UW-L Hosts First Feminism Fest


Karley Betzler

UW-L students host first Feminism Fest

Karley Betzler, Sports Reporter

On Monday April 10, University of Wisconsin La Crosse students Hannah Boetcher, Cara Henney, Kate Bromley, Leah Martin, and Jenna Ives, held the first Feminism Fest. This event brought together both on-campus groups and powerful speakers to discuss topics related to feminism and oppression.

The Pride Center, College Democrats, AAUW, and College Feminists were all represented.

“We did a lot of research to make sure that everything we would be doing would be inclusive,” explained Boettcher, “We wanted to focus on the intersectionality of transgendered women or non-binary people can still be feminists.”

According to Henney, the goal of Feminism fest is to “…get women together on campus and let them know what organizations are on campus to support them.”

The event also brought in two speakers: Wisconsin State Assembly Representative Jill Billings and Uptowne Café Owner Adrian Lipscombe.

Billings began with her remembering her reaction to the she was first elected. “I was surprised at how few women were there.”

Billings spoke of her experience of struggles and success with being a woman in government and the public eye, reflecting on how a reporter once commented solely on her outfit and makeup after an important event.

Billings also spoke out about how often she sees how women are interrupted more than men and are forced to say, “Excuse me, will you listen?” to get their voices heard.

When the question came on how to address sexism, Billings stated, “We need to bring it to people’s attention. If you have a daughter, encourage her that if something is hard, keep doing it.”

Lipscombe, spoke about her success as a small business owner despite the obstacles in her life.

She spoke on pursuing a Ph.D. in architecture “My advisor told me I would never get accepted into the school because I was black and a female,” reflected Lipscombe, “So, I applied and got in on a full ride. There’s only 400 black women architects in the nation.”

Lipscombe ended with a piece of advice to young girls. “Find your space.”

Boettcher stressed the importance of taking back the word ‘feminist’ and not letting it be viewed as a bad word.

“I think the only way we’re going to change anything is if you get out of your comfort zone and you actively take a step to change things.”

Boettcher added a message for her peers. “Fellow UW-L students, take a stand. Feminism is here. Feminism is now.”