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Hello, I am a 16 year-old junior at my high school in metro-Detroit, Michigan. As my school is just now entering it's fourth year, the variety of clubs and extracurricular activities is quite minimal. One club that I have seen in a lot of the other high schools is a "Women's Issues Club," and I would like to start one at my school. I was just wondering what you would recommend could help get the club on its feet and be successful. I already have plans for weekly discussions, but I am not quite sure where else to go with this. Any help would be much appreciated! =)

Thank you for your time, Mira

Thanks for your note to Feminist.com--and what great news that you want to start a club at your school. I think that the first step is to do your research, which is what you are doing by contacting Feminist.com I guess. The next step--depending on your school is to find out--probably from the Principals office or maybe from Student Activities--what you need to do in order to be a recognized club at your school. For instance, do you need a faculty sponsor? (If there isn't an obvious teacher for instance, one that you like or trust, think about a history teacher or social studies or English--someone who might have a reason to be interested in such a club--though I think that everyone should be interested.) Do you need a certain number of signatures, etc...? (You probably have lots of friends that you could start with, but then you could also consider those who might be interested--post flyers, etc...)

Also, you will probably have to come up with a name--something like "women's issues" or you could be more creative and thus potentially more inviting to those who don't yet think they are open to women's issues.

It's good to get the stamp of approval from your school--that way, you will have access to a meeting space, and maybe even some money to do your work. It might want to start by having a meeting of introduction--and then introduce your weekly issues meetings at that meeting. Don't be frustrated if you don't get a lot of people at once or if the attendance rate fluctuates. That is common. Also, when picking issues it's best to pick those that are the closest to home--for instance those that impact your school--like women in sports. This is likely to hold people's attention. Also, you can pick current events--for instance, what is going on in Afghanistan with the Taliban forcing women to stay in their homes or the presidential election--you could rate the presidential candidates as well as candidates in your area on their support of women's issues. (If you choose this, there are lots of issue specific groups that can help you with this research.) Also, you can do actions in your community. There are lots of choices, but you know best.

I hope that helps--I also have some "how to organize" guidelines that were prepared by the Third Wave Foundation. If you send me your mailing address, I'd gladly send a copy your way. Good luck with your efforts and I'm sure that other people will be thankful for your initiative, too.


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