DSU Women’s Collective weekly coffee house is a go
By Jessica Berget, Staff Writer
Since the closing of the Women’s Centre in 2013, Douglas College did not offer a safe space where self-identified women could come together for emotional and peer support. With the DSU Women’s Collective weekly coffee house, women—or anyone who wishes to join—now have that space.
The first meeting of the Women’s Collective weekly coffee house, facilitated by the Women’s Collective Executives Prabh Hundal and Telka Pesklevits, kicked off on January 17. With many eager and vocal participants (and with the aid of free coffee and Timbits), conversations flowed around why women aren’t in higher level positions, why women contribute their success to outside factors rather than themselves, and their favourite desserts.
“Self-identified women don’t have a space to get together or meet. It’s important to have a space to be exposed to ideas of feminism. [Some people] learn that in class, but not everyone does. I think that it is very important to be living in this society and to be exposed to such ideas and to have a space where they can learn more about [feminism] and discuss it,” said Hundal.
The weekly coffee house provides a safe and supportive space for all self-identified women to discuss ideas of politics, feminism, society, and culture. The collective also provides a learning space for people who wish to become more educated on women’s issues, women’s health, and current events.
“I went to this conference at UBC about sexual assaults on campus and I realized that we don’t have such a safe space here where women can come and feel comfortable and share their experiences and their stories and to learn and support each other. Every other campus has one space like that, but we [didn’t],” said Hundal. “It is kind of sad that most women on campus don’t know where to get resources or where to get help, and if they have a question they can come talk to us.”
“Unfortunately, things like sexual assault do still happen, and I think it can sometimes get brushed under the rug, and there needs to be a space for people that that happens to. Even if they don’t want to talk about it, just to feel like if they can if they want to or need to,” added Pesklevits. “I also think that sexual and physical health can be portrayed negatively for women. They’re just not talked about, and being able to have somewhere where women can feel comfortable talking about that with each other is really important.”
The collective aims to provide support and a safe space for women, and it does exactly that. The coffee house is an ideal place for anyone who wants to discuss feminist issues and ideas, or wants to learn more about it.
“Everyone’s allowed in the Women’s Collective, so long as they maintain a safe space,” Pesklevits said.