by Ethan Lee and Isaac Bailey
May 2016 (Volume 66, Issue 4)
On Friday April 8th, the Needham community was invited to the 2nd annual G.A.L.S (Girls Achieving Leadership through Service) Gala at the NHS Cafeteria. The Gala featured performances by the all-girls a capella groups Fermata Nowhere and The Treble Rebels, and also provided a chance for participants to learn about how feminism is spread in the real world through keynote speaker Amy Richards. Ms. Richards is the co-author of Manifesta, a book on how feminism can be spread in the future, and has appeared on Oprah, the O’Reilly Factor, and more. On Friday, she delivered a talk on the history of feminism, and how youths and adults alike can spread its message.
Although feminism has taken many steps forward, there is still much to work to do, as Ms. Richards explained: “There have been incredible changes. Are there still barriers? Yes. I picked up a magazine the other day that had all the heads of the airlines of the United States, and it was all white men…I would like to see the conversation continue not only where we can open up opportunities to women, but also where we can open up opportunities to men.”
Furthermore, it is events like the Gala that can motivate forward movement for feminism, even over Internet waves. Ms. Richards reflected that “ we live in such an Internet world; we live a lot of our lives and a lot happens in a virtual space. I think it’s really important to have real-time gatherings.”
The club GALS was founded in 2013 and is in its third year. It is headed by co-leaders Sophia Korostoff-Larsson and Ellie Khan. The club meets every other Wednesday morning in room 216 at 7:30 AM. Although the Gala is the club’s single big event of the year, much goes on inside the club. Co-leader Ellie Khan explained that “In terms of other events, we mostly have discussions within the group, so every meeting, we’ll have a discussion focused on a different topic, like cat-calling, or sexism within the media, or sexual assault on college campuses. In terms of big events, this is our only one of the year, but we have a lot of events internally within GALS.” According to co-leader Sophia Korostoff-Larsson, “The main goals [of the club] are to celebrate women and to bring awareness about issues on women’s rights and feminism to the Needham High School community.”