Students participated in an interactive evening of discussion regarding gender equality on campus led by the SU officers on Wednesday Evening.
Keen to enforce the idea that ‘#HeForShe [as] a launchpad to build an umbrella campaign’ to tackle gender inequality within the university, Angharad Smith and Sarah Pickup stated that a further internal campaign would be student led.
Both officers talked of creating a ‘united front’, and ‘unified student body’ to tackle the issue of gender equality.
“UoN Feminists want to restore the link between the word feminist and the issue of gender equality”
First of all, the 110 students in attendance were asked to discuss amongst themselves what they thought the main issues that should be at the forefront of the University of Nottingham gender equality campaign.
The lack of education regarding sexual consent, ‘lad culture’, and the language surrounding gender and intersectionality were the key issues raised.
The idea of sexual consent classes was suggested, to educate all students and ‘change the culture, not just legislation’, as one student noted.
Furthermore, the appropriateness of the term ‘#HeForShe’ for a UoN follow on campaign about gender equality was questioned. It was highlighted that this term excludes the non-binary and transgender community and that a UoN campaign would need to consider gender fluidity.
“It was really encouraging. There were some great discussion topics and the discussion was really respectful”
Secondly, the affiliated student organisations, The Women’s Network and UoN Feminists introduced their work for gender equality throughout the university.
Women’s Officer, Emma Quaedvlieg, highlighted the inclusive nature of the follow on campaign, ‘we can’t tackle gender equality with only one part of the society at the discussion table’.
UoN Feminists echoed this whilst also stating that they want to ‘restore the link between the word feminist and the issue of gender equality’, as stated by Rachel Hoskins.
In contention, one student noted that ‘men are intimidated by such labels as feminism’; the language and tone of the follow UoN campaign was a key issue of the evening. Students felt that crucially, a successful campaign for gender equality should reach the whole student community and questioned how this could be achieved.
After this, the officers presented examples of current gender equality campaigns such as the NUS ‘I love Consent’ campaign and The University of Oxford’s ‘Good Lad’ campaign as inspiration for the campaign which they are keen to be ‘driven by students’.
While the ‘Reclaim the Night’ campaign was shown, the Women’s Network representatives detailed an event happening later in the month in which Nottingham residents are going to march through the city at night.
The SU officers agreed that the event was a success, Sarah Pickup commented, “It was really encouraging. There were some great discussion topics and the discussion was really respectful.”
Angharad Smith agreed, “It was so wonderful to see people so involved.”
Within the next couple of weeks a second meeting of the ‘#HeForShe follow on’ campaign will further focus the direction of the UoN gender equality campaign.
Image: Hannah Eves