Ms President US program initiative kicks off its fourth year

Ms President US kicked off this year’s programming Oct. 2 with a virtually held session, allowing it to continue the program in a COVID-19-conscious manner. It is Ms President US’s fourth year, an exciting continuation of the program designed to inspire young girls to reach for equal representation through all levels of government, beginning at the elementary school level. Girls came from all over Connecticut, and even a few from Kentucky and Arizona. The participants arrived via Zoom and came together to talk about Ms President US’s mission and learn background history on women and the suffrage movement.

Guest speaker Kim Mellin, co-director of the Wilton Historical Society, began with a brief presentation on the suffrage movement and women’s activism throughout the years, speaking to key historical events and figures such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul - familiar names to many Ms President US program members. Ms. Mellin’s presentation was followed by Avni Gupta, a Ms President US high school mentor who also spoke about the suffrage movement, emphasizing the lesser known women who were crucial to the goal of allowing women to vote.

Following the presentations, participants went into breakout rooms, each group with a Ms President US high school mentor facilitating and playing an introduction game. The mentors (some of whom are former Ms President US participants) reinforced the suffrage lessons by holding an interactive experience through polls with unfair determinants for who was allowed to vote. For example, poll outcomes were determined by characteristics such as hair length, number of pets at home, etc. so that only some girls were able to vote. The participants gained a greater understanding of what it was like before the suffrage movement when women were not allowed to vote, simply because of their gender.

The first session of this school year continued with additional information about women in government, current news, and inspiration for going forward with the determination of the suffrage leaders in mind. By the end of the ninety minutes, the participants unanimously concluded that more women should participate in government roles, and acknowledged that this desire for change began long ago, and there is still much work to be done.

Ms President US will have many more meetings throughout the year, expanding young girls’ knowledge about the government and inspiring them to pursue their future leadership goals. Ms President US, Inc. is dedicated to motivating and preparing girls to aim for the highest civic leadership positions. For questions or more information, contactinfo@mspresidentus.org.