Junior uses Gold Award to teach gender equality

by Sam Greene, Staff Writer


This word is often overlooked by high schoolers. But not by one junior.

Gender equality is a highly contested topic today in the political and professional spheres. However, changes are being made by activists everywhere, and of all ages.

Junior Jenna Hendrickx is striving to make a change through Girl Scouts. Having been involved in Girl Scouts for 11 years, Jenna is now working to accomplish her Gold Award.

For her Gold Award, Jenna is creating a documentary by interviewing people of different age groups on their experiences and views on gender equality. Jenna then plans to distribute this documentary to people of all ages, as a way to educate others on the importance of women’s rights.

The Gold Award is the highest possible award a Girl Scout can receive after achieving two previous awards: the Bronze and Silver Awards. While it may seem easy, this is a hefty service project. Girls must create a project that aids a prevalent issue in their community, and work in this for a minimum of 80 hours.

“You have to have some kind of component that has an impact in the community that’s not your own,” Jenna said. This proves to be one of the most difficult obstacles for girls because many struggle to connect their project with the global community. However, people like Jenna are using technology as a way to spread the word and connect people.

Jenna says that the issue of women’s rights has always been a topic close to her. Having been raised in a liberal family, Jenna has grown up in an environment in which these issues were expressed freely, and she has also formed her own opinions throughout her experiences.

“I can’t help but wonder if I would feel the same way if I was raised in a different household,” she said.

The project came together when Jenna realized that she could combine two interests of hers: women’s rights and her love for movies.

Jenna is conducting interviews with both males and females. She asks them questions about their own personal experiences with gender equality or inequality, their views on how people should be treated, and other questions that capture the ideals of many different types of people. The interviewees are of all ages: elementary school, middle school and high school, college students, adults, and seniors. This helps Jenna capture how women’s rights affect a wide range of people.

As her mother, Jeanine Hendrickx said, one of the things that excites Jenna the most are the people and their responses. Everyone’s unique answers give Jenna a lot to work with, and even more to think about on a personal level.

Interestingly, this is Jenna’s first time creating a movie, and she has quickly realized the amount of time that goes into making a movie. “It’s really complicated to be the whole camera crew and the director,” said Jenna. However, her driving motivation has allowed her to be successful in her project so far.

One of the most important parts of her Gold Award was deciding who she wanted the target audience to be. As of now, she hopes to reach young girls and teens, as there are many obstacles being a girl growing up today.

“I think it’s important for girls to recognize their potential, and gain that confidence before they enter the world,” said Jenna.

However, she would also like to reach males in order to change their perspectives on women’s rights.

Her hope is that when people see this documentary, they will begin to think more about how they respect themselves and others, and widen the narrative when it comes to gender equality. This documentary is aimed to introduce new ideas to people, because people’s receptiveness can often be inhibited when they are influenced by peers with similar views to their own.

Jenna has been artistic from a young age and grew up in a family of creative people. Her house is filled with various forms of artwork, all meticulously placed so they create a beautiful and calming environment.

Jenna has been able to use her creativity to her advantage. “I think it’s been a helpful part in just envisioning how I want it to turn out,” said Jenna.

While working on her Gold Award, it has been crucial for her to think ahead and create a detailed plan regarding the stylistic elements she would like the include in the final project. Jenna is often helped by her family, and they attest to her motivation. “She probably will write way too much, she’ll film way too much, and then she’ll have a ton she’s going to have to edit,” said Jeanine with a small laugh.

Especially today, Jenna’s project is incredibly relevant to current events. In the recent months, many women have joined the #MeToo movement, speaking out about sexual misconduct and harassment. This has created a space to address the gender inequality that has been a stigma in the workplace.

And while the status of women’s rights may seem bleak today, it is important to remember how far we have come. From the women of Newsweek suing their bosses in 1970 for gender discrimination to the introduction of the federal law Title XI prohibiting gender discrimination for school activities, there has certainly been progress made within the last couple of decades. Although we have not achieved gender equality in many aspects, the push from passionate people like Jenna to create a change provides an optimistic view on the future.

“I would give some advice that someone else gave to me, which is that you should do something that makes you angry or makes you think,” Jenna said. “Make sure you actually care about (the project) because then if it succeeds and has an impact you’ll be way more proud of it and happy with the results.”


If you are interested in being interviewed for Jenna’s project, contact [email protected]

One of the most challenging parts of the project is the extensive editing Jenna must do.