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I never considered myself a raging feminist, but maybe I am compared to some women.

My home country, the United States of America, is know for freedom and democracy, but are we really as “free” as we say we are? We only just elected our first black president, and that itself was a big deal.

Yesterday morning, well-dressed security guards with navy blue berets and clear spiraly earpieces invaded our campus. None of them smiled, but simply blocked half the passageways around the school, making one girl angry that she couldn’t get to her class downstairs because it was fermée. (The sight itself was funny. This small curly headed girl arguing with a six foot official security guard who kept his cool.)

My friend Anna said that the Presidents of India and Switzerland were going to meet here, at the University, to discuss…well, honestly, what Switzerland and India have in common, I really don’t know.

My first though was, “Oh that’s cool,” but really my focus and energy was turned to French grammar exercises.

The Anna said, “What’s interesting is that they are both women.”

“What really??” My interest spiked about twelve times more. French grammar seemed mundane–I want to see the Presidents! They are here on campus!

I spent most of my coffee break time from class trying to find out if they were going to make a speech or something. Apparently no–for all we know they met to have lunch and catch-up.

I wanted to see the women presidents. India and Switzerland have women presidents–how is that possible? In my whole lifetime as an American, a woman as President seemed impossible. Now the richest country in Europe and the country that is home to the degradation of the caste system, have female leaders.

The thought that two women were meeting to lead their countries gave me courage. I don’t know why, and the feeling is difficult to explain, but something about them being women, made me feel like I could be a strong as them one day.

Later, Anna spoke her thoughts about the Italian presidency. Obviously Berlusconi’s behavior is horrendous and everyone is upset, but what can Italy possibly do about it? Berlusconi controls the news programs, so no real news is reported anymore. Italy is one of the oldest civilizations of western society and they have a president who is shovenistic and degrading to women, while the leader of Switzerland helps bring her country up to being one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Is this right?

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