Princeton University student Quinn Parker is proud to be an accomplished athlete — but she still has to face obstacles in terms of gender inequality.
In a post to the Princeton Athletics Instagram account, Parker opened up about what being a female athlete means to her.
"To me, women's empowerment means being unapologetic in your confidence & ability as a woman," she wrote. "I see this mentality on the @PrincetonAthletics women's track team — not only are all of these ladies incredible athletes, but they also find the time to be engineers, scientists, artists — everything!"
The photo in the post was part of a photoshoot that she and eight other Princeton track team members did "to embody this hardcore quality and show that we're not afraid to embrace our strength and intensity."
Parker wrote that as discouraging as it can be to worry about having a safe space as a woman, she refuses to let it hold her back.
"I started running track when I was a freshman in high school," she wrote. "That year, I was the only girl who signed up to compete. I was pretty intimidated — I was a tiny freshman girl on a team of all guys. But the coach & my teammates treated me with nothing but respect, and I fell in love with running."
However, she knows that isn't the case for everyone.
"As I got older, I realized that not everyone is so lucky — my high school teammates were nothing but respectful, but that often isn’t how the world at large is," she told Yahoo. "There have been a lot of times since that first year of high school where I’ve encountered pushback because of my gender, and the same can be said for women everywhere."
The photoshoot, she said, was a way for herself and her teammates to be represented and to inspire others.
"Presenting ourselves as role models and reinforcing that we refuse to accept any limits in either athletics or academics is where our influence lies," she told Yahoo. "We want to be able to encourage other girls to do the same."
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