Society Showcase: UCL Women in Finance & Edinburgh Napier Feminist Society

Here at The Hype Collective, we love showcasing the awesome stuff that societies do to make positive change, whether this be on campus or on a wider scale. In honour of Women’s Equality Day (which falls on the 26th August this year), we contacted two societies,

asking them what they do to help women succeed in a world where the gender pay gap exists, and how they start important conversations about equality.

We chatted to Niharika at UCL’s Women in Finance society and Ester at Edinburgh Napier’s Feminist society, to get to know more about what they do.

Hype: Hi guys, thanks for talking to us today! To begin, can you give us a quick intro to your societies’ history, and why it was set up?

UCL Women in Finance Society: We were founded in December 2012 by two students who recognised the challenges of breaking into the financial industry as young women. It’s clear that there is a shortage of women in this sector, and we believe that with a little guidance and info, we can help decrease this gap and lay the right stepping-stones for women to realise and enact their potential!

Edinburgh Napier’s Feminist Society: Napier’s feminist society (recently titled the Gender Equality Society) was founded by a group of students in 2017, because they shared the values we have built our activities around – all people of all genders, sexuality, race, ethnicity and abilities are worthy and deserve the same rights as everyone else. We decided to change our name as although it made us more welcoming to male students, it also became exclusionary to students with multiple identities intersecting different ‘isms’, so this change reflects more accurately the work we do and the stances that we take. Everyone is welcome, as their full, multifaceted selves.

Hype: That’s fab, so what are the main events/activities that you run as societies?

UCL Women in Finance Society: We try and do as much as we can. We run talks, workshops and networking events, which often feature successful women in fields such as consulting and banking, to inspire confidence in fellow students. Additionally, we run a number of Outreach initiatives to aid sixth form girls with University applications. Finally, we have our own female mentorship program we use to help first years with their spring applications.

Edinburgh Napier’s Feminist Society: We run weekly sessions, consisting of small lectures on a specific topic. These range from gender and medicine, the patriarchy and capitalism, women in the media etc. We also run workshops on themes such as activism, and enjoy inviting guest speakers from other organisations to come and talk to our members. Socialising as a society is crucial, as feminist discourse often involves a lot of vulnerability, sharing personal experiences and thoughts. We also raise awareness of feminist discourse through running a weekly podcast called ‘A podcast of one’s own’, which you can find on Youtube.

Hype: What are your goals as a society?

UCL Women in Finance Society: We aim to educate, equip and empower female students by creating a supportive environment where they can confidently fulfil their career aspirations.

Edinburgh Napier Feminist Society: A place dedicated to feminist activism should be available in any institution, especially universities. Therefore, simply establishing the society was an accomplishment to us. Our second goal was, and still is, to create an environment where members can investigate, analyse and become more confident in challenging the patriarchal system, learning how it affects us in so many ways. Our final goal is to have an impact, however small or large. We are attempting to create a network of activist groups that organically interact and enforce equality.

Hype: In the UK, women statistically earn 18% less than what a man in the same role would. Does your society engage in discussions about equality in the workplace?

UCL Women in Finance Society: Our society’s very purpose is to ensure that this number declines, consciously working towards a future where gender inequality ceases to exist.

Edinburgh Napier’s Feminist Society: We absolutely do! The discussions we have in our sessions almost always venture in to this aspect of inequality. It is so relevant, and the pay gap only increases with complex intersectional identities. Black, Asian and Hispanic women suffer from several oppressive forces at once, and earn less than white women. Finance isn’t just tied to quality of life, but becomes a trans-generational issue which perpetuates wealth for men and exclusion from financial security for ALL women.

Hype: To end, in three words, can you sum up your society and your members in a nutshell?

UCL Women in Finance Society: Diverse, supportive and encouraging!

Edinburgh Napier’s Feminist Society: Fun, nurturing, and anti capitalist!

If you’re a university society and interested in working with brands to bring great benefits to your members, please contact us at Hype Collective so we can work with you. You want to talk to Helene Bentsen: helene@hypecollective.co.uk

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