The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


Leaning into Her-Story

Stevenson clubs initiates activities in observation of women’s history month
Yumna Ali-Khan
Lean in Feminism works to make an assortment of buttons. These will later be sold for their fundraiser for A Safe Place throughout the month of March.

Every Thursday in room 7006  Lean In Feminism members’ voices and movements fill the space. Amidst the bustle, members divide into table groups, each with a number of activities. While some involve themselves in discussion and others choose hands-on activities, they are all dedicated to celebrating Women’s History Month.

From March 1 through March 31, Women’s History Month works to embrace and represent women’s contributions within American society that often remain unacknowledged or unheard. Similarly, Lean In Feminism dedicates itself to women’s empowerment, working to provide a comfortable space for students to discuss feminist issues in a variety of contexts. In the end, the two, Lean in Feminism and Women’s History Month, complement each other in a way that makes the month of March a period of significant activism and representation. 

“For the month of March, we are making posters of famous people,” Hannah Tsai ’26, president of communications, said. “It could be about any famous woman that has not been acknowledged. We make posters about the theme and then hang them around school as a way to spread awareness.”

Lean in Feminism uses posters as just one of the ways to reach the student body and create a meaningful impact within the school. However, sponsor Jenessa Gerber aspires to take their impact beyond the walls of Stevenson. 

Since it is currently Women’s History Month, we engaged in our fundraising activities during club meetings, which include making buttons that we give as for donations,” Gerber said.

Making buttons is one of the main ways Lean in Feminism works to expand their outreach outside their weekly meetings. In fact, Javin Wilkins ’27 notes the button activity as one of his most memorable experiences as part of the club.

“Button making was probably one of my favorite activities,” Wilkins said. “I feel like that’s because it felt a lot like activism since we could see the outcome of what we were doing. Also, I enjoy the interaction and connection involved with trying to fundraise.” 

With the effort of Wilkins and other Lean In Feminism members, much of the group was able to feel and cherish the change they’re creating. However, the group doesn’t work on its own, as Tsai highlights how working with other clubs was a rewarding and moreover enlightening experience. 

“I really liked asking other clubs what their ideas [were] and what they did during their meetings,” Tsai said. “Also, merging what we do and what they do together is really fun. For one, we worked with knitting and crochet club last semester so we talked about pink collar workers, which are jobs [typically service-oriented] that are mainly held by women.”

For many Lean in Feminism members, specifically Tasi, Lean in Feminism collaboration is a learning opportunity to better grasp what they could explore and do as a club. In fact, according to Lean in Feminism’s president of engagement Laksmi Govindarajan ’25, March becomes a critical opportunity in which they use these learning opportunities to amplify and try new things in correlation with their goals for women’s representation.   

“March activities are completely dedicated to learning, planning, designing, and carrying out our fundraiser because it is truly feminism in action to honor Women’s History Month,” Gerber said. “Over the years of the club’s existence, Lean In has fundraised every March, raising thousands of dollars for the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) to fund girls’ education in Africa.”

During Women’s History Month, Lean in Feminism capitalizes on the benefits of fundraising to make a meaningful impact. In fact, according to Govindarajan, this year’s fundraiser supports a different cause. 

“One of the big things that we did this year was the tradition of the March fundraiser,” Govindarajan said.In the past we’ve been fundraising for a campaign for female education, but we wanted to go a lot more local. So we chose a domestic violence shelter. It’s called A Safe Place inside Illinois.”

To Govindarajan, localizing their fundraising makes the group’s impact more personal to the local community. Furthermore, as an aspiring activist, Govindarjan admires the club’s fundraising and activities, which have helped develop and familiarize her with the ins and outs of being a feminist. 

“I’m always learning something new during meetings since they’re rooted in discussion-based presentations,” Govindarjan said. “Personally, I really enjoyed when we went into reproductive rights as it gave me a more enhanced and nuanced understanding of the topic.”

For members like Govindarajan, Lean in Feminism provides an educational environment that bolsters their understanding of feminist topics. In fact, for Gerber, it was this characteristic that made her gravitate towards her position as sponsor. Within her role, she hopes to create a comfortable space that would serve as a channel for feminists wanting to express themselves. 

“Ultimately, I’m a feminist; I’m a big believer that feminism is bolstered and encouraged and strengthened in the community of other feminists,” Gerber said. “So this is really important as a space where we can loudly and proudly say that and talk about the struggles of what it still means to be a feminist and do work in the world as feminists.”

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