KCLSU has a number of societies which focus on celebrating and providing opportunities for women at King’s and beyond, as well as bringing awareness to gender inequalities. For Women’s History Month, we’ve spoken to two of these societies on what the month means to them.
Women & Politics Society
The Women & Politics Society encourages women to get involved in politics on every level, bringing attention to gender-based issues and working to achieve gender equality. Elaine Shak, the Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of their magazine The Clandestine, told us about the importance of celebrating Women’s History Month:
“Fundamentally, the essence of Women’s History Month boils down to a recognition and acknowledgement of the contributions made by women throughout the ages, be it in different academic fields or change evoked on a societal level; it is also a chance to reflect on accomplishments thus far and spark discussions on how progress can be more efficiently made moving forward.”
Elaine explained how the theme of Women’s History Month reflects issues that are especially relevant today. “The yearly themes chosen for Women’s History Month are closely aligned with the current affairs concerning women in our modern landscape, and are targeted towards addressing pressing issues that have a disproportionately negative impact on women,” she said. This year’s theme is ‘Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope’; described by the National Women’s History Alliance as “both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.”
Elaine emphasised that Women’s History Month is not the only time we should bring women to the forefront. “Though commemorating the achievements of women - both individual and collective - during Women’s History Month is undoubtedly important, it is essential that conversations surrounding women’s rights, history and feminism more generally should not be confined solely to a particular month, but should be actively discussed and championed,” she said.
The Women & Politics Society blog, The Clandestine, publishes monthly articles on current issues relevant to women. Check out their blog here, and follow them on Instagram to find out more about upcoming events and opportunities.
Women of the Wohl
Rebecca Casterton is the founder and co-president of Women of the Wohl, a network for King’s students and staff which promotes gender equality in STEM fields. She told us how her group celebrates the achievements of women in STEM at King’s and works to address barriers they face due to their gender:
“This year, we’re also making this a time to reach out and build bridges with as many allies as we can, in particular our male colleagues, to encourage them to step up and participate in the conversation surrounding gender inequality. Many women’s networks and groups are all too familiar with the scenario of a packed seminar room or event space on International Women’s Day… and no men are to be found except to ask us when International Men’s Day is!”
Rebecca emphasised that while many men in the community are supportive of gender equality, they might have never had conversations about it before or are not sure how to use their privilege to make a difference. To address this, Women of the Wohl is hosting an ‘Equity Fair’ to encourage conversations about gender equality:
“We will have interactive activities and several table discussion stalls, each hosted by a different academic speaker on various issues that impact women and underrepresented researchers: ‘Allyship to Gender Equality’, ‘Science Across Borders’, ‘Red Flags in Academia’, ‘Mothers In STEM’ – and more. It’s a space designed to spark discussions between colleagues and for all to be able to join, ask questions, get advice, make mistakes, listen and learn from each others’ experiences.”
The Equity Fair will be held on 9 March from 5pm - 6:30pm at Denmark Hill campus. You can find out more about the event on their website, and be sure to register for a free ticket to attend. You can also follow them on Instagram and Twitter to find out about future events.
Women’s History Month is from the 1st to the 31st of March. See more about the events and initiatives we’re running to mark the month here: kclsu.org/whm