Nepean offers many amazing clubs sudents can partake in, one of which is the Intersectional Feminist Alliance (IFA). In case you’re not familiar, intersectional feminism is a movement that recognizes the different aspects of one’s identity such as race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality and uses that to address feminist issues.
I spoke with three Grade 12 members of the IFA: Kate O’Donnell, Hillary Wright, and Faye McBride (pictured above, left to right). As they put it, the IFA works to create a space at Nepean where students can feel safe to discuss feminist issues in their own lives as well as around the world. They also educate both members of their club and the Nepean community. Their Instagram (@weareifa) has infographics on a variety of subjects, and the club hangs posters throughout the school. The club works to spread awareness and educating because, as they put it, “feminism applies to everyone and not just a select few people.”
One of the biggest initiatives that the IFA has kept up is putting period products in the bathroom. While this project was started by an unrelated student for an in-class project, the IFA have kept the baskets seen in bathrooms around the school, stocked with pads and tampons. Another major initiative that they’ve undertaken in the past is the Harmony House donation drive, where they partnered with Nepean Youth in Action Club to collect things such as hygiene products, toiletries, baby items, and winter gear to be donated to Harmony House, a second-stage shelter for women who are survivors of violence.
While they’ve worked hard to start taking the steps toward a more feminist conscious student body, there’s still a long road ahead for our school. The IFA has worked with the board and school administration to start building consent culture in a push to start respecting consent within the student body. They continue to advocate for health classes to include more comprehensive consent workshops as well as working to change the environment of toxic masculinity that exists at Nepean.
In the future, the club is looking to host workshops on consent culture, continue to supply period products in bathrooms, host more discussions in their meetings, and hopefully run another Harmony House drive. The IFA is pushing to have a school engaged in intersectional feminism that doesn’t tolerate casual sexism. To learn and engage more with this wonderful club follow their Instagram, @weareifa and join their Google Classroom to learn more (the code can be found on their Instagram or on Knightwatch’s club page). They host meetings every second Tuesday in room 1204, so consider stopping by!