Hillsborough Middle School club raises gender quality awareness

Members of Hillsborough Middle School's Boro Gender Equality Club at a charity basketball game that the student organization held last month. Photo by Jack Diaz

The newly created Hillsborough Middle School student club, Boro Gender Equality, held a co-ed basketball game last month that served many purposes.

The game acted as a way to raise student awareness of gender equality in their suburban community as well as educate their peers to the discrimination and violence that women face in other parts of the world.

The 15 club members, recognizing the passion that the Hillsborough community has for the sport of basketball, invited both the Hillsborough Middle School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams to participate in a charity event that would highlight the country’s efforts toward addressing gender inequities.

The Boro Gender Equality club members created two teams with an equal mix of players by grade level as well as by gender. During the game, these mixed teams came to understand how to work together and rely on each individual’s unique skills set to advance the team as a whole while not assigning gender bias to a particular skill.

In addition to helping their peers understand and recognize gender inequities that still exist in  communities, the charity basketball game also raised money through the sale of baked goods and snacks. Over $260 was raised and donated to Heifer International, a charity working to end hunger and poverty around the world by providing livestock and training to struggling communities

New to the Hillsborough Middle School this year, the Boro Gender Equality Club was the passion project of Hillsborough Middle School eighth grade student Venya Bhardwaj. Bhardwaj was inspired to create the club and expand her peers’ understanding of this topic following a seventh-grade literacy class in which she read a short picture book published in the 1950s titled, “I am a Boy, You are a Girl.”

“I originally thought the book was modern and was horrified,” Bhardwaj said. “But when I learned of its true age, I realized how  messed up our world is and how much it’s still healing. We have to help it do so.”

It is the aim of the Boro Gender Equality club that the basketball game will become an annual event at Hillsborough Middle School. The founding members also hope to continue to add to their list of events as they aim to spread knowledge regarding the hunt for gender equality.