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|Queen’s Game: Third All Girls’ Chess Camp|
|December 26, 2013|
My name is Anjana Murali and I am a senior at Shorewood High School, WI. This past week, I conducted my third all girls’ chess camp for 50 inner city girls in Milwaukee. I also wrote on CLO about the 2012 edition of this camp.
The main issue I am passionate about as a youth leader in my community is gender disparity that exists both in the game of chess and in life. The root cause of gender disparity is the lack of opportunity for women to take a firm stance in a male dominated world.
Last month, I was fortunate to hear Anna Maria Chavez, the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, speak about the shift in leadership that needs to take place in our country. According to Chavez, one important way to invest in the future of the United States is to invest in a single girl. She pointed out that when we do so, we not only invest in her, but also in her family and her community—the theory behind the movement popularly known as the “girl effect.”
As a result, I decided to address this issue with a grassroots movement. By educating young girls about the discrimination the female population faces in this world, I plan to sow the seeds of change early in young minds. At my chess camp, I told all of the girls about the adversity the female population faces in real life.
I shared my experience of becoming a female chess champion after being beaten by a boy who verbally insulted me in front of his peers by saying that he would be finished with our game in ten minutes as I was only a girl. I told all of the participants how I got motivated to learn chess so that I could beat the boys in chess tournaments. I also shared with them that by learning chess I became a leader, a top student, and a female chess champion in my state. Now, the boys at the chess tournaments look at me with a different opinion. By stating various examples of the gender double standard, I hoped to prompt the girls into taking action.
When I shared those stories with the participants and their parents, each and every one of them got motivated to do something to stop the adversity the female population faces in real life. To share the passion of changing the world, every girl who attended my camp wrote a chess slogan and participated in a chess video (see above.)
After prompting 50 girls to change the world, I knew I had to have a way for these girls to take a stance and advocate for women and girls. As a result, I taught them how the double standard exists in chess and how those girls who do play chess are judged harshly.
I would like to sincerely thank all the supporters, mentors, and volunteers for helping me with my effort to encourage more female participation in the game of chess.
See a full gallery of photos from the event here.