Ten years ago — let’s all consider, for a moment, the fact that 2007 was 10 years ago — I was picked up, one day, from fourth grade by my grandmother.
She made “buttered rice” for dinner, as if that’s a real meal that a 9-year-old child would want to eat. We watched both Wheel of Fortune AND Jeopardy, an unprecedented luxury for my fourth grade self.
Right after Jeopardy finished, the house phone rang. My grandmother, my two brothers and I froze. We answered and listened, with bated breath. It was a girl! I shrieked. I think I did a victory lap around my house. One of my brothers cried. The female-male ratio in my household was equal, and all was right in the world.
In a week, my sister will turn 10. On International Women’s Day, I can’t help but think about the world she inhabits, and the one she will, someday, inherit. Ten years is a big age gap. I watched my sister grow up and, in doing so, relived my own childhood.
My sister is so smart, so good at the subjects that little girls are assumed to fail. I watch her multiply and divide gleefully — will she be one of four girls in a 25-person math class, like I was? Will she, too, feel so uncomfortable, so alone, in the classroom that she will gradually decry math as a foreign language, unavailable to her as a suitable pursuit?