December 1, 2023

WHS feminist club examines women’s advancements in society

By Jolene Bailey

Windham High School offers elective and fine art courses for many diverse interests and one English elective this year is a course in women’s studies. This semester-long class examines women within their experiences and societal advancements throughout American history celebrating their achievements.

Student members of the 'She Speaks Power'
feminist club gather following a recent 
meeting at Windham High School. The club
was formed to support women's studies at
the school and celebrate the achievements
To provide knowledge and involvement regarding women, this course has taught many students about feminism and a new spinoff club at WHS called “She Speaks Power” devised to foster student interest in the subject.

“She Speaks Power” is a feminist club led by a former WHS women’s studies student, Addison Shanholtz.

“My first interest in bringing the club to WHS began in Ms. Bragdon's incredible women’s studies class. By far it has been my favorite class, and the peers made the course significantly better. As the year progressed, we discussed what we could do in our community,” said Shanholtz.

The specific thing that sparked her interest in starting a club was when in class we were talking about other students having dress codes, she said.

“The discussion was who was getting dress-coded and how we could help,” said Shanholtz. “This was typically directed towards girls. I wanted to help make a difference in the school, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone, so that's what gave me the idea to start a club.”

Club advisor Kelly Bragdon is a WHS English teacher who also additionally teaches Women’s Studies.

“When I first started at WHS, I was the advisor for the GSA,” Bragdon said. “Making sure that everyone feels seen, heard, appreciated, and valued is my main goal as a teacher so I am more than happy to be able to help this club.’"

Last spring, many students expressed an interest in starting a feminist club and to kick off the 2023-2024 school year, “She Speaks Power” offered sign ups at that time. This fall, students may still join and engage in this extracurricular activity at the school.

“There are many different reasons for students to join a feminist club,” said Shanholtz. “A common question asked at the club fair was ‘Can I still join even though I’m not a woman?’ think a huge misconception with starting a feminist club is that only women can join but if you look up the definition of feminism it doesn’t say "just women.”

Club members say that feminism means all genders have equal opportunities and rights and any student who strives for equality can join.

“Women of all races, ages, socioeconomic statuses, and backgrounds have been fighting for their voices to be heard forever. Some more than others. Our goal is to bring awareness to intersectionality and focus on how we can all work together to create equity and justice systems that promote inclusivity.” said Bragdon.

Shanholtz said that students who are not only feminists, but anyone wanting to learn about equal rights should join.

“Joining this club will be a step toward educating our community and creating equality for all,” said Shanholtz.

Meetings for the “She Speaks Power” Club are conducted on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month in Room 120 at WHS during PRIDE. Any student can attend to gain more information about club activities. <

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