Feminist Club continues volunteer work and education

The Feminist Club offers education of gender-based discrimination and volunteer work for all McLean students


Jack Shields, Reporter

Co-presidents of the Feminist Club Kimya Shirazi and Alex Mandana formed the club after a sex scandal at McLean High School three years ago, and it has since grown into a club that does volunteer work and women’s rights protests.

“Three years ago, there was a sex scandal at McLean, involving some boys who were treating girls in the school like sex objects,” club sponsor Karen Wolpert said.

No further details were provided about the scandal.

“Some girls were outraged, and they wanted to join a feminist club, but they were shocked when they found out that a feminist club didn’t exist at McLean,” Wolpert said.

Kimya Shirazi had to fill out 12 pages of paperwork to get the Feminist Club approved by the county because no similar club existed. After the long application process, McLean High School became the first school in FCPS to have a feminist club.

“Most of the students who join the club are girls who want to discuss law and politics, or girls who have personal issues and experiences with sexism,” Wolpert said.

Members of the Feminist Club attended the Women’s March on Washington D.C. in November, the day after Donald Trump was elected president. However, the Feminist Club isn’t all about protest.

“Every year, we do volunteer work at the Patrick Henry Women’s Shelter; a shelter for women and their kids who leave abusive husbands and need to find refuge,” Wolpert said.

The Patrick Henry Family Shelter is funded by an organization called Shelter House, which runs multiple homeless shelters in Virginia.

“Most moms just gather their kids and leave their homes and don’t think to pack anything to bring with them. They forget to bring things like toiletries and books for the kids,” Wolpert said.

The primary way the Feminist Club helps the shelter is by collecting toiletries, books, and toys to replace the items that the families at the shelter didn’t bring along with them because the shelter only provides the bare necessities for its refugees.

“The club has three main goals: to raise awareness of inequality and sexism at McLean and in the US as a whole, to teach the history of sexism, and to help the shelter,” Wolpert said.

The club provides volunteer opportunities at the shelter for students at McLean, and is designed on a basis of education, not protest.

“There are no dues to join the club, there’s always food, we’re very friendly, and we need more boys,” Wolpert said.