News Article

Empowering Voices: A Conversation with the Intersectional Feminist Society

This Women’s History Month, we interviewed KCL Intersectional Feminist Society to highlight some of the incredible work they do, and their initiatives. Read more below! 

Tell us about Intersectional Feminist Society and its aims. 

Intersectional Feminist Society was founded in 2012. Our main goal is to educate and create a space and a conversation around feminism and intersectionality, and to actively fight against sexism and all forms of oppression, whether it is at King’s or outside of it. We also aim to create a safe space for all King’s students, in particularly those who are marginalised and underrepresented on our campus and beyond. 

How does the society define intersectional feminism, and why is it important in today’s society? 

Intersectional feminism is a term coined by the civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw in the late 1980s. It examines how various social and cultural identities, such as race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and others, influence an individual's experiences of oppression or privilege within the framework of feminism. Mainstream feminism, in particular liberal feminism, often focuses on one clear-cut experience of being a woman. This supposes that women’s liberation solely involves overcoming misogyny. In reality, many women and non-binary individuals experience oppression in ways that are interconnected and influenced by one another. For example, a trans woman’s experience of misogyny is very different from that of a cisgender woman, puts her at a higher risk of hate crimes, discrimination, etc. The goal of intersectionality is to give voices to those who are often forgotten when we talk about feminism. 

What types of events or initiatives does the society organise? 

We do not follow a rigid schedule and are heavily influenced by current events and our committee members’ ideas - there is something for everyone in our society, balancing activism with more fun and social events. For instance, we have organised debates, discussions and panel events on various topics related to women’s rights and liberation. Last month we organised a free training on recognising and addressing sexual violence. We also organise a lot of socials, offering a chance for students to unwind and get to know each other in a safe and judgment-free space. Some examples of that kind of events include picnics, movie nights, and cookie decoration. 

How does the society engage with the broader King’s College London community and beyond? 

We try to listen to students’ voices and understand the needs of those who might be facing various forms of discrimination. For example, last year some members of our committee launched the 'Stop The Music' campaign, which fought against spiking in KCL bars. We often collaborate with other societies  in order to shed a feminist light on other issues and areas of interest. We ensure our events are always open and accessible to all and actively engage with important issues within and outside of our university, especially standing against various forms of discrimination - we have actively supported student initiatives such as support for staff during the UCU strikes or student support for Palestine.  

Can you share some examples of successful projects or campaigns the society has been involved in?

We consider all events that our members enjoy and benefit from to be successful, and we have luckily had many of those events during this and the previous years. In particular, our society is really proud of the funds raised to support Palestine, and of the Stop The Music campaign, which resulted in measures being implemented against spiking on campus. This year, we organised a free training with the TogetHER collective to inform students on how to recognise and address sexual violence and sexism. This training is now being brought to other London universities!  

What are some challenges the society has faced, and how has it overcome them? 

Outreach is probably one of our main challenges - getting people curious about activism, feminism and intersectionality in particular, can be difficult. We try to hold informative events, such as Intersectionality 101, that help people find out more about the cause in a friendly environment. 

How does the society prioritise inclusivity and diversity within its membership and activities? 

We strongly encourage everyone who would like to join our society, even if it’s just for one or a few events, to do so and we do our best to make sure they feel welcome, comfortable, and free to be themselves. Moreover, the membership for our society is completely free, and so are most of our events (unless we are fundraising for charity). Finally, by hosting a great variety of events we try to include everyone despite the differences in availability or interests.  

In what ways does the society collaborate with other student groups or organisations? 

We are always open to collaborate with other societies and benefit from the wonderfully diverse student groups in our university. This year we have collaborated with many other student societies - KCL Politics, Legal Review, Women in Politics and Poetry Society to name a few and we have plans to do more collaborations in the rest of the academic year. Outside of university, we have also visited the fantastic feminist library (check them out @thefeministlibrary) and hosted a zine-making event with them as part of KCLSU SHAG week. Other collaborations also include the LSE feminist society who we worked with on a catcall awareness event, and the feminist collective togetHER, which is the UK branch of the very successful French organisation NousToutes.  

How can students interested in joining or supporting the society get involved? 

The easiest way is to come to our events and join us there! We aim to create a very welcoming environment, a lot of people show up by themselves and end up making new friends and meeting like-minded individuals. You can find out all about our events through our Instagram @kclifemsoc, or/and in our WhatsApp group chat, which you can find in the link on our Instagram bio. If you would like to be a part of the society, our membership is completely free on the KCLSU website. Moreover, if you have any suggestions for new events or initiatives or how to improve some events, questions or (constructive) criticisms we would be happy to hear them, so feel free to send us an Instagram message, or email us at [email protected]. Finally, if you would like to have a direct say on our society, we strongly encourage you to apply for a committee position once nominations reopen. Ifemsoc is a society for all students, and it would greatly benefit from your involvement! 

What future goals or aspirations does the society have?

Our main goal is always to ensure we create an equal, welcoming and fair environment for students to come together in combatting misogyny and other forms of systemic oppression. In the future, we hope to reach even more students and start more conversations about how we can incorporate intersectionality into life at King’s. As far as specific initiatives go, we are currently working on launching a book club and a feminist podcast!  

To find out more about Women’s History Month, you can visit the page here


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