By Paige Jackson ’24
Feminism is an important part of today’s society. Not just in America, but all around the world. Women everywhere have struggled with equality for as long as anyone can remember, and here at Frederick Gunn, our girls are too. In the name of our founders, Abigail’s Circle is pushing for gender equality on and off campus.
Abigail’s Circle’s first order of business is to help female-identifying students feel safer in the school gym. The club hopes to gain one hour of female-only gym hours per week. Having a safe place to exercise freely is vital, as many female students have come forward over the years saying that they feel uncomfortable working out with so many male students present. With female-only gym hours, it is likely to see an increase in girls working out.
“I would definitely feel a lot more comfortable going to the gym and a lot less insecure because a lot of boys are dismissive and condescending towards girls in the gym, especially when they don’t fully know what they’re doing yet,” said Layla Copen, Abigail’s Circle member and class of 2024.
With October, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, steadily approaching, the club is preparing to celebrate its horizon. They are considering fundraisers such as a movie night, a haunted house, a dance, or a bake sale (partnered with Baking Club). The money will be donated to essential charities for breast cancer such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and American Cancer Society.
Abigail’s Circle is also looking into how to possibly help the women of Iran during their time of need. After the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, protests have flooded their country. Amini was arrested by Iran’s Morality Police for not wearing her hijab, and died of a heart attack in custody. It is believed that Amini was badly beaten, leading to her heart attack. Women in Iran feel unsafe and unrepresented due to the sexist laws of their society, and the women of our community have been inspired to help.
Looking toward the future, the club is preparing for spring. In April, sexual assault awareness will be acknowledged, as well as denim day. A young girl’s sexual assault case created Denim Day. The court found her assaulter not guilty of rape because she was wearing jeans, and jeans would be “too hard to force off.” Every April – this year, it takes place on the 26th – men and women wear denim to honor sexual assault victims.
The Highlander News Network interviewed Maeren Hay, class of 2023 and co-leader of Abigail’s Circle, on her thoughts about the club. Hay runs the club alongside Jo Wilmer, class of 2024.
“I’ve always been interested in women’s rights and just standing up for women and girls around me,” Hay explained.
When asked about her thoughts on gender equality, Hay responded, “I actually think it would be great for there to be a male-identifying affinity group. I’m all about gender equality, so I think that if men on campus need a safe space, they should have that. I think the two clubs could really work together to dismantle stereotypes about gender.”
Overall, Abigail’s Circle intends to make our campus and the world a better place for all people who identify as women.