by Courtney Day
The leadership qualities demonstrated by sophomore Isabella Gelfand in her Girls Learn International involvement have made her this year’s recipient of the Marc Welsey Hardy Human Rights Award.
This award was created in honor of a former WHS student who was a human rights activist. Marc Hardy passed away in a car accident in 1990, and every year, his family gives a student an award for outstanding commitment to human rights. According to the School and Community Relations Office press release, Gelfand earned this year’s award through hard work and dedication.
When asked why she is so passionate about women's rights, Gelfand said: “I feel that there are so many girl-related issues that go unnoticed and establishing a more equal playing field can improve these issues in the world. It’s been proven that there is a positive ripple effect in the economy when women and girls are empowered,” according to a press release from the School and Community Relations Office.
Said Gelfand, “I am an activist because I feel that gender issues are often ignored because they are so embedded in the way our society is structured. Women are targeted in so many ways, whether it’d be the pressure to look a certain way or violence against women.”
Additionally, Gelfand is a regular speaker at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She was one of ten delegates chosen to be in the UNCSW by Working Group on Girls, which is a group of numerous organizations that support the rights of girls worldwide. Prior to this, Gelfand was also picked as one of the 20 delegates by GLI to participate in the UNCSW according to the press release.
According to Gelfand, she is currently in an all girls theater program in which she wrote a play about gender stereotypes. Likewise, Gelfand served as a panelist with the President of the Feminist Majority Foundation Ms. Eleanor Smeal for the tenth anniversary of GLI.