Gender Equality Club seeks student awareness

A poster of the club's awareness campaign

courtesy of Dr. Anna Shultes

A poster of the club's awareness campaign

Emily Davidson, Editor-in-Chief

A recent study by YouGov Today showed that, based solely on prior knowledge of feminism, only 15 percent of males and 35 percent of females considered themselves feminists. However, once participants were told the current definition of feminism, (the belief in equal rights and opportunities of all people), these statistics changed to 51 percent and 69 percent, respectively. Battling these preconceived notions about feminism is one of the current projects the new Gender Equality Club is taking on.

The newly–formed social reform group was founded by sophomore Lena Dassonville, when she approached English teachers Dr. Anna Schultes and Rachel Moyer about being sponsors. Both Schultes and Moyer have backgrounds in Gender Studies, and both are optimistic about the new club.

“Feminism isn’t this crazy, radical idea,” Moyer said. “Feminism is the belief that everyone is equal. It’s an inclusive belief, everyone benefits from equality.”

The club meets on Mondays at 3 p.m. in Schultes’ room, A187, where members circle up to discuss topics such as gender disparities within the school and personal experiences. The club decided upon the name “Gender Equality Club,” however, it is also taking the time to consider those who don’t necessarily identify with a sole gender (gender fluid and transgender students).

“Everyone who believes in equality is a feminist, whether or not [he or she] knows it,” senior Sabrina Poulsen said. “The club helps open our eyes to new discussions on the topic.”

According to Moyer, male advocates make up one third to half of the students at every meeting. At the last meeting, the group discussed the concept of “meninists,” a term that was originally created to describe males who support the feminist cause, but has since morphed into a term many consider mocking feminism.

“What most meninists probably don’t realize is that feminism helps address the problems they talk about,” senior Glen Smith said. “Feminism tries its best to be inclusive. Meninism doesn’t. It’s an anti–movement.”

Projects in the works for the club include a PSA campaign, consisting of posters and announcements, to expose people to feminism. They have also discussed collaborating with other reform–based clubs, such as Ebony Club and BG Cares.

“Our club is here to make feminism less of a dirty word and more of a word that signifies activism,” Smith said.