New feminism club hopes to effect change through education

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by Ashley Smith, Editor-in-Chief

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Through Simpson College’s new Feminist Club, sophomores Liz Nimmo and Audrey Kaus are hoping to educate campus on feminism one bake sale at a time.

Nimmo and Kaus first thought of creating a feminist club last year.

“(We were) just sitting in my dorm room and thinking, ‘Simpson doesn’t have a feminist club, and that’s really weird,’” Nimmo said. “And so we looked at each other and were like, ‘Why not start one?’ And so it kind of began then.”

Nimmo and Kaus held an Equal Pay Bake Sale in March as an event for the unofficial Feminist Club to mark the beginning of Women’s History Month.

“The Equal Pay Bake Sale was to represent the wage gap,” Nimmo said. “And as a feminist club on campus, we want to make sure we’re approaching feminism and our social justice activism with an intersectional lens.”

They represented intersectionality by selling cookies to men for $1, white women for 75 cents and women of color for 50 cents.

“Typically, yes, you get paid less if you’re a woman, but what a lot of people don’t realize is it gets even worse if you have a disability, if you’re transgender, if you’re lesbian and so on,” Nimmo said. “Although we just did those three prices, we also had a list of the other gaps in pay.”

A study done by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research showed that, on average, each woman earned 79 cents for every dollar that a man did in 2015.

The club co-founders said the bake sale will be an annual event, and all proceeds will go to the Young Women’s Resource Center in Des Moines.

Now that the Feminist Club is official, they were able to have a booth at OrgFest, where around 70 people signed up to get more information about the club.

“We were incredibly surprised at the amazing (outpouring) of people who came out and decided they thought they would want to join,” Kaus said.

Nimmo said only about one-fifth of the people who were interested were men, saying it’s because some men are under the impression that feminism is only for women.

“Feminism fights for the equality of both genders,” Nimmo said. “So a lot of the things that are put in place that make women inferior to men also have negative effects to men. Like, the fact that a lot of people say men can’t cry, they can’t be emotional because that’s for women. So it puts both genders into this bind where they can’t really get out of it.”

Kaus said some people don’t want to join the club because they don’t have the right idea of what feminism is.

“The people (who) do know (the definition of feminism) obviously want to be a part of it, and that was the thing that was great at OrgFest because our board had what our feminist club views as feminism. And a lot more people realized, ‘Oh yeah, that’s me. I fall underneath that category.’”

Through the Feminist Club, Kaus and Nimmo’s goal is to incite change through education.

“Women have been oppressed since the beginning of time,” Kaus said. “It’s just the way history is. Like older generations, that’s the way they’re brought up, and it’s a new mindset now that women can do what they want. It’s hard for people to change that because not a lot of people like change and change is hard.”

Nimmo hopes the Feminist Club’s role on campus is to start a conversation.

“That’s one of the biggest steps for educating a community is to just start a conversation and then go from there,” Nimmo said.

Anyone interested in more information about the Feminist Club is asked to contact Liz Nimmo at [email protected] or Audrey Kaus at [email protected]