By Flora Gonska:
Young people today face many harsh realities; young women and girls get an extra helping as they attempt to navigate many spaces that are still "male dominated." Finding community in the midst of these realities and connecting to others makes all the difference. SHEDIDTHAT! is a blog that inspires and empowers young women and girls through storytelling. We talk to Haerin So, the blog's founder, in today's interview!
FG: Tell us all about you and your organization!
Hi! My name is Haerin So and I am the founder of SHEDIDTHAT! I am a rising senior in Northern Virginia, and I’m really involved with advocacy in my school and our county’s student government, and I’m also an officer for my school’s DECA, Model United Nations, and Debate teams!
Here’s my story:
Often, when we hear the question "What do you want to do when you grow up?" it's become more alarming and scary to think about as we grow older and begin to realize the proximity of our futures ahead. Growing up as a girl, I never really felt encouraged to explore career options and that my dreams were always seen as just dreams instead of passions that could become a reality. Personally, I've always been very ambitious and began to look into my interests and passions but found that it's more personal and rewarding to hear about
women who have overcome so much in the workplace and have those stories further fuel my passion. I started SHEDIDTHAT! in 2018 to empower girls of the future through stories of professional career women today: to empower girls the same way I felt empowered listening to stories of amazing, world-changing career women.
SHEDIDTHAT! is a social project to empower girls and women of the future by showcasing advice and stories of professional, career women today. At SHEDIDTHAT!, I reach out to and
interview women from all backgrounds and career fields and publish their stories to inspire and empower the role of women in the workplace for future generations.
FG: Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
Although SHEDIDTHAT! is not an active advocate group, it is so important to voice your opinions and fight for what you believe in and stand for. Your voice can truly move mountains—even at the local and grassroots level—and it not only exposes you to a whole new field of opportunity but lets others know who you are. Especially in activism and advocacy, when voices come together for a common goal, change really begins to happen.
FG: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
I am so optimistic! It has been so heartwarming and beautiful seeing the rise of amazing movements in the past couple of years. I am optimistic that our generation, Generation Z, will be the ones to spark and ignite change for good all over the world.
FG: What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
There are so many: human rights violations internationally, climate change, poverty, wealth gaps, institutionalized racism, corrupted politics, to name a few. If there is no change NOW, these issues can escalate and create a domino effect with other problems.
FG: What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
As a blog focused on empowering girls and women of the future, SHEDIDTHAT! is an outlet for girls to hear more about what they can do in the future and the limitless opportunities they can have. The goal is for women to acknowledge their potential and voice and feel empowered to take steps to achieve their passions!
Did you know: Gender inequality is a major cause and effect of hunger and poverty: it is estimated that 60 percent of chronically hungry people are women and girls. (Source: WFP Gender Policy and Strategy)
FG: Will you be voting in the next election?
Unfortunately, I won’t be of age by the next election, but I’ve been strongly encouraging all of my eligible friends and peers to vote!
FG: Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects, and endeavors.
With SDT!, I am planning on opening a sister blog to share stories of empowerment of women from all backgrounds and ages, creating a common ground to speak about experiences and opportunities. I hope to also host virtual conferences and webinar series in the future, so stay tuned!
Aside from SDT!, I am a Director of Strategic Planning and Public Outreach at the Greater Good Initiative, a youth-led think tank using the innovation of young people to devise and advocate for sustainable policy solutions. We have been writing rounds of policy papers that are then advocated by our team to local, state, and federal legislators. In my position, I’ll be leading and launching many new media and advocacy campaigns in the future, so it’s definitely exciting to begin planning and working on!
FG: Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
A Cleveland, OH, native, Flora Gonska is a non-binary trans woman from a big family. She's a writer, video producer/editor, and artist. An avid supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and equality movement, she has lived in Los Angeles for three years, and she's involved in and enjoys writing on politics, the LGBTQ+ community, and life in the U.S.