ISU clubs, organizations move forward on women’s rights

Kyndal Reimer

Iowa State offers many clubs and organizations for all the unique passions of ISU students. When it comes to women’s issues, the university offers three choices to get students involved.

The Society for the Advancement of Gender Equity

What is its mission? What began as a group of students volunteering to help with annual performances of “The Vagina Monologues” has morphed into its own active organization. The society’s mission statement is to “advocate for feminist goals and gender equity issues … through a feminist lens.” The group emphasizes the importance of awareness as well as activeness.

Why does its cause matter? “This group and what it stands for is extremely important because it’s 2015, but we still have so many social injustices, especially involving women,” said Megan Frisvold, sophomore in global resource systems and co-president of the society.

What is it doing to make a difference? The group meets weekly for discussion in a safe and supportive setting. The society also volunteers, hosts movie nights and is involved in events such as the “The Vagina Monologues”, Feminist Fridays and Take Back the Night. The group helped amend the ISU sexual assault policy by suggesting how to restructure and rewrite the policy. 

How to get involved: “Anyone is welcome at [the Society for the Advancement of Gender Equity]. In fact, the more diversity the better,” said Collin Powell, junior in interior design and co-president of SAGE.

Email the co-presidents at [email protected] for Frisvold or [email protected] for Powell. Check out the Facebook page, website, or just show up for meetings to get involved.

ISU HeForShe

What is its mission? Iowa State’s HeForShe organization is an affiliate of the worldwide HeForShe movement that was introduced by UN Woman.

The organization engages men in the mission of gender equality and women’s rights. It aims to “spread awareness and spark action on the responsibility that men and boys have in eliminating all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls,” according to the ISU HeForShe website.

Why does its cause matter? “This is important because a serious misunderstanding exists in the world that this is strictly a woman’s issue,” said Samantha Martin, senior in financial counseling and planning and treasurer of ISU HeForShe. “It’s a humankind issue, affecting both men and women. In order to better everyone, we need men’s help.”

What is it doing to make a difference? “Students will have the opportunity to contribute with the movement for gender equality by crafting a shared vision of human progress for all,” according to the ISU HeForShe organization’s website. “Moreover, students will learn about the topic, serve as advocates and inspire people to take action.”

The group has bimonthly meetings and is still in the process of organizing specifics.

How to get involved: Email the officers at [email protected], visit the webpage or contact the organization through its Facebook page.

The Womyn of Colour Network

What is its mission? “[The mission is to] empower and validate women and women of color in their experiences as well as promote diversity on campus,” said Britney Williams, junior in kinesiology and health and secretary of the Womyn of Colour Network.

The organization was established in 2011 by graduate students, Ph.D. students and faculty members after they attended a women’s leadership conference and were appalled by the lack of diversity in the presentations. As a reaction, the women organized a retreat and the group was established.

Why does its cause matter? “I’m in a sorority and a lot of different spaces on campus, but this is the one space where I feel like I can really discuss these issues in depth,” Williams said. “It’s empowering to be around other women of color and talk about my experiences with those who share similar backgrounds.”

Williams also said Iowa State has a diversity issue and minority voices need to be heard.

What is it doing to make a difference? The group meets biweekly to discuss topic-based issues such as privilege. If students see a problem on campus, these meetings allow them bring it to attention, talk it out and brainstorm solutions with fellow club members.

The group intends to do a lot more activities beyond the meetings which are still in the works.

How to get involved: Show up to a meeting, email any of the officers through the website, or contact the group through the Facebook page.