Heather Lee

Sophomore Bharathi Subbiah leading a discussion about what future action they could take.

New Women Empowerment Club creates a space for conversation

December 22, 2017

Although it occurred over a year ago, the election has caused a lot of commotion that has yet to settle. Specifically, gender relations have become a common topic of conversation. This increase in discussion of gender has not gone unnoticed in the WHS community as sophomore Bharathi Subbiah has made it her mission to create an outlet for such gender decisions amidst this new climate.  

The Women Empowerment Club, focused on easing gender tensions and promoting change within the school community, was established this year by Subbiah herself who was in fact inspired by the effects of the past election.

“I thought of this idea after the tense election cycle when gender issues were a big topic,” Subbiah said. “I felt as though Weston didn’t talk about these issues or do anything about it.”

With this idea in mind, Subbiah took things into her own hands. After enlisting the aid of History teacher Mrs. Bairstow as advisor and facilitator, Subbiah was able to create the club and a space to have an open dialogue about gender in general as well as within the WHS community.

“Usually, we like to talk about a different issue every week such as the treatment of girls in science and math classes, or gender issues happening in the world,” Subbiah said. “Then we talk about solutions that we can implement within our school. It’s generally an open forum where people can just talk.”

This open space is a great way for students to voice their opinion on these topics and feel empowered. Sophomore Kimberly Nicholson expresses her enjoyment of this aspect of the club and identifies it as the reason she returns each Thursday.

“I feel like we are doing something meaningful. Instead of doing homework, we are discussing important issues related to women’s rights,” Nicholson said. “This club makes me feel that I am making a difference.”

In addition to fostering a sense of belonging, the club is open to all students and Nicholson encourages anyone who’s interested to join.

“The club isn’t just for sophomore girls. It is for everyone of every gender, every age, and every race. People don’t have to go to every meeting. If you want to come to one once a month, that is okay. It is important that everyone gets involved, no matter who they are.”

Recruiting new people isn’t the only active focus of the club. Currently, the Women Empowerment Club is brainstorming many ideas for how they can promote gender equality.

Specifically, the club is aiming to improve upon the women’s day that occurred last year.  

“Right now we are planning to have another symposium for international women’s day, this time student led/facilitated,” Subbiah said. “We are hoping that this will encourage more kids to come and understand that this is a prevalent problem in our school. We are also hoping to get a few speakers to come as well.”

Bairstow is extremely proud of what the students in the club are accomplishing.

“They’re enthusiasm is something I wish every student had about something,” Bairstow said. “It gives me hope that change is possible, that students are not apathetic and they want to make a change.”

Although recently established, the Women Empowerment Club is making great strides to improve the school community. Subbiah believes the club is ready for this challenge.    

“We want to change the culture at Weston High so it’s no longer acceptable to say or do things that make girls feel inferior or discriminate against. It’s really nice to have a community that is determined to change modern day views on women.”


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