Women’s Aid Society creating change through discussions

In order to talk about women’s experiences and advance education on their issues, the Women’s Aid Society brings students together. They also participate in philanthropy with local women’s organizations, extending their impact.


Bringing down the patriarchy…Leading a discussion, Women’s Aid Society president Sammi Libor talks to club members during a January 17 after school meeting. Libor went over plans for upcoming events.

By doing outreach and hosting open and honest discussions about women’s issues, Women’s Aid Society works to create a safe space for women and girls in school and the community.
Advisor Michelle Ruch said that the club started after a few of her students in Women’s Literature showed interest in starting a club.
“I had a couple of girls in the class come to me and say that they really wanted to start an organization supporting women and helping women,” Ruch said, “so, of course, I said anything I can do to help.”
Ruch said the students “wrote up” a proposal to get the club started.
Vice President Ava Beskar said one of the things the club does is organize club meetings where students have discussions about their experiences with sexism.
According to Beskar, one of the reasons discussions are important is because of how prevalent women’s issues are for herself and the people she knows. She feels there is so much “casual sexism” that she and her friends experience.
“Guys I know in my grade make little comments that they think are going to fly, but they shouldn’t,” Beskar said.
Beskar said that even though people normally think of sexism on more “managment and corporate” fields it exists in all work places. “It’s crazy to see how differently you are treated by co-workers and customers,” Beskar said.
She said she thought the conversations were important because she likes hearing other people’s viewpoints and experiences with sexism.
“We do a lot about double standerts and stereotypes we experience. One conversation I liked was about sexism we have experienced in our jobs,” Beskar said
President Sammi Libor said she loves their discussions because there is always a new perspective to learn about.
“Listening to other club members talk about their experiences opens my eyes to different issues we are facing in our community,” Libor said.
Club member Ava Saydam feels like the conversations make Women’s Aid Society a safe space for people to come to at school.
“As a young woman, it’s important to have that support, so I’m glad I have the Women’s Aid Society,” Saydam said.
Ruch said she thinks women’s rights have made a lot of progress, but there is still much room for improvement.
“I think we have obviously moved very far in terms of equality in many factions of society, but if you still look at [domestic] assault statistics [and] the percentages of women who are assaulted outside of the home, it is still staggeringly high,” Ruch said.
The club also does outreach related to their discussions. Last year they hosted speakers from Women’s Place, a local domestic violence response organization.
This year, the club sold candy at lunches around Halloween to raise money for local women’s shelters.
Secretary Emily Clemens said the club was important to her because of the effect it has on the community and the members.
“I like everyone in it and I like the purpose. I like that we are actually making a difference,” Clemens said.
Libor said she thinks speaking about what you believe in is important.
“I think that even our small voices in Souderton can make a difference in a few people’s lives, and even that is better than staying quiet,” Libor said.