FEM club raises money for Kakenya Center for Excellence


Prameela Kottapalli

A student fills out a form to buy one of Ayla Ekici’s (12) homemade butterscotch cupcakes. The club has raised over 500 dollars from the bake sales held during last year’s and this year’s club weeks.

by Prameela Kottapalli, Reporter

The Female Empowerment Movement (FEM) club hosted its annual club week this week and raised money for the Kakenya Center for Excellence, a partner of the Girls Learn International association founded by educator and social activist Kakenya Ntaiya.

All proceeds will go to providing educational supplies and services for students at the all-girl’s learning center.

“These girls really do need a place where they can learn and the school helps to defend them from social threats like forced marriage,” activities coordinator Aliesa Bahari (10) said. “So this [fundraiser] gives money to maintaining their facilities, sanitary care and school supplies.”

The club hosted bake sales after school and during both lunches on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday, members sold Pinkberry frozen yogurt after school until 5 p.m.

“It’s been going really well,” Nikita Ramoji (12), co-president of FEM club, said. “We’ve had a lot of people buy things or even just donate, which has been really incredible and we’re really thankful that they’re supporting us.”

This week, FEM club is also creating a petition in support of pop singer-songwriter Kesha, who is currently engaged in a legal battle with Luke Gottwald, her record producer who allegedly sexually abused her. Furthermore, the club requested library staff to put books about the gender equality movement on display.

During long lunch on Wednesday, club officers held a film screening of The Hunting Ground, a documentary covering sexual assault on U.S. university campuses.

Jessica Wang (10), the secretary of FEM club, shared her opinion about the Oscar-nominated movie.

“I was surprised by how high the statistics were, such as the percentage of women that actually get sexually assaulted during their time in college,” she said.

Through fundraisers, petitions and screenings like the ones held this week, FEM club hopes to increase recognition about women’s issues while advocating for overall gender equality.

“I think people have this perception of feminism that’s really aggressive and that’s not what we’re trying to promote here,” vice president Ayla Ekici said. “We’re trying to help the cause for equality and raise awareness for the issues that women face around today, still, in 2016.”

The issue surrounding feminism and what it stands for is a preeminent controversy in society today. FEM club advocates for the true meaning of feminism, which is defined as supporting women’s rights on the basis of equality to men.

“I think a big part of the issue is that some people don’t even think that sexism still exist, so they find it kind of silly that there would be people fighting for it,” Selin Ekici said. “Some people think that feminists are man-haters, but that’s not what feminism is and that’s not what we stand for.”

Nikita Ramoji discussed what FEM club strives to do.

Various discussions are hosted each Wednesday among club members, highlighting topics such as the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and abortion. In addition, club activities include writing letters to senators regarding gender equality issues and discussing articles that pertain to women’s rights.

“They want to help girls out in terms of education overseas and they want to do direct political work on issues that are pertinent towards girls and also women,” FEM club advisor Donna Gilbert said. “To raise awareness about issues that are specific to girls, women, and our lives is their goal.”