Chi Na Moua
Chi Na Moua is the oldest and first child in her family to attend college. She is a Biology major with a Chemistry minor at St. Catherine University. Moua is an active member SHEPAB, the Hmong women empowerment organization on campus. She plans to pursue optometry, not only to diversify the field but provide assistance to and educate the people in her community.
“I think it has a different meaning to me compared to the generations before me, because we are in such a politically active time right now. But to be a Hmong american woman means that I can.. I don’t have to conform to the traditional roles that maybe my mom or grandma would have back in Laos or thailand. I can be westernized but I can still hold to my roots as a hmong person. And I think the really big thing is that I dont have to conform to the standards or exectations of a Hmong woman. Traditionally women were expected to take care of the kids and cook for the family and be that emotional, the support system for everyone. The hardworker that does everything for everyone, they can’t complain, they can’t express the way they feel, I feel like those are some expectations of a woman.”
“This is what I hear but not being able to go to college far away, I think has been an obstacle for some Hmong women. For me I just wanted to live on campus even though my school is 15-20 mins away from my house on the east side. I wanted to live on campus and experience that sort of dorm life and I wasn’t able to do that.. I don’t think it was because my parents suspected that I would go out or do “bad things”. It was more of like saving money. But I know that some women experience that.
“SHEPAB voices of Hmong women was founded I think 5 years ago. It is a pretty new and recent club. The purpose of the club is to provide a space for Hmong students on campus to gather and have discussions about current Hmong related topics, whether locally or globally. That is the mission of SHEPAB. My role in it is the PR officier. I was in charge of pubiclity, advertisements and reaching out to the community… We did months focused on identity, spirituatlity, and religions things lke that. Just to have a space to gather and have discussions about that.”
“I Love being on an all women-campus. I never thought that I would like it so much. When I go to a co-ed campus it feels odd, like I don’t like it. I really like this all women campus. I think that it’s great because I am able to discuss about things that are related to women in a way that I don’t think I would talk about it in an environment with males around… You can talk about things, topics that are sensitive to you counter part, and I think this is an environment where you can develop and think about these ideas.”
“It would be ideal to have a classroom full of people who are willing to help each other. Wherever you go there are going to be people who are going to be really smart and teacher’s pet. I feel like for me when I’m in an environments without those type of people (people who are willing to help), it makes me more confident in myself. And just knowing that everyone is there to help each other, that is important too.”