Amina Marelli (23), a Master’s student of Environmental Sciences, is on her way to a meeting to plan her next event for Girls’ Club Wageningen, a project she started recently.
‘This week we have our first lecture, so I’m doing some last-minute prep. Two therapists are coming to speak to us about mental health awareness and body positivity in the age of social media. Even as adults, when we consciously reject the norm that the media presents, it can still be difficult to find self-acceptance. Later on, we would also like to deal with issues around the perception of women in science, and the bias still surrounding women’s leadership: how do we thrive in a society that remains very masculine?’
Violence against women is a problem in Italy, Amina’s home country. ‘Which is why I decided to start this project. In Wageningen, there are many clubs, but I could not find one that would fit me. I wanted to create a safe space to celebrate women, femme folks and female-identifying individuals, all our feminist allies that fight and break barriers every day. We decided to call it Girls’ Club instead of Women’s Club because it’s less restrictive. A lot of people that come along are men who wish to explore feminism.’
In Italy, feminism has kind of a bad name, says Amina. ‘As if being a feminist means being extreme. Luckily, in Wageningen, people are very open-minded and it’s very easy to get people on board if you want to start a project. I guess it’s because we all share this common trait that we want to make an impact, and we all have this yearning for improvement, be that for the environment, politics or gender equality.’
Combining her studies, the Girls’ Club and other ventures isn’t difficult for Amina. ‘It’s a lot of research and organizing, but if I’m doing something that I really enjoy, I always find the time for it.’