WHS Feminism Club Prepares for New Year


Ava Jingozian

Gina Destito presented “Women in Religious Settings” at the first meeting.

The Walpole High School Feminism Club is making significant changes in the format of their meetings to make the club both more productive and educational for the upcoming school year. The club was created two years ago as a place to discuss the impacts of feminism in society and politics with social studies teacher Jamie O’Leary as the advisor. The Feminism Club meets every other week after school in room 3136. 

In past years, meetings were primarily group discussions revolving around whichever social justice topics naturally arose in conversation with occasional presentations. Although many students appreciated and wanted to maintain the laid back atmosphere, they agreed the club could be made more structured. The new meeting format centers around pre-planned, student presentations on specific topics such as college sexual assault, sexism on the Internet and toxic masculinity. These presentations will both educate members on issues in society and encourage discussions of all perspectives, raising awareness for a broad range of topics. Students themselves create and lead the presentations, continuing the student-led tradition of the club from previous years. 

 “In contrast to when the club started, this year’s meetings are all planned with topics, presentations, discussions, or viewing of certain films,” senior Emily Duseau said. “I am excited to learn from everyone else’s points of view…I hope that everyone can learn about how feminism is an important part of our school culture.”

In addition to a themed presentation and discussion each meeting, the club plans to invite guest speakers—Superintendent Dr. Gough, various WHS teachers, and possibly a speaker on human trafficking—to share their own experiences with members in relation to gender equality and women’s rights in the real world. Relevant media and videos will enhance meetings, including the 2019 Film Festival movie, The F-Bomb, which will be shown at a spring meeting. There are also collaborative meetings planned with the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) and the Students For Equality club, which focus on LGBT and minority issues respectively, to make the club more intersectional and inclusive. 

“Our main goal is—and always has been—to start important conversations,” Duseau said.

These changes are a continuation of the club’s goals from last year, when members began to focus more on local issues within WHS; their projects included placing free feminine hygiene products in the bathrooms and creating an informational pamphlet in partnership with the GSA. Duseau said ideas for this year include a fundraiser of some kind and a reinstatement of the hygiene product project as well

“When social change happens, it happens from the ground up, and the club gives kids an opportunity to voice what issues that matter to them,” O’Leary said.