On October 31, Alice Paul Tapper, a 10-year-old fifth grader and girl scout who lives in Washington, D.C., wrote a New York Times
op-ed entitled “I’m 10. And I Want Girls to Raise Their Hands
.” In the piece, she described a school field trip when all the boys in her class stood in the front and raised their hands, while all the girls stood in the back and were quiet. Troubled by this discrepancy, she worked with her Girl Scout troop to create the “Raise Your Hand” patch to encourage girls to step up and become leaders by raising their hands.
We asked Dana Hall fifth graders to read Tapper’s column. With the help of their teacher, Tamara Nikuradse, they then wrote about what they thought about girls raising their hands, both in co-ed and single-sex educational settings. The following is a selection of their responses.
Girls do not raise their hands in a co-ed setting because….
“They think that if they get an answer incorrect that the boys might make fun of them and they would feel embarrassed.” – Noelle ’25
“They think they have to be perfect. Girls in co-ed schools may feel like it’s not okay for them to make mistakes and that it is okay for boys to do so.” – Natalie ’25
“I think girls don't raise their hands in a co-educational setting because they’re afraid that they will embarrass themselves. I have been in that situation. I thought I was going to embarrass myself in front of the boys and they would laugh at me.” – Mae ’25
How do you feel about raising your hand at Dana Hall?
"At Dana, we aren’t embarrassed to raise our hands because we’re in an all-girls environment and there are no boys stealing all the attention." –Eva ’25
"I feel more safe to get the answer wrong, and I know it’s not the end of the world if I mess up." – Charlie ’25
"I feel more comfortable here because everyone in my class is my friend and they are all nice. I feel way more comfortable than when I was at my old school because people would bully you or say mean things if you got the answer wrong. At Dana Hall I know I can take a risk." – Siena ’25
"I think it is very easy to raise your hand at Dana Hall because this is your safe space –you can say your opinion." – Zoe ’25
"At Dana Hall I feel confident and reassured when I raise my hand. If I am wrong, I’ll learn something from it, it will be explained to me, and I will understand more clearly." – Gray ’25
"Sometimes at co-ed schools, if someone gets something wrong then the boys may make fun of you for a bit. But here at Dana I know nobody will make fun of me.” – Mia ’25
Why is it important for girls to raise their hands, even in a co-ed setting?
"Girls need to learn how to be confident and use our voices even if we feel uncomfortable. Also, we have to try, because if you don’t try you will never know if you were right or wrong." – Winn ’25
"It's important for girls to raise their hands even in a co-educational setting because it shows confidence. Confidence helps girls be more social." – Perri ’25
"Girls’ voices need to be heard. If girls want to be equal, they need to raise their hands and put in their opinion." – Ella ’25
"It is important for girls to raise their hands because we need our voices to be heard about topics that are important to us." – Ainsley ’25
At this crucial age of growth and intellectual development, Dana Hall provides the safe space necessary for girls to acquire confidence and skills so they can later thrive in all adult settings.