Well, as someone that won that award as an 8th grader, it had no impact on my view on equality, feminism, or academic achievement, or my ability whatsoever.
I was pretty stoked, if I recall correctly. I did not bear any ill will toward my male counterpart who, incidentally, was probably overall number one (no one mentioned it). I do not remember if I would have been number two overall or if another male would have been in 2nd, nor do I think I cared. I was just pleased and proud of my achievement. Leave me to enjoy my little plaque!
Funny story: 4 years later we graduated high school and he was 1st and I was 2nd overall (no gender consideration). My school did not explicitly name valedictorian/salutatorian, instead the top 4 students talked at graduation. At our 20th year reunion, Ben casually mentioned being 2nd in class rank. Oh, no, says I. Ben, you were first and I was second. Everyone knows this. Except, evidently not everyone did and we had an argument about this, each insisting that the other was valedictorian. Ben is a great guy, just wrong. I think I would have remembered this. Moreover I am sure my mom would mention it frequently.