Empowerment Club Looks to Create Strong Women

Members promote the Women’s Empowerment Club at the club fair.   Photo Credit: Dania Mahmood

Members promote the Women’s Empowerment Club at the club fair.

Photo Credit: Dania Mahmood

By SARAH SHOICHET

If you are looking for a place to learn more about modern femininity, the Women’s Empowerment Club is the club to join. This club encourages women as well as men to gain a better understanding of womanhood and redefine what it means to be a strong woman.

The new club, started by Dania Mahmood ’20 and Naffisat Atanda ’20, meets every Tuesday in Room 483 during period nine. The club has about 25 members, boys and girls. Every month the club leaders discuss a new topic such as breast cancer awareness or members’ role models. The club leaders find movie clips and videos, make presentations about a topic, and ask questions to spark discussion.

Mahmood said, “The most important part of the club is to have a discussion -- to ask questions and have a ‘fight’ so that we can clearly understand each other.”

This month’s topic was “Women’s History” because March is Women’s History Month. Club Vice President Atanda asked club members, “What does being a part of this history month make you feel?”

Many of the club members spoke out about the topic. Atanda said, “A strong woman is an independent woman,” and “our job is to defy women’s roles.”

One common theme was the perceptions of women and men in society and how society expects women to act a certain way.

“During family gatherings, women have to be very hospitable and take care of all the cooking and cleaning while men are always having fun and entertaining and don’t help the women,” said Mahmood.

“Society forces us to follow certain traditions,” said Menahil Shah ’20. “Women are oppressed in some places. Some of them are not able to do the things they want, and there are others who are being taken advantage of because of their inferior status.”

During the club meeting, Mahmood and Atanda presented a powerpoint and video about several important women throughout history such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah Winfrey, and Malala Yousafzai. After the presentation was over, the members then discussed why these women were so important.

Many students in Midwood don’t know or understand what feminism is, Atanda said. She founded the club because she “wanted to research what Midwood lacked.”

“We lack proper education,” she said. “We need to include more programs to educate young women to embrace their inner femininity.”

“There are a lot of girls who aren't educated about feminism and women’s suffrage, and a lot of people think its a joke,” said Mahmood. “They need to learn how to defend themselves better with knowledge.”

Ms. Robin Casalta, a chorus teacher, decided to supervise this club.

“I think it’s important to support the girls,” she said. “Because this generation is going to be the one that makes changes, not by screaming and stomping their feet, but in other ways, working their way into the political system to make the changes.”

The club is trying to get involved in the Women’s March, which has taken place every January since President Trump was elected.

“We also want to make a banner about what the club members think women empowerment is and to spread awareness,” said Sakinah Mehmood ’20.

“Leading this club allowed me to be exposed to young women with different perceptions of society,” said Atanda. “It also aided me to grow as a young woman.”

Mahmood said, “I feel proud of this club because I feel like I’m teaching them something as well as learning myself.”

FeaturesCasey Levinson