Why We Focus on Women

Editor-in-Chief Madison Miszewski is a second year in History with interests in migration, queerness, and diplomacy. 

This piece is an unconventional one to put on The Clandestine. Usually we would respond to a request of this nature in a message or a meeting – but the staff of The Clandestine felt this was a discourse we could and should address on a much larger scale. In the last week, The Clandestine Facebook page received a message from a reporter at Roar News inquiring about the nature of our manifesto. The response to the message pictured below will address the issues raised by this reporter not only from The Clandestine, but the rest of Women & Politics and Womxn in Physics – all other societies focused on tackling structural exclusion of non-male people. So, to this reporter and all else who wonder why we focus on women, here’s a response from The Clandestine, KCL Women & Politics, and KCL Womxn in Physics.

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[Text of message: Dear Madam/Sir, I am a new journalist for Roar News, and I have been looking forward to getting information about your society in order to write an article about your new manifesto. I understand there have been some contention around your apparent exclusion of male issues in your mission statement, and I was wondering whether what your detailed answer to such contentions. Thank you for your time!]

 

The Clandestine

This question is one that I have had to answer about once a week since the start of this academic year, and that’s because it’s not a bad question. It’s one that deserves to be addressed. First, I would like to address that our manifesto is not exclusive of ‘male issues’. To quote from our ethos, “The Clandestine is named for every marginalized person that has been unwillingly sequestered to the private sphere. … [It] will be a platform to lift those who have been forced into secrecy, up into that which is public.” These words are not exclusionary, but fundamentally inclusive. Our manifesto is based upon ideals of inclusion and intersectionality. But I believe that this reporter and that all else who have questioned our publication mean to inquire about the lack of male Regular Contributors and staff members. We have no male members of staff at The Clandestine, and this is because we are trying to become a space of revolutionary speech for non-male people. Men don’t face the same structural oppression that non-male people do, they are able to write for publications like Roar News without having to write about women’s issues. Non-male people are given significantly fewer opportunities to write without addressing their gender, or in turn to write with authority on their gender. The Clandestine exists to grant our writers those opportunities. They are able to write about women’s issues, foreign policy, personal narratives, domestic opinions, and even male issues. In the same way that men write about women’s issues in mainstream media, non-male people here have the space to write about men’s. There are places for men to write, and we don’t advocate for our practices to be universal. We exist to account for the structural exclusion of non-male people from platforms of public speech, this is our ethos, and this is what we will continue to strive to achieve.

Women & Politics

The Women & Politics Society as a whole is not focused on male exclusion from our events, our discourse, or our overall society. Our manifesto acknowledges the structural disadvantage women are at in the international political system, and our society focuses on the discussion and resolution of these issues. Men simply aren’t at the same structural disadvantage, showcased by the inherently disproportional number of men in positions of political power in developing and developed nations alike. We exist ‘to increase and enhance the role and leadership of women in politics on both a local and global level’. Men are welcome at our events, and welcome to engage in the discourse we have as a society. Men are welcome to learn about the topics we discuss, and men do. But at our core, the Women & Politics society exists to address a system that structurally disadvantages women on both a local and global level.

Womxn in Physics

In a patriarchal society where most spaces are dominated by men, we feel the need to create a safe space for people that don’t identify as such, particularly in a field such as physics. Womxn are an underrepresented group in Physics – at school level, university level and particularly in academia. Our society aims to make everyone aware of gender biases and their affects on women in order to tackle gender stereotypes. We create spaces to provide womxn with an opportunity to get together and try and build a community, to be able to support, encourage each other and ultimately combat isolation. Spaces like these are vital in order to start conversations that may not be otherwise possible. Groups like these exist because there is not, overall, a safe place for these conversations to happen in the real world. People in these groups generally have a lot to talk about when it comes to the discrimination and micro-aggressions they face on the regular from every part of their lives. Spaces like these provide an escape, an outlet from these constant battles they have to face day in, day out, where even simply existing is draining.

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