Society Showcase: Leeds University Feminist Society
To round off March’s International Women's celebrations, we spoke to Leeds Feminist Society.
This year, the theme of Women's history month is celebrating women who tell their stories. To honour this, we spoke to Lucy of Leeds Feminist Society about how they marked International Women’s Day.
Hype: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and the society you’re part of?
LUU FEMSOC: Hi! We’re the Feminist Society at the University of Leeds. My name is Lucy and I’m the Fundraising Officer for our society. We hold events that create a safe space, for anyone interested in feminism, to meet like-minded people and discuss the issues that matter to them.
Hype: This IWD you held a vigil in support of victims of gender-based violence, can you tell us about a speech or poem that was read that felt significant for you?
LUU FEMSOC: Yes, our vigil had some brilliant speeches by both committee and society members. One that stood out was read by our Political Campaigns officer, Becca – she read from the Counting Dead Women Project, which lists the women known to have been killed at the hands of gender-based violence every year in the UK. It was extremely important to us that these women’s names be heard, and the vigil was a powerful setting for this.
Hype: In honour of celebrating all of the fantastic women around us, can you tell us about a woman who has inspired you in a way?
LUU FEMSOC: Rather than just one woman, I’ve been really inspired by the bravery of women in Iran, who are currently refusing the compulsory wearing of a hijab, despite the oppression by the state. Their continuing fight for rights has shown the world an immense amount of courage, and our hearts go out to all of the amazing women taking a stand.
Hype: Your society often joins with some of Leeds’ other societies for workshops, events and good times, what has been your favourite one so far?
LUU FEMSOC: I really enjoyed our collaboration with SASHA (Students Against Sexual Harassment and Assault) and the Kick Boxing Society. For International Women’s Day, we ran a self-defence session to empower girls and give them greater strength, control and confidence. I found it created a really safe and comforting environment for us to work together to build each other up, whilst also learning such an invaluable skill.
Hype: What is the best thing about being in the LUU feminist society?
LUU FEMSOC: For me, it's definitely the strong sense of community in the society this year. I love organising and attending FemSoc socials, because at the core of our activism are our friendships with each other, and it’s been so empowering to go out and have fun with everyone – we’ve done everything from pub crawls to bracelet making! Having that opportunity to just relax and enjoy ourselves at uni has been second to none.
Hype: With Women’s history month coming to a close, what have you got planned for April to keep up the good vibes?
LUU FEMSOC: With Uni being on pause for April, everyone’s got the chance to wind down for now, however, we’re working in the background to host our annual period party in May! The Period Party is a huge fundraising event in aid of ending period poverty, and we’ll have everything from live music to small business stalls (and a bar of course) – the entry fee is just a sanitary products donation!
Hype: How can Leeds University Feminists get involved with your society?
LUU FEMSOC: Our society is open to everybody with an interest in Feminism, and you can purchase a membership for just £3 via engage.luu . We also have a very active Instagram account, luufemsoc, which is regularly updated with news and information – feel free to drop us a message!