percent being biological scientists and 15.5 percent being engineers and architects.

After bringing Girls Who Code to AHS and ensuring that women felt comfortable joining the computer science program, Pabbathi said it was the first time she had seen an entire row of computers filled with women. Their teacher was so proud that he stopped the class solely to take a picture of this accomplishment, Pabbathi said.   

“[As] a woman in computer science, there’s a lot of male presence and pressure. It’s easy to feel squished out or insignificant in those classes,” Pabbathi said. “Having a close community of girls to rely on and have a similar mindset [with] is really nice. Having that community helped me stay in computer science.” 

Along with STEM, other traditionally male-dominated organizations such as law enforcement, archery, and student council are also led by female students at AHS. 

Senior Shelby Parker said that because she was able to become a part of, and lead, her law enforcement post, she now plans on pursuing her interest by going into the Air Force to serve in the Security Forces.

“Because of my leadership position, I have the opportunity to show that women can be successful in [law enforcement],” Parker said. 

Female students say that being able to step up into leadership positions, as women, in fields that carry gender stereotypes have allowed them to understand more about themselves. They have also become confident in their capabilities as efficient communicators, experiencing interactions that will further enhance their futures, women of AHS say. 

“After becoming captain, I was more exposed to talking, leading, and trying to understand a variety of different types of people,” archery team captain Mythili Eranki said. “I think that’s something that will help in the future as well because people are different. You have to know how to be able to talk to and interact with several different people.” 

Many women leaders say that they have faced plenty of challenges as a leader but never because they are female. These women in charge have said they face conflict fiercely, never doubting their abilities as a leader.  

“Obviously there’s going to be setbacks when working with a big group of people because you’re always gonna have interpersonal conflict and people that don’t get along,” Abraham said. 

Abraham says that leading the AHS Student Council is no easy task, for it requires unique maturity to be able to listen to both sides of an argument and calmly obtain a solution. But as Student Body President, Abraham said that AHS has “a lot of people that want to make a difference,” and that is why so many students are involved. 

Even female teachers at Allen are involved with running many aspects of the school. Olivia Tanksley, the head of the English department, volunteers her time outside of the classroom to sponsor Allen’s division of NHS, one of the largest organizations at the high school. Tanksley says it has been hard balancing such a busy schedule. Because “women can do anything”, she believes that leads to females having a tendency to overcommit to tasks, which she says has enhanced her need to balance all her responsibilities skillfully.  

Rashmi Ravindran, a member of Allen’s Distributive Education Clubs of America branch, says that females constantly work to empower one another within DECA, which has proven to be a vital support system for them. 

“When there are other women around me, I feel like I can truly speak my mind, like if someone interrupts me they’ll back me up,” Ravindran said. “I feel backed up when my crew is with me, and I honestly like to hype other women up when I’m in conversation.” 

Artistic programs at AHS- such as theater, choir and animation- are also led by female students. Three of the four editors of the AHS animation program are female, which is an unusual quality of the editorial board. Kierstyn Hoffman, Ozzy Youngblood and Anya Almand, three of the editors, said they have committed a lot of time to the program, learning many lessons along the way. Working together to overcome criticism and empower their classmates has prepared both men and women of the program to dive into the animation industry, the editors say. 

“We respect each other as a family,” leader of the Allen division of Fellowship of Christian Athletes Anna Breaux said. 

Breaux dove into her position with FCA after last school year, and has enjoyed what she describes as a “fellowship of people” where students encourage each other to be better, speak and share opinions respectfully. Originally hesitant to take on a leadership position, Breaux now feels empowered to “step up” whenever she can, helping out her fellow leaders with an array of tasks ranging from running the FCA Instagram account to presenting lessons during meetings. Nervous about potential conflict related around religiously based clubs, Breaux makes sure FCA remains an empowering club for everyone to share their beliefs.      

In light of Women’s History Month, the public’s attention has refocused on breaking gender barriers to uplift and empower women. Although the American Women’s Rights movement has made several notable strides to success, prejudice against women still exists. According to Pew Research, 42 percent of women in the United States face workplace discrimination because of their gender. Strikingly, events in the past two years – such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic – have allowed women to become more confident with speaking their beliefs and leading their communities. Deloitte Insights states that in the United States, female employment has gone up by 18.4 percent since April 2020. Female students at AHS hope to contribute to this growing movement by joining clubs, moving up the ranks to lead them and empowering other girls to know they are capable of whatever career they choose, regardless of their gender.

“I’d love to see younger girls say ‘I wanna be a physicist when I’m older’ or ‘I want to be a math major when I’m older,’” Abraham said.