On March 30th, the Girl Up mural for Women’s month debuted in the Vanderite Commons.
According to their website, Girl up is “a movement to advance girls’ skills, rights, and opportunities to be leaders.” Their “leadership development programs have impacted 125,000 girls through 5,600 clubs in 130 countries and all 50 U.S. states.”
English teacher Jenifer Passler advises the Girl Up club at Arrowhead. The Girl Up club focuses on issues such as education, STEM, leadership, sports, and gender violence. More information for the Girl Up club at Arrowhead can be found here.
The mural depicts pioneers of women’s rights with a blank figure amongst them. The women in the painting include Malala Yousafzai, Simone Biles, Ruth Bater Ginsburg, Maya Angelou, and Angela Merkel.
According to Grace Erdman, an Arrowhead senior and designer of the mural, “the blank person on the end to represent any woman or any girl because every single girl contributes to feminism in their own way.“
Erdman says that aside from the cost of the paints used, the rest of the materials for the mural were provided for by the school.
The main idea of the mural was “Important women” says Erdman, with Girl Up being “a United Nations club so it is connected with a lot of humanitarian issues, so I immediately thought of women who have contributed to the good of all women.”
Along with being designed by Erdman, Candie Lin contributed to the design with Ava Ulatowski, an Arrowhead senior, supplying the resources to make the individual boards used for the mural.
After resources were found and designs were finalized, the Girl Up members, with the help of David Zhou, an Arrowhead senior, painted the mural.
Priyanka Balla, an Arrowhead senior and Girl Up member, says that while the mural was created for Women’s month, it serves a purpose not only to celebrate women’s history but by “pushing students to work for women’s equality in whichever way they see fit.”
Another Arrowhead senior, Presley Hansen, says, “I think it’s a great addition to the school and showcases what Girl Up is striving for.”
Erdman says she “want[s] male students to realize the importance of the mural and interpret it as not threatening them as men or diminishing their importance but instead lifting up women’s importance in our culture because a lot of the time they are undermined. I hope it brings some awareness to everyday sexism that happens in school, in the home, and in public that we just have gotten used to.”
With the mural up and completed, Girl Up will continue to work on empowering women; this can be seen through their listed objectives for the club via the Arrowhead website Girl Up page: “Holding fundraisers to support women in developing countries. Volunteering at different women’s shelters such as The Milwaukee’s Women Center, the Women’s Shelter in Waukesha, and The Joy House. Raising awareness by speaking about the issues covered below at middle schools and our own high school. Advocating to change harmful laws and to create policies that support girls’ rights or support additional funding for programs that benefit girls in our own community, nationally, and globally.”