HeforShe: raising the game in the fight for gender equality

Bri Paterson reviews the HeforShe Launch Party, bringing questions as well as praise as she asks what the movement will bring to the St Andrews' events scene.


This week saw the launching of a new and interesting society called HeforShe. Made famous by Emma Watson, this movement has been growing more and more in the UK and, unsurprisingly, HeforShe has finally reached our small corner of Scotland.

The creative work that has gone into the event is apparent as soon as you walk into the door. Held in the Adamson, arguably the swankiest venue in St Andrews, the occasion epitomised class. Scattered around the room are a series of artworks from highly talented students, all beautiful and individual. Special mention has to go to Alexandra Holker’s two giant paintings at the back of the room, as well as Lizzie Carmichael’s stunning self portraits at the front. On the program are a series of musical acts from both sexes, showcasing the variety that St Andrews has to offer. While I can’t stand acapella (don’t hate me) I’m also impressed the Other Guys have shown up to support the cause and the music from Adelaide Um is beautiful.

I have to say I’m surprised at the number of men who have shown up to this event – given that St Andrews is almost 60% female they are out in their droves. However, it is worth noting that despite HeforShe’s main message of trying to get men into feminism the committee is mainly female. This is clearly something that they’re trying to work on but it still surprises me – surely if so many men are willing to turn up to the launch there’s men who would be interested in running the society?

Another question I have to ask : why exactly do we need a separate HeforShe society when we already have FemSoc? I’m all for getting men more involved in feminism – as a woman I love it when my male friends are knowledgeable about women’s rights. But do they really need their own society when they are welcome at FemSoc events? One answer I am given for this at the event is that women need FemSoc to be a safe space where women can express themselves without fear of male repression through mansplaining. Another simple answer I am given is: why the hell not? If this is a way to get men more involved in feminism surely it can’t hurt. I find myself backing this idea more and more – while not necessarily vital, it is certainly an improvement as many of the men at the event freely admitted they wouldn’t feel comfortable attending some FemSoc events.

Overall HeforShe launched successfully and I look forward to them taking their place among the other societies that strive for promoting gender equality.


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