Society Spotlight: St Andrews Feminist Society

There are many definitions of what it means to be a feminist – several unfortunately based on unflattering stereotypes. The St Andrew’s Feminist Society stands for what it really means: equality and respect regardless of what gender you are. Eva Wewiorski talks to Owl Eyes…

 Hi Eva – how do you think FemSoc make feminist issues relevant and accessible for everyone at St. Andrews?

Our philosophy is that feminism is not purely a women’s issue, but a human rights issue. It goes without saying men are welcome to become involved our society. Everyone’s role is equally important in helping end gender oppression and prejudice.

 What events do you have coming up soon?

Absolutely stay tuned for our film festival taking place day in week five (this week!) The theme is documentaries/true stories and among our selection is the harrowing yet uplifting drama The Magdalene Sisters which depicts the hardships unwed mothers and ‘promiscuous’ girls in Ireland endured once imprisoned in the Magdalene laundries to work off their sin. Not all screenings are confirmed but there are numerous exciting possible choices on the table well worth viewing, such as acclaimed 1988 film The Accused starring Jodie Forster in an Oscar winning role as a victim of gang-rape. The festival will take place from the 15th to the 19th at 19:00 in School 5.

 We also heard you also get pretty prolific speakers coming to give talks…

Among the many events that FemSoc organises is arranging for renowned speakers to come out and give talks on relevant subjects. During Gender Equality week (week six) esteemed public  speakers such as businesswoman Madi Sharman, who is known for her speeches on entrepreneurship, diversity and gender balance will be delivering a talk along with Lindsay Law of RBS Women’s Network. Throughout the year there will be many more fascinating and eye-opening speeches.

 Which causes or policies are you keen to see get attention this semester?

This year FemSoc is excited to be bringing the Half the Sky movement to St Andrews, a cause dedicated to ending the oppression of women worldwide. It was inspired by a nationally bestselling book written by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn entitled Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide that documents their journey throughout Africa and Asia where incredible women shared their stories. Gritty but ultimately hopeful, the book outlines that unveiling the potential of women worldwide is also a key step in ending poverty. Click here to find out more about the movement.

 There’s also been a lot of talk about a zero tolerance policy…

Yes, another important project FemSoc will be taking part in is obtaining a zero tolerance sexual harassment policy for the university; we are collaborating with National Union of Students to achieve this. But not only we are responsible for this, each student is implored to help us by sharing what they think qualifies as sexual harassment – however seemingly minor – to help make St Andrews as safe and as respectable an environment as possible.

 How are you specifically involved with FemSoc?

I will now take the opportunity to shamelessly plug Femsoc’s annual journal Minerva, of which I am the proud editor of! Over the year I will be collecting articles, poems and essays from anyone who desires to be published. I am also in need of a talented artist to design the cover. Any keen contributors can email me at any point throughout the year at enw@st-andrews.ac.uk.

 How can people who are interested in FemSoc keep up to date and involved with what’s going on?

To be kept up to speed with upcoming FemSoc events you can like our Facebook page here or email our lovely president Elena at femsoc@st-andrews.ac.uk.  Throughout Gender Equality week, FemSoc is keen to have a question time that will give any student the opportunity to find out more about our society and what we do. Don’t be shy, we’d be delighted to see you and you’ll be amazed how friendly we are! We would urge you to come along or contact us if you are in anyway interested in taking part in this wonderful society.

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