Why Can't Women Check

Essay Prompt

At Barnard, academic inquiry starts with bold questions. What are some of the bold questions you have pondered that get you excited and why do they interest you? Tell us how you would explore these questions at Barnard.

Sample Essay

Why can’t women check? In ice hockey that is. Checking is a vital component of what makes hockey exciting to play and to watch. But, in women’s hockey, it is illegal to check. It makes no sense that there are different rules for men and women and it is clearly a leftover from the “bad old days.” Nonetheless, I love ice hockey too much to give it up, so I’ve played under these silly rules while at the same time mounting a bit of a one-woman crusade to change things. Note that I am prepared to believe that checking is dangerous for all athletes; and therefore should be banned, but that doesn’t mean the rules should be different for women and men. Before every game, I choose a representative of the NHL to bombard with emails from me and my teammates pleading for them to change the rules. So far, no change.

At Barnard, I want to equip myself to be an effective activist on this topic, so that I know how to challenge gender bias whenever I encounter it. I want to take advantage of all the things Barnard has to offer for an activist-in-formation: classes like this year’s Freshman Seminar “Performing Publics and Political Activism,” working with the Speaking Fellows,  and having an internship where I develop skills for making high impact social change. And, of course, I will be playing club ice hockey – but who knows, maybe I’ll try out for the men’s team? Why not? Why are there gender-based teams anyway?

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