Niles West Feminist Club Promotes Equality and Inclusivity in the School


Feminist Club prepares for the new school year by promoting messages of equality and inclusion while planning to fundraise and participate in events.

By Yasmine Carlin, Contributor

During their first meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 22, members of the Feminist club introduced themselves and shared why they joined as well as their goals for the school year. Co-president Summer De La Cruz spoke about what encouraged her to join.

“The reason why I was interested in leading this club was because I recognized that patriarchy is an issue for everyone and not just women. It’s important for us to attempt to dismantle it as it will benefit everyone.”

Although many more students are involved, sponsor and English teacher Jody Weatherington recalls how the club was not fully supported at first.

“When we started the club, it started because of student requests. Students felt like there was a need to actively explore feminism and change the culture at Niles West. And when we started, there were a bunch of kids who came to the first meeting and when their parents found out about it they wouldn’t let them continue because they were afraid. There was a lot of push back from other students who were saying really hateful things, which underscored the need for this club and I think it’s still an issue that we need to pursue.”

After introductions, Weatherington went on to give a presentation about preparing for the Women’s March. The title of the presentation read ‘Protesting 101: a beginner’s guide’. The club plans to meet up downtown to protest and will be making posters at their next meeting.

Additionally, senior and co-president Socrates Hwang spoke about possibly raising money for an organization in Chicago that provides homeless women with clinical help. Another suggestion included a potential team-up with the Pan-Asian club to raise awareness on gender and race issues relating to Asian Americans.

The leaders of the club stressed the importance of intersectionality and making sure everyone feels represented this year. “We want to emphasize that this club is not just for women, it’s for everyone of all genders and races,” De La Cruz said.

Co-sponsor and English teacher Michele Hettinger agrees, “I think we should all be feminists. When the whole school finally realizes it’s important to be a feminist, then we’ll be satisfied.”

The club meets every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in room 1225.