Serelle Carr is from the Boston area in Massachusetts. She is currently studying at Colgate University, pursuing a major in peace and conflict studies and a minor in french. Serelle is passionate about advocacy, justice, and the international sector. She is studying the disproportionate effects of war and conflict that negatively impact women and the systematic oppression of women within all levels of society, including expectations on women to fit a certain role in society and forced child marriage.These global issues are not discussed significantly, and many women feel shame and embarrassment over these experiences. She is proud to study in a field that allows her to understand these silent crimes better and enact change for this systematic violence and oppression.
As an intern at the World YWCA, She works with the Global Engagement and Impact team, which has allowed her to help share the stories of women who have been brave enough to talk about their experiences and inspire people around the world.
She is currently writing a research paper focusing on the generational trauma of gender-based violence and oppression. She will conduct most of her research from the personal stories of women who have experienced this oppression and by building on the previous research on generational trauma and gender-based violence. Amplifying the voices of women, young women, and girls who have experienced oppression is an important step in combating dangerous norms and practices that are harmful to women. She is excited to continue this work and develop her understanding of the pursuit of peace and justice globally.
Read her interview!
As a young woman, what drives you? What is it that you are passionate about?
I am passionate about helping to create a baseline of equality for women around the world. Gender inequality manifests differently for women depending on education, location, and social class (among other factors). Although the majority of women face some type of gender-inequality or gender bias in their lifetime, women should not have to be born in a “lucky” situation to receive an equal education, sexual health and reproductive rights, and a voice in their community. I am driven by results and I have seen the value of education and norms of equality in the lives of women that allow them to thrive. Progress is possible and tangible. Gender equality is currently a privilege, however, I am driven towards making gender equality an expectation, a norm and a non-negotiable so that women can have autonomy over their bodies and life path.
What made you realize you were a feminist?
I have always held feminist values and understood women’s rights as a movement that has grown and improved throughout history. It was not until I learned more about the disparity of the level of women’s rights around the world that I realized just how much more work there is to be done. This education has put a name to concepts and values that have always been a part of me and what ultimately helped me to understand myself as a feminist. This experience of learning itself has contributed to my idea of feminism because it is a concept that is difficult to recognize if it is not taught and modeled. Many women who experience gender-based violence and discrimination might not even understand that equality and respect of rights are possible for them and this issue can be solved by changing societal norms and improving educational systems. It is the impact of these changes that inspire me to be a feminist.
Do you have a role model? If yes, can you share more on why this person inspires you?
My biggest role model is my mom, who is my biggest cheerleader, the person I look up to most, and the one I always go to for advice. I feel lucky to have grown up with an example of such a strong woman and with a mom who taught me that being ambitious and courageous, as well as caring and thoughtful go hand in hand in growing up as a young woman. I have seen my mom advocate for herself and excel in her career and in life in an elegant and dignified way, which is something I have always looked up to. I have learned a lot from my mom, but I am also grateful that she has encouraged me to experience life independently and learn from my own experiences. She inspires me to achieve my goals ambitiously, prioritize learning in life, and advocate for myself.
What is the one thing you want to change in the world around for women?
Although women have made progress throughout history in terms of rights and ending gender-based discrimination, there are still significant changes and improvements to be made in the lives of women. I would like to see women play a larger role in decision-making processes, especially in decisions directly related to gender equality and women’s rights. When women advocate for themselves and enact change, these changes are made based on personal experience and with the best interests of women in mind. Women bring a unique perspective on women’s issues, and in order to create change that is educated, fully informed, and rooted in practical reality, women must have the opportunity to apply the change they want to see for themselves. The path to ending gender-based violence, providing women with basic human rights, and removing implicit bias in leadership begins with women making decisions. From there, so many more women’s rights issues can be approached and solved.
Can you share with us your favorite movie, podcast or YouTube channel you follow that you would suggest to other young women?
I would recommend the movie Bombshell to all young women. This movie is based on the true story of the accounts of women at Fox News who exposed CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. It is a story of women who are silenced by the people around them and the workplace culture at Fox News, but bravely continue sharing their story. As a movie it balances entertainment with the social message well and demonstrates a real example of how dangerous norms and unfair power dynamics can negatively affect women.