First feminist group in UST seeks official recognition

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Photo grabbed from Tomasina's official Facebook page.

A FEMINIST group is seeking official recognition from the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) as the first “intersectional feminist organization” in the University.

Tomasina, an organization calling for gender sensitivity and protection for Thomasian women, intends to educate students about the oppression women are experiencing based on race, class, ability and ethnicity.

Stef de Guzman, Tomasina founder and president, said her experience from an abusive relationship inspired her to form the organization.

“I decided to form Tomasina the same reason why I want to be a lawyer: to provide the help I never got at that time in my life [and to] protect women because I know somewhere out there, within our own community, someone is going through the same thing that I did,” de Guzman told the Varsitarian in an email interview.

“I don’t ever want them to feel that they are alone or that they can’t leave or speak up and stop the cycle of abuse. I want them to know that they can, and we are here to help and to listen,” she said.

De Guzman said the organization would focus on spreading five advocacies relating to intersectional feminism in the University, namely violence against women, gender equity, arts and culture, students in action and mental health.

“The Thomasian community can certainly improve on dealing with issues that are gender-sensitive. I think understanding the differences in roles and relations among genders are not deemed important in the community yet,” she said.

Gender equity council

Tomasina also plans to launch the first University Gender Equity Council (UGEC) to render opinions not only about sexual harassment cases but also on gender issues.

Aside from de Guzman, the UGEC will be composed of the organization’s adviser, an elected faculty gender advocate and elected gender advocates for every college.

“If the victim wants to raise the issue before the [Students Welfare and Development Board (SWDB)], Tomasina will facilitate the process of the filing of complaint and constantly check up on and communicate with the victim. The UGEC will render its advisory opinion on how it believes the SWDB/OSA/relevant office concerned should tackle the issue,” de Guzman said.

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