Students at City and Islington sixth form college have formed a Feminist Society to challenge sexism, racism, homophobia and all types of discrimination in their school. On March 21, they joined a nation-wide anti-racist demonstration.
Sarah Abu-Amero together with a friend Lauren set up the group a few months ago, as they were “outraged at the sexism present in our college, our communities and the world”.
Candi FemSoc, named after the college, is aimed to raise awareness of day-to-day issues such as harassment and sexist comments many girls face in college as well as more global issues.
“We are bombarded with images from the media that over-sexualise women, enforce gender roles and demean women, not to mention female genital mutilation and forced marriage.”
Some peers appreciate the girls’ initiative, but many don’t understand the need for a feminist society.
“In our college, and in society, ‘feminism’ is something of a dirty word surrounded by misconceptions. So we often have to deal with people who think we hate men, or think that the fight for equal rights is over.
“We have to challenge these misconceptions and we’ve still got a long way to go.”
March 21 was the first mass rally they’ve attended. Teachers have been supportive of a student-run club and the ideas of equality it promotes in college. Some parents have been worried about their kids’ participation in the march but Sarah says she has been supported:
“I’m lucky to be the daughter of a single working mother who has always encouraged me to stand up for what I believe in.
“It’s the first march we’ve been to and I think as long as we stick together our parents and teachers have little to worry about.”
Candi FemSoc have done collections for mental health charities and are planning to do a campaign against cat-calling. The group meets once or twice a week to discuss topics such as the representation of women in the media and share news and articles on feminism.
“I’m always on the lookout for something I can share with the others and it’s wonderful that our members always have great contributions to make. It’s so rewarding to be a part of it!” Sarah says.
Sara and Lauren created an official Twitter account in February where they continue promoting the values of feminism and diversity in their community.
— CandI FemSoc (@CandIFemSoc) February 4, 2015