interviewer Shania Parker
interviewee UNISA WOCO
Who and what inspired the start-up of women’s collective?
The club was founded by Lex Raj and Eloise Atterton, in December 2020, with the aim of creating a dedicated space for every female identifying student of UniSA to strongly advocate for women’s rights, feminism, foster equality and equity across all women’s issues. We create a safe environment for our members to share their experiences and innovative ideas and grow together as a collective at UniSA.
What can you tell us about your club and how is it distinctive amongst the realm of UniSA opportunities?
Our club is unique, as it brings together strong, independent women—from different walks of life—who inspire others in claiming their power back from society. By breaking societal stigmas and sharing personal experiences, our club creates opportunities to learn about women’s issues and find the appropriate support.
What do you believe you offer as a club?
The club intends to tackle critical issues, such as gender discrimination and inequality with the objective to create a safe space for women on campus. We also aim to be the voice of survivors and create a support system for the ones in need. In addition, the club offers good networking opportunities for its club members and a chance to get involved and participate in many fun activities and events; thereby, forming deep and meaningful friendships within and outside the community. As a club, we also challenge the most common misconceptions around feminism and being misunderstood as a gender biased association. In fact, our club welcomes members from all genders, races and communities who believe and support our ideology and are ready to help us create a better community at University of South Australia.
What does your calendar involve for the year ahead( events, workshops etc) and how can students get involved?
We organised a games night with UniSA Rainbow Club and Chatbox on April 23rd. Some of the other events in our pipeline are: Yoga workshop, networking event, podcasts on sexual and mental health with guest speakers, self-defence workshops, cocktail night/ball at the end of the year. We are also planning to do some workshop forums with corporate equity departments, university safety and wellbeing committees and government officials to get involved on the topic of equity and women safety and wellbeing in universities.
What does the usual week look like when being part of the club?
We strongly believe in teamwork and stay in touch regularly on our WhatsApp group called ‘My WoCo Squad’. Whenever someone comes up with an exciting idea, we share it in the chat and brainstorm to develop it further. We also do our monthly meeting via zoom to plan our upcoming events. As final year students, we’re all extremely occupied with studies and part-time work but our passion for this club keeps us going. It is noteworthy that the current team members were recently elected and are from different campuses; so, we do find it difficult sometimes to meet in person. However, knowing each other from past university networking events, makes our communication and collaboration easier. The campus fair in mid-March was a huge success for us, as we successfully sold out our freebies and signed up over 50 people. As a club in an infancy stage, there’s plenty to learn and we’re looking forward to this year.?
What do you hope to achieve as a club, what heights do you desire to take Women’s Collective to?
As a president, I would say: there is no I in team, so the team definitely wants to have more member engagement. We want people supporting equity and female rights in the workplace, university or anywhere. It is a club for people, not just for women. We want to reinvite the culture of social events back into the university. We want to make people woke on the topic of feminism, we want to have casual coffee catchups and forums/talks on campus to provide a safe space for people to talk about their experiences. We definitely want to collaborate with other clubs to spread our purpose for engagement in professional and social events. We want to develop new, professional and academic programs that university students need. Keep an eye on our social media for fun, interactive and enlightened posts.