Women’s Empowerment Club unites students for equality

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Saleena Nival

by Saleena Nival
This year a small group of students chose to form the Women’s Empowerment Club (WEC), an association dedicated to the overriding goal to eliminate misogyny in the school and local community. Since then it has grown to a group of 25 members and continues to grow and spread its advocacy further into the school and beyond.
WEC was started by juniors Geneva Rata and Nadia Racaniello, who both believed that contrary to common belief, sexism is a very prevalent force in society which creates rigid and unfair gender roles, as well as gender-based violence such as rape and domestic abuse.
“It has been a goal of mine to eradicate internalized misogyny in society, starting with this school,” said Rata, currently a club officer. “But I can’t do it alone.”
Changing the way women are treated in society is a daunting task, and the actions of one person are not enough. What both women and men need in order to reach gender equality is one movement: the controversial and often misunderstood ideology of feminism.
WEC wants to set the record straight. “Feminism is not interchangeable with misandry [the hatred of men],” said Racaniello. “Rather, it’s the notion that men and women are equal.”
Besides correcting misconceptions of feminism, the club has other goals as well. “We also plan to educate our members about gender equality, do service activities to help oppressed women and advocate for a school environment without misogyny,” said Rata.
There are high hopes for the success of this club and for gender equality beyond school grounds. While members are enthusiastic, it may take a long time, if it can ever be achieved, for society to reach complete gender equality.
“The civil rights movement and equality between blacks and whites took years, even decades, to be put in action. I think women’s rights, and equality between men and women, is 100% possible, but not overnight,” said junior Lauren Szpond.
Despite the controversial and serious topics discussed in WEC, the atmosphere is lighthearted and members are positive about the future of gender equality. WEC also welcomes all students, even those with differing viewpoints and beliefs.
The Women’s Empowerment Club meets every Tuesday after school in Room 242. For more information on upcoming events, meetings or general information, please contact an officer or club advisor Erin Sassaman.