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Student-led group seeks to tackle 'ingrained gender norms'

University students form organisation to tackle gender inequality and question gender norms

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
15 March 2016, 12:20pm
(Left to right) Students Johann Agius, Melanie Bonnici and Emily Mifsud with Isabelle Camilleri from the Department of Gender Studies
(Left to right) Students Johann Agius, Melanie Bonnici and Emily Mifsud with Isabelle Camilleri from the Department of Gender Studies
A group of university students have formed an organisation that aims to tackle gender inequality and question gender norms that are "ingrained in Western society".

"Gender equality is often brushed off as a non-issue in the Western world, but sexism is so ingrained in our society that we hardly even question or acknowledge it," student Melanie Bonnici said at the launch of Gender Equality Malta (GEM) at the university campus.

"For example, it's common for girls to be singled out for praise when they do well in subjects that aren't typically associated with girls. We want to question these norms that have been internalised within us and turn them on their heads."

She confirmed that the group, which will apply for official NGO status, plans to branch out of the university and promote gender equality on a national level.

Johann Agius, the only male in GEM's executive, urged men to join him in advocating feminism.

"Unfortunately, men are often too scared to speak about feminism, but I can clearly state that I am proud to be a male feminist," he said.

The group was formed following an initiative by Insite, the university's media organisation.