The International Women’s Rights Club at Northampton High School, which meets on Thursdays, in math teacher Rachel Stavely-Hale’s room, focuses on teaching the students about conditions women and girls face in daily life in order to make a difference in the world.
The discussion that took place during the club’s meeting seemed to support that idea. Stavely-Hale said it’s “impossible to have a conversation about women’s rights without having a larger conversation about social justice.”
This past Thursday’s meeting was primarily focused on the issue of abortion and the defunding of Planned Parenthood. The leaders of the discussion passed out articles relevant to the topic, and students examined the articles in detail, sharing their opinions on what they read.
Hale said that it is important for everyone to learn about feminism, regardless of gender. While the majority of the club is female, there are still several male students involved.
“The club serves two purposes,” Hale said. “The primary point is to raise awareness about conditions that women and girls live under worldwide,” she said, while the second objective of IWRC is coming up with action students can take to locally improve women’s and girls’ lives.
Talking to club member, and NHS senior, Lucien Baskin wielded similar answers. He said, the club’s goals are “twofold”: to encourage discussion of feminist issues with “the hope of” expanding students’ knowledge and developing their critical thinking skills, and to engage in “direct action” related to social justice and feminist issues.
Though members of IWRC view Baskin as a social justice expert, he has still learned things from weekly club meetings. When asked about the most surprising thing he’s learned, Baskin said, “I thought everyone had an opinion about feminist issues, but I’ve been proven wrong.” There are many people who don’t have much knowledge and “would like to learn more,” he said.
If students are interested in joining in on an International Women’s Rights Club meeting, they can go to Ms. Stavely-Hale’s room on Thursdays after school.