With so many philanthropic opportunities at Western, it can be difficult to choose just one, but a new student initiative hopes to get your attention.
HeForShe Western is based on actor Emma Watson’s United Nations initiative. Fourth-year medical science student Danielle Perro says her inspiration for founding the group stems from personal experience.
“I noticed that when discussing gender equality on campus, male voices were often lacking,” Perro says. “However, it wasn’t until I took a women’s studies course last year that I truly understood, or began to understand, the intersectionality of gendered issues and the underrepresentation of men in the conversation.”
According to HeForShe Western vice-president of events, Kirsten Bloomfield, the group will be partnering with clubs like the Black Students’ Association, Spectrum and the Women’s Issues Network to establish safe and productive spaces for discussion and advocacy around gender equality.
The club plans to begin by hosting their first annual Period Project, a drive to provide feminine hygiene products, toiletries and other personal care items to homeless women in London.
“In partnership with Rotholme Women’s Shelter and the USC, we hope to provide 150 care packages to local women in need,” Bloomfield says.
On top of local initiatives, HeForShe Western is planning an end-of-year charity gala in support of a global “women-run gender equality initiative.”
At its heart, the club seeks to get people talking, create visible change and to encourage empathy and inclusivity.
“HeforShe Western will hopefully become a space where we can explore the unique perspectives and challenges of more than one type of woman: queer women, women of colour, women in science, disabled women, religious women and homeless women,” Bloomfield says.
By viewing gender inequality as a human issue, the group aspires to attract students from all walks of life.
Perro and Bloomfield’s passion for the HeForShe movement is emblematic of how students can become part of real world change and an outlet like HeForShe Western is one way to take social justice a step outside the classroom.
To learn more about HeForShe Western, students are encouraged to visit the group’s booth at Taylor Library Main Floor from Sept. 19 to 21, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.