Women in Agriculture

By Lara Castillo

This month’s influential figure in agriculture is Momee Pegu from India, who started RIGBO from a local tribe meaning, community volunteering for a cause. Pegu created a sustainable practice that converts 11,000 kg of water hyacinth into organic compost to address sustainability concerns. Pegu was able to observe the issues that this invasive plant was causing such, as water pollution, irrigation blockage for farming, oxygen reduction for aquatic species. She also started an initiative that fosters a safe and expressive place for young women in the village. In 2016, she collaborated with 32 other women in the community to empower and engage them in creating a shift in farming.

Pegu connected with these women by creating organic pesticides, sustainable activity, and organic farming that gives them the freedom to make decisions. The women in this committee turned the invasive plant of the community into an organic compost that helps. The income from this compost was distributed equally among the women, Pegu taking none herself. Interestingly according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women make 82% of what men earn, and nothing has changed. Pegu is a figure empowering women in her community striving for equality. Overall, these women have changed the perception of farming.

The message of this initiative is to spread awareness of sustainable farming. In this instance, women experienced engaging with other women in a safe space while practicing agriculture sustainably. The community also produced a positive response which created employment for villagers and creating a better livelihood for the future. Momee Pegu was able to produce something out of nothing. One thing to think about is our future generation of women having the equality that Momee displays and changes we can make ourselves to make that possible.

Learn more here: https://www.thebetterindia.com/250121/momee-pegu-organic-farmer-majuli-assam-brahmaputra-river-rigbo-ngo-water-hyacinth-organic-compost-women-empowerment-him16/ 

The Queen’s Gambit’s Take on Feminism

By Lara Castillo

The Queen’s Gambit is an excellent show to binge on if you are at home. The show itself addresses the standard of idealism for women’s embodiment in our society. The character challenges this social construct of femininity by disregarding worldly claims through her actions and experimental outfits. I first started watching this show because of the description of a talented female lead in the dominated game of chess. The female lead showed strong characteristics such as being composed, confident, and is firm with her intentions and decisions. She does not waver with her actions, just like her chess piece moves.

The plot progressed on the journey of failures and success from the character’s experience which, challenged the character’s purpose. However, the main protagonist also deals with her demons. The series also does a great job of challenging the construct of women not able what they enjoy because of set biases on gender. In one particular scene, after a big win, she was asked the question, what does it feel like to be a girl among all those men?”. She replied: “I don’t mind it.” At this moment, the independence of the character has shown again.

The Queen’s Gambit is an elegant execution of feminist themes. It is subtle yet apparent in the storyline. The heroine seems indifferent, but in the end, that was her charm. She was playing man’s game in a man’s world at the time. Let me know if you decide to watch it!

Introducing Lara Castillo

Photo of intern Lara CastilloHello Everyone! My name is Lara Castillo. I am in the Health Sciences Field and currently approaching my last semester at UMKC. I have two dogs named Peanut and Rocky. We enjoy going to dog parks, on warmer days, of course. And I love traveling and exploring the outdoors with my husband. My secret hobby is video games in my spare time.

The career path I want to go into is social work. I plan to further my education and explore going into law. I chose UMKC to attend because of its diverse and welcoming student population. I believe that experiences and our surroundings are an integral part of growth and, being at this institution has allowed me to explore an environment that lets students thrive.

I am an intern this Spring 2021 at the UMKC Women’s Center. The mission statement of this entity uplifts women everywhere which, is one of my goals. I believe that the same opportunities and resources should be available for women to show that we value our mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, and friends. This semester, I hope to gain more wisdom with women’s issues to better advocate for women.