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ASU Womyn's Coalition advocates for gender equity from a student perspective

January 19, 2018

Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles on ASU's diverse student coalitionsLearn more about the Asian/Asian Pacific American Student CoalitionBlack African CoalitionCoalition of International Students and El Concilio.

Arizona State University's Womyn's Coalition was started about a decade ago in order to have a space on campus that advocates for gender equity from the students' point of view. 

The coalition now has several student organization affiliates on all four campuses around the Valley and continues to grow every year. One of their facilitators, Natalie Hochhaus, talked to ASU Now about the group. 

Question: What kind of activities does the coalition host?

Answer: The Womyn’s Coalition focuses much of our attention on programs and initiatives. The programs are events that we plan to advocate, educate or celebrate the diversity of our population at ASU. For example, we partnered with the student organization Voices for Planned Parenthood last spring to plan Survivor Walk, a march that aimed to spread awareness and provide resources on sexual assault.

Our initiatives are longer-running events or social media campaigns that aim to address issues that may be affecting our student population. Currently, the Womyn’s Coalition is collaborating with the Herstory Planning Committee to implement the Badass Women of ASU campaign, which aims to recognize the accomplishments of women within Sun Devil Nation. Lastly, we also participate in university-wide committees, such as the Herstory Month planning committee.

Q: What's your favorite part about the Womyn's Coalition? 

A: My favorite part about the the coalition is the community of supportive students and staff. It's nice to have a space on campus where I know that people will listen to me and where I can decompress. Since the Womyn’s Coalition is a sympathetic community rooted in gender equity, I have been able to find a community that supports my personal efforts and goals of improving students’ experiences at ASU. Furthermore, the coalition has provided me many opportunities to get involved in a variety of university-wide programs.

I have been able to work on the Herstory Month planning committee to create programs for Herstory Month in March. Through collaborating with university departments and student organizations, I have been able to meet a diverse group of people who are supportive of ensuring the inclusivity of our students. I love working with the Womyn’s Coalition and knowing that I am having a lasting impact here at ASU.

Q: What's the biggest challenge your coalition has faced while you've been here?

A: The biggest challenge the Womyn’s Coalition has faced while I have been here is combating the misconceptions around the student population we serve. There is a stigma that the coalition only serves students who identify as women. However, we are pushing for gender equity and inclusion at ASU, which affects every student on campus.

The Womyn’s Coalition is a space that men and gender non-conforming students can become involved in. Students of all gender identities are encouraged to volunteer, intern or join our executive board.

Q: What's your schedule look like?

A: As facilitator, I regularly meet with different organizations and departments to discuss potential collaborations. The Womyn’s Coalition regularly collaborates with a diversity of departments and student organizations to ensure that we are offering programs and resources that our students need. I also spend time in our office on the second floor of the Student Pavilion talking with students to receive feedback on how the coalition can better advocate for students.

Lastly, I lead our weekly executive board meetings and monthly WomynConvoWednesdays (#WCW). #WCW is where our organization affiliates meet to discuss upcoming events or address issues that have been affecting their organizations.

Members of the Womyn's Coalition and students meeting with Drag Queen Kim Chi after a collaborative event.

Q: Do you have any events coming up?

A: The annual #BadassWomenofASU campaign has recently opened for submissions of women who are badasses within Sun Devil Nation.

The Womyn’s Coalition believes that there are hidden figures everywhere within our student body, thus, the #BadassWomenofASU campaign is used to recognize the accomplishments and hard work that women here have done. Every nominee will receive a “Badass Woman of ASU” laptop sticker and select nominees will be featured at events or in social media. People can continue to submit their nominations at by Jan. 30.

Q: How can people get involved?

A: People can get involved by attending our events or participating in our initiatives. Furthermore, we have several intern and volunteer opportunities available for those who would like aid in the planning of our programs. Please contact or visit our office on the second floor of the Student Pavilion if you are interested in becoming involved.

Top photo: Executive board members meet President Michael Crow at the opening of the Student Pavilion on Oct. 5, 2017.

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