Do you stand up for Gender Equality on campus?
By Amber McLinden, Staff Writer
The newest club on the metaphorical Mount Royal University block is MRU Students for Gender Equality and they’re wasting no time starting a conversation.
If you find yourselves walking through the halls and catch a glimpse of one of their posters on any bulletin board, you might look twice. “Do you believe in the equality of all genders? Do you want to share your opinions and be heard by other feminists? Are you wishing you knew more about feminism in general? Have you ever been referred to as a feminist killjoy? If so, you should check out our brand new club.”
The posters have been turning heads, and the club has gained some traction despite it’s inception being this semester. They have around 20 members now, and are looking for more. Annie Telfer and Skylar Caldwell founded the club hoping they could create a space for people who were just as interested in discussing feminist topics as they were.
“I think it’s a place to meet like-minded individuals and have conversations about current events and stuff.” Telfer says. “We live in such a sexist culture and there’s so much derogatory language, especially in a university culture.”
“I feel like a lot of people’s minds are opened when they go to university and our club is just another outlet.”
The most perplexing aspect of the club is that it hasn’t been created sooner. Many were interested, yet nothing like it existed previously. Despite the focus being feminism, the club was purposely named “MRU Students for Gender Equality” to make sure anyone felt welcome and able to take part in the conversation.
“What we’re trying to have is an open space for people just to talk about whatever they want.” Telfer explains. One particular topic of discussion is that “there’s just no procedure in place for sexual assault victims to report a crime at Mount Royal, so we were kind of trying to work on that.”
Feminist is a word we see people associating with less and less Telfer explained. There’s a stigma around it, she says, which is likely part of the reason the club didn’t exist yet. Taking on the responsibility of creating a positive space for people looking to discuss gender equality is a big task.
“A lot of women don’t like to identify as feminist because there’s so many negative things around that word.” She says. “I’ve even heard people say to me ‘Oh, I definitely am for equality but I don’t like to call myself a feminist.”
The club’s page on the Students’ Association website describes their mission and goals. The club hopes to “learn through discussion, open our minds to different perspectives and challenges, and ultimately gain something from each and every member.” It also states that they “value respect, honesty and equality.”
If this sounds like something you might be interested, the club is taking members. Reach out to Telfer and Caldwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.