Words by Sharessa Naidoo (Girl Up President)
What are Girl Up’s plans for the new year?
Our theme for the year is ‘Information is Power’. We wanted to communicate Girl Up’s belief that all women in the world – and more immediately, at our university – have it in them to live a life of their choosing in spite of gender inequality. Women just need information! We have plans to put on events and projects that focus on giving women students assurance, advice, inspiration and social time – tools with which to empower themselves.
We will focus on intersectionality in October and women’s mental health in November. To address intersectionality this month, we hosted a women’s rights pub quiz night and an ‘Intersectionality 101’ panel discussion (19th October), a coffee social at Teviot (20th) and an advocacy event at the end of the month (31st).
We are collaborating with various societies on campus to create informative social media posts, and are holding weekly volunteer sessions and/or walking club meets commencing in October. We even have a new Girl Up Edinburgh TikTok! We feel these will appeal particularly to new students.
How does this all keep raising awareness of Girl Up’s core message?
Everything we do this year is about giving university women the ideas and tools to centre and prioritise their own personal needs. As women living in male-dominated spaces, we often prioritise the needs of others over our own.
Offering events, social media content and projects that show women the ways to do what makes them the happiest and healthiest is our top priority this year.
How has Girl Up had to adapt?
The pandemic made Girl Up’s work last year more educational, and has shaped the agenda for this year too. However, this year we find it more necessary than ever to hold events in-person and enact the change we discussed during our online events held last year. Having had the student-led anti-racist organisation the BlackEd Movement around for more than a year now, we really want to ensure we are talking about topics that appeal to as many women as possible, particularly BAME and international women.
Additionally, a new focus of ours this year is making more men a part of the conversation around gender inequality in a constructive way. We are launched the podcast ‘The Men in my Life’ at the beginning of October, where our president talks to her male friends about their takes on unavoidable sexist issues that women experience from day to day. Details about the podcast are available on our social media @girlupedinburgh.
Group Member Spotlight
Name: Kirsten Rousseau (She/Her)
Subject: MA (Hons) International Relations
Choosing to attend my first Girl Up social in second year was probably the most positive and welcoming experience I’d had with a society at university, and engaging with such fun, intelligent and determined people was something that I wanted to continue doing. It provided an encouraging space to learn about and address issues I was passionate about, such as contraceptives and representation, both within the society and out! It’s personally turned me into a more confident, engaged and determined person and I would (and do) recommend it to anyone interested.
Image via Girl Up