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Hi there, my name is Chrissy and I am the President of the VUWSA Women’s Group.
Recently, I have noticed an increasing amount of people asking, “isn’t feminism about equality?” The concept of equality is of course a good thing, but only when everyone starts on an even playing field, and this is not always the case when some groups hold more privilege than others. I believe that feminism should ultimately be about understanding what people need. Something that women may need are women-only spaces.
Women-only spaces exist because women need these places to feel safe, which other spaces do not provide. Here at Vic we are lucky to have our own women’s space on campus. The women’s room is tucked away behind the Hunter Lounge; most of you may not even know it exists. The women’s room is an amazing space for all self-identifying women. It is a place where we can come together, metaphorically and literally. It is a space where we embrace community and respect one another as women generally, feminist or not. For me personally, the women’s room has definitely positively shaped my experience at university. It is a place I and others can go and not feel watched by other people. It is a place where we have gone and taken a nap. It is a place where we hang out with our friends. It is a place for women to breastfeed and a place for people to go and be comfortable, which is something a lot of women need.
We at the VUWSA Women’s Group have done a few things to try and make the space better for those who use it. Last year we painted one of the walls and wrote “women’s space” on it (you will recognise this on the cover of this issue). We rang up Campus Care and got them to take away the broken fridge that stank out the place. This year there are new blankets and cushions in the room too to make the couches comfortable, and plenty of fake flowers to give the room a bit of colour. This little room is very important for us to have and is something that women need and use on a daily basis. So yeah, to phrase it simply, feminists may not want only equality—we want to recognise that people have different needs, and that this may sit outside of the borders of what others may consider “equality”, and that’s okay.
I hope you all can make the most of Women’s Week! We have a whole bunch of awesome events organised for all genders to attend. These events are about learning about different perspectives within feminism, celebrating creative women, and embracing community. I look forward to seeing you all.