70 eager and curious young feminists attended the inaugural Auckland Young Feminists Hui, held at AUT on a beautifully sunny Saturday, December 2nd. This Hui was aimed at high school students interested in feminism and to support the formation of a network of feminist clubs in high schools across Auckland.
Founded in 2017, Auckland Young Feminists (AYF) is a society run by a group of passionate women who intend to foster a more equitable, inclusive, and empowering culture amongst our youth. We work directly with high school feminist clubs to support them in their pursuits. The organising committee for the Hui and AYF comprised of representatives from YWCA Auckland, National Council of Women, the Auckland Women’s Centre, and the PPTA.
Attendees got to attend their choice of a range of workshops – Feminism 101, How to Activate Young Feminists in Your School , Gender Issues in Climate Change (run by YWCA Aoteaora/NZ Board Member Niamh O’Flynn), How to Raise Support for your Cause, Women in Urbanism, Gender Equal NZ, Women’s Rights in Work, Family Violence Awareness, and Rape Myths and the Media.
Bookending the workshops were a duo of amazing speakers. Starting the day was Kiritapu Allan, (Labour MP for East Coast). She spoke to her journey from small town to her political career paying tribute to the strong circle of women around her who supported and encouraged her.
Dr Judy McGregor (Head of the School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, AUT) inspired the audience with stories of her life-long activism and dedication to social justice that started in high school and saw her getting suspended for writing a letter to the Rotorua newspaper decrying the racist policies of her school.
Closing the Hui, was Green MP Golriz Ghahraman who spoke of her introduction to feminism watching her mother and aunts protesting the forced wearing of the hijab in 1979. She said “Feminism and Human Rights aren’t Western concepts. They are universal”.
Dr. Melani Anae, (Senior Lecturer, Director of Research, Pacific Studies, Te Wananga o Waipapa, University of Auckland) spoke of her involvement in the revolutionary Polynesian Panthers (the anti-capitalist movement of the 70’s formed in response to Maori and Pacifica oppression) and feminism from a Samoan perspective.
All in all, it was an energising and positive event that was the best way to kick-start the AYF movement. Stay tuned!