“It’s a way to get conversations started"

“It’s a way to get conversations started"

Anique, Lara and Alex present the Gender Equality and Sexuality week
  • Anique, Lara and Alex present the Gender Equality and Sexuality weekAnique, Lara and Alex present the Gender Equality and Sexuality week

From March 25 to March 29, student associations on Sciences Po Reims campus will organise the annual Gender Equality and Sexuality week. The programme includes events, workshops and speakers that aim to educate and provide a forum for the campus. On Thursday March 28, Maxime Forest will give a talk on “Global Perspectives on Same-Sex Marriage”. Anique, Lara and Alex explain why this is a unique week in Reims campus’ student life.

What made you want to get involved in the organization of the Gender and Sexuality Week on Sciences Po Reims campus ?

Alex: Last year’s success made me want to! The entire week is just really fun, even though we are dealing with serious issues. The campus is filled with a fantastic energy, the fact that it’s spring doesn’t hurt, either...

Anique: Since a young age, gender equality has been of interest to me. I take every opportunity I have to fight for women’s rights and minority rights. As one of the presidents of the Feminist Society, I hope to encourage everyone on campus to get involved, or at least start discussing, the gender inequalities that exist in our society. This week is a great way to gain visibility on campus and therefore encourage our cause.

You planned an event-filled week. If you had to select one event, what would it be ?

Lara: As we did during last year’s Gender Equality and Sexuality week, our association [PERIOD @ Sciences Po Reims, provides menstrual care to women in need and addresses the taboo around menstruation] planned a menstrual supplies drive. At the time, we managed to collect more than 1,500 pads and tampons and helped hundreds of women in need by donating the products to homeless shelters, the Restos du Coeur, and refugee camps. Hopefully we’ll reach a higher number this year. It’s a pretty simple event, but it’s one which will have a big impact on the women in Reims who do not have easy access to menstrual care, and that’s at the heart of everything we do.

Anique: For me, the most important event would be our spatial debate, that will take place during lunch on Thursday. This is an event where people express their opinion on an issue through movement. It’s a way to get serious conversations about gender equality started on campus. I think we are seriously lacking spaces for discussions - outside of Facebook’s comment sections - there are a lot of misconceptions about feminism that can be addressed through an event that gets people talking in real life.

How did the courses you have taken at Sciences Po help you designing the programme of the GenSex week ?

Alex: I think the Civic Learning Programme had the largest impact. As part of this, we are have face-to-face interactions with and participate in community engagement; this focus really grounds the reality that ideas and policies help real-life people. We prioritised events that would allow for people to learn, to experience agency, and to share. Academic theory is an important element of an event like GenSex Week, but it’s in finding the spot where it meets implementation where the most meaning is created.

Lara: My courses at Sciences Po taught me how to look at issues from different point of views, and that helped me to plan a group of events that addresses every perspective of gender equality and sexuality. Organizing GenSex week was a challenge. We started planning the schedule in November. The important workload of my classes forces me to stay on top of my work, which was useful when planning the week.

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