Spotlight On: FemSoc

Rosie Pinder

March is International Women’s Month, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to interview the President of FemSoc, Ifeoluwa Oyedeji, to find out more about how to get involved in feminism at the University of Nottingham.

What is FemSoc all about?

We are an intersectional feminist group on campus, also with a branch on the SB campus, who get together to have discussions. We talk about feminist issues, but we are also just creating a space where women can gather and chat in a safe and relaxed environment.

We hold a number of discussions with our members and run collaborative events with different societies. We also run socials so members can meet likeminded people, and there is no pressure to always talk about feminist issues: it is a feminist space but we don’t always talk about feminist

How did you get involved with the society and what does your role as President entail?

I’ve been quite a big feminist since I was 15 and so when I got to uni in first year (2019) I became a member of FemSoc. They had a few roles open, so during my first year I became the BME rep and that was amazing- I loved being a part of the committee and being in the driver’s seat creating
events, especially for BME people.

But I realised that I’m not necessarily comfortable with only championing feminism for BME people in such a small role. I felt like there needed to be a bigger platform to make everyone feel welcome, with BME inclusion not just addressed on the side during one or two events a year.

That’s why I decided to run for President: to push this to the forefront.
I also wanted to introduce more socials. And while it obviously hasn’t been a great time for that with the pandemic, last week we ran an online crafts night which went amazingly!

I thoroughly enjoy just being surrounded by very passionate, strong, opinionated women who contribute to our discussions

Overall, it’s been amazing being president. I obviously wish we could do a lot of things in person and meet members face-to face, but it’s been great to have people come online and have everyone talking over each other because we’re all so excited to get out what we’re trying to say.

I thoroughly enjoy just being surrounded by very passionate, strong, opinionated women who contribute to our discussions, and hearing about different lived experiences.

What does an average society meeting look like at the moment?

Before we had to move online, we did weekly meetings, which we’ve brought down to bi-weekly meetings because it just felt like too much pressure.

But, ultimately, we are doing the same things online, with ‘let’s talk about…’ discussions focusing on topics ranging from misogynoir to sexuality. It’s a free space where committee members chair and bring up a few talking points, but where anyone can contribute.

Sometimes we go completely off topic, but it’s basically a space where we
can talk about issues, hear about everyone’s experiences, and link back to previous discussions.

What kind of events do you run? Do you have any coming up during International Women’s Month?

As well as our bi-weekly discussions we run lots of events and panels. Last semester we held a female entrepreneur event with female business women in Nottingham sharing their experiences.

This Friday (19 th March) we have a collaboration with the University of Birmingham Polsis in Colour Society exploring liberation and what women of colour stand to gain.

We also have another panel event coming up on 24 th March, in collaboration with the women’s network and BME network, on misogynoir (misogyny against black women).

But we just try to hold lots of discussions because I know sometimes when you hold a panel event or something it can seem somewhat intimidating or like you can’t contribute. And a lot of our members want to get involved and feel like they can speak up so that’s what our discussions aim to deliver.

Before we went online, we would all be in a room in the Portland building with everyone just jumping in which was an amazing vibe that I miss so much! But we’ve tried to mimic that as much as possible online.

We’re also hoping that next term we can deliver more discussions based on member’s requests such as sustainability. So, if anyone wants to have us talk about something, they just have to DM us and we can talk about it as a committee and arrange a discussion.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved but isn’t sure?

People might feel shy imagining that there is pressure to speak during our discussions. But what actually happens, both online and in person, is that you can come along to try a session and just listen!

You also don’t necessarily have to be a feminist to attend as we could simply be discussing something you are generally interested in learning about

There is absolutely no pressure to share and FemSoc is such a great environment- everyone is so lovely; I always leave meetings with new friends and that’s what I want for everyone.

You also don’t necessarily have to be a feminist to attend as we could simply be discussing something you are generally interested in learning about. It’s a great space to just come in and join a conversation.

We ensure that there are certain rules in place where you can’t attack someone based on their personal views etc, and this means that our meetings are a safe space without any threat if you share an experience or opinion.

FemSoc is a really amazing, caring space. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by loving women!

Where can you go to find out more?

Facebook and Twitter: UoN Feminists
Instagram: uonfems
Email: feminists@uonsu.com

Rosie Pinder 

Featured image and in article images courtesy of  UoN FemSoc. No changes were made to these images and permission to use was granted prior.

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