The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

An NUS Women’s Officer is unnecessary

The newly elected NUS Women’s Officer stands for nothing but criticising imaginary problems

By

The recently elected NUS Women’s Officer, Hareem Ghani, was previously the Women’s Officer for her Students’ Union at King’s College London (KCL). She was part of an anti-sexual harassment campaign called “It Stops Here” as well as being a prominent member of the Intersectional Feminist Society at KCL.

You would think she would care a lot about female empowerment, right? Well, I have taken a look at her manifesto when she was standing for Women’s Officer at KCL specifically and she proposed a range of pledges she was willing to fulfil. Surprisingly she did fulfil one of them: free sanitary products for women across KCL. Please don’t pretend that having free sanitary products for three or four years does a great deal of good for women’s rights when there are homeless women on the street who have no access to these products. A true female activist would set up a campaign to give sanitary products to those women, not to students funded by government loans. In fact, there are campaigns around other universities that do just this. Evidently, Ms Ghani is doing a sub-standard job. Other individuals are getting on with things just fine without her leadership.

Female students in the UK are privileged. Women are equal to men here in this country, under the eyes of the law and within wider British society. It is interesting how she cares a lot about promoting more women (and specifically BME women) into STEM. I have not heard of any initiatives that she has tried to implement at KCL for this. Then again, it is not like it would have made much difference anyway. Women, irrespective of whether they are BME are not, are not disadvantaged when seeking employment in the scientific and industrial sectors. Companies want the best of people irrespective of their gender and race.

Furthermore, she mentioned how, at KCL, she wanted to make university societies more “gender-inclusive”. But which specific societies, by name, were not gender-inclusive when you said that? In my experience of university, I have not seen a society that restricted membership based on gender, and there are usually always both male and female versions of sports. I would love to know more about these gender-restricting societies at KCL. I will personally come down to gate-crash those societies myself.

She says “let’s dismantle the white-cis-hetero-patriarchy together!” This nonsense just does not exist and these made-up terms just distract from more important issues in the country. It does not take much effort to dismantle something that is invisible. Yet, apparently, “part-time activists like [her]self” suffer “burnout throughout the academic year”. Indeed, I am sure it must be tiring focusing so much wasted effort on such a futile endeavour. In whatever ways the NUS wish to label our society as being deficient, I am still happy to live here. It is certainly better than anything led by her and her fellow Officers on the NUS Executive.

This year, she intends to address “black mental health”—whatever that means. I hope she is aware that mental illnesses do not discriminate on your race, gender, social class etc. She also plans to combat violence against women. But how is she planning to do this? She supports the work in having the Zellick report to be reviewed. The Zellick report is a series of recommendations on how universities should deal with sexual assault and rape cases. Worryingly, there was a briefing paper published in 2015 by the NUS (which I presume that Hareem Ghani supports) suggesting that universities should invoke their own disciplinary procedures for those accused of sexual violence and assault, even if it has not been reported or investigated by the police. This opens the door for many false allegations and punishment.

She has not been vocal on other concerns of hers—including abortion rights and abolishing prisons, to name two. For the former, if I am not mistaken but abortions are available on the NHS, right? As for the latter, what has the abolition of prisons got to do with female empowerment in universities? Nothing. This self-serving individual is using her position for her own political agenda. Thankfully, she will never succeed in her aims.

Perhaps the silence on these issues is a blessing in disguise. At least we do not have to listen to the nonsense that would come out of her mouth—which is not dissimilar to the like of Laurie Penny, and all the Guardian Women contributors. Hareem Ghani needs to take off her period-tinted glasses and realise that the reason why universities are becoming more gender-divisive is because of figures like her perpetuating myths about women that simply aren’t true.

She will probably ask me to check my privilege. I have to say that I already have: Je suis Elrica, and I am very much privileged to have been born and brought up in this country. I shouldn’t need to say I feel safe and secure as a female in this country. This is obvious to anyone with common sense. I find her stance on speaking out for all women patronising. The need for a national Women’s Officer in our universities is redundant and unnecessary. She should resign immediately.

  • She doesn’t speak for me

    Wonderful article Elrica, Hareem is an absolute melt, hates anyone who doesn’t agree to her world view.

  • Katherine

    Full of factual inaccuracies, terrible grammar, the author even readily admits that she hasn’t even bothered to *research* her subject. How on earth did this absolute mess make it past an editor? Clearly whoever is working at the Mancunion needs some serious lessons on journalistic skill.

    • student

      #I’mHolierThanThouTriggered
      #DoesNotUnderstandTheMeaningOfOpinionArticlesTriggered
      #EditorsAreBiasedAsTheyLetOpinionArticlesContrayToMineBePublishedTriggered

      • James

        You can still get good and bad opinion articles. Good ones are well-informed. This is a particularly bad one

        • student

          Ironically, it would be ill-informed to assume that Elrica works at the Mancunion or that the editors (opinion editor) actually ‘work’ in the traditional sense. They don’t, its a voluntary role. It’s work in the case, it’s voluntary, and I think the opinion editor is doing a very good job of allowing alternative viewpoints to be heard. Well done Mancunion editors, you are better than most mainstrean editors in regards to free speech.

          Don’t criticise the editor, criticise the author. And make sure that criticism is evidence based. Not simply retorts like “its ill-informed” without actually explaining the reason why.

  • Jennifer Carlisle

    I have never read a published piece of “journalism” with so many inaccuracies. I find your lack of research ppatheti and petty.

    • student

      #ExtremelyTriggered

  • feminist

    OI US ANGRY WOMEN AT KCL FEM SOC DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS ARTICLE! CHECK UR PRIVELEGE ELRICA. YOU SHUD BE ASHAMED

  • Guest

    How this made it past any self respecting editor I will never know. This isn’t journilism, this is bullying. Hareem made a comment on Twitter and now has to face this inaccurate abuse in which you belittle her values and beliefs? Aren’t you claiming freedom of speech Elrica? Or is that limited to everything other than how embarrassing you are? I’ve read all your other snide articles, targeting people or groups and it’s safe to say no one is taking you seriously but that doesn’t detract from the idea that you shouldn’t dish out what you can’t handle. I’m all about challenge but doing that in a way to undermind and devalue what someone else thinks is vile! You’d decide to write a ‘nasty’ article before you’d even ‘researched’ anything about Hareem hence this mountain out of a mole hill pile of rubbish!!! TAKE THIS DOWN!! And while you’re at it, Mancunion, seriously consider what you publish!

    • student

      #Triggered

  • BBZ

    this is simply untrue on so many levels
    check all the stats on black mental health (lol it s a term yh)
    u don’t speak for every “female” also bc u feel safe doesnt mean that everyone does (more stats if u do research uno)
    check what hareem has actually done (oh yh research)
    Literally everything in this article is inaccurate n badly researched n doesnt even have arguments to support ur points

    • student

      #triggered

  • Student

    It’s always a good sign when an article ‘triggers’ feminists who come into the comments section and yabber on about “how this is poor journalism”, “this is untrue” and other such pseudo-intellectual nonsense.
    Try and actually address the ‘inaccuracies’. Simply saying “this is untrue” is meaningless unless one applies evidence and logic.
    Well done Elrica.

    • king’s college london ifemsoc

      All of the triggered feminists are from KCL intersectional feminist society. There is a person on the facebook page going by the name of Moya Lothian-Mclean calling on people to comment on here saying how bad the article is

      • student

        I’ve just looked at her profile on Facebook.. Good lord she fits the stereotype of a hipster, affluent middle class (you can just tell from the amount of photos shes posted), “Im holier than thou” type. She literally posted in June (Im assuming after the brecit vote ) about the need to use reason and logic in arguments and “educating oneself” (always an original comment). Given that none of the critical comments have done this, I hope Moya Lothian-Mclean hasnt actually posted herself.

      • Guest

        Why are you personally attacking people who, as you rightly stated, hasn’t chosen to be part of this conversation!! Shocking!!!

    • Guest

      2,932
      6499405
      Yawn. Elrica posted on her facebook about wanting to write this article because Hareem had indirectly referenced her in a tweet. Elrica hadn’t done ANY research at the time. Is this the place GOOD journalism comes from? Hareem said something Elrica didn’t like resulting in a public bashing? If Hareem had said something Elrica disagreed with in terms of he beliefs or ideas…then maybe that would justify a response BUT Hareem mentioned how embarrassing one of Elrica videos is. We’ve all seen the videos, we’ve all cringed. I’m not anything to do with any group – I follow Elrica’s articles out of morbid curiosity as I can’t believe some of the utter rubbish she spouts! Young, naive and not too clever, springs to mind. As for your other comments about how this is nothing to do with the editor blah blah. ANY editor has a responsibility to ensure that the platform provided isn’t used to bully others and try to discredit them professionally just because they said you were dramatic!

      • student

        In summary: criticism of an NUS officer = bullying.

        I don’t agree with some of the things Elrica says either. I don’t interact with her, I don’t know her, but I do know OF her. Most people who know anything to do with SU politics at Manchester Uni know about her. But I would like to see her arguments to be criticised logically and rationally, not “its ill-informed”, “its untrue” etc etc. That in itself is helpful or intelligent, which is why I mentioned it.

        Now I’ve just gone and looked at what I can see about this NUS officer in the media, student media and on Facebook, and personally (from what I’ve admittedly briefly searched for) it isn’t that good, and some of the things Elrica has mentioned does ring true. The sanitary products for example. Comments by ‘feminists’ on this comment page has not convinced me otherwise – they don’t offer a logical argument.

        • Guest

          No, not criticism of an NUS officer = bullying. That’s not what I said. Targeting anyone because you dislike a comment they made about you and doing it in this way is. Elrica only had one aim here and that was to upset and attack someone. If the piece wasn’t credit in such a vindictive and malicious manner and was instead made to raise challenge maybe it would make for a better read.

          Do we know Hareem is ‘self-serving’ or sat at home wearing ‘period-tinted’ glasses while doing her ‘sub-standard job’? How many logical arguments are contained in this piece and are these comments (not to mention the rest) not just a personal attack? I don’t see why you anyone should bother posing a logical argument to such an illogical article.

          I agree that it would be great to give out free sanity products to homeless women and I’m sure Hareem and any other person would agree that too. I just unsure of why this HUGE issue has fallen to Hareem to address, even though she is actually a representative for the NUS. She’s addressing the issue within her remit – working with students that attend KCL. Free sanity products is a great achievement – I’d love to hear your logical argument of why this isn’t?

          • student

            I don’t have a problem with free sanitary products being giving out if thats what the NUS wantsto spend its money on -it should not be classed as a luxury item. However, its not exactly a pressing issue, it does absolutely nothing for woman’s rights, its exclusive only to privileged students who go to KCL (and given that London is such an expensive place to live, its usually only the affluent middle class who can afford to study there and can therefore largely pay for such products themselves – poor women, whether homeless or not, struggle to afford).

            What good would abolishing prisons do? What abortion rights do UK womdn not currently have? Why should mental health be focused upon solely black people?

            Not one person criticising the article has answered these questions. The NUS officer advocates these positions, yet im still to see satisfactory reason why this is rational

            • Guest

              Your point is redundant. Some of the things that Hareem is passionate about – like abortion rights and prisons – don’t necessarily impact on her work with the NUS. I’m passionate about animal welfare – doesn’t mean I stroll in to my office playing Morrissey and splashing red paint around. Hareem’s remit is her work with students which she’s doing!! The argument of rich people attend Southern Universities is everything that’s wrong with educational inequality in one sentence. Really frustrating to hear someone say that. How do you think it doesn’t do anything for women’s rights? I have the right to have a period and not pay for the pleasure, thanks! I think the argument of ‘some people are less fortunate and therefore you have no right to want change for your own situation’ is a sad state of affairs!

            • student

              To support yourself at a uni like KCL, you need affluence. You cannot survive without money in London, the rent his high, food prices is high, leisure activities iare high in price. Normal working class students know this which is why they dont apply (although some do)- and why middle class students do apply. You need money to live in London more than any other city in the UK.

              I haven’t disagreed with you on sanitary products? I agree they should not be classed as a luxury product. I do disagree that it should be free – the same as food, water, electricity isnt free. It should be cheap and if the NUS wants to give them out for free, then that is good.

              What I am saying is womens sanitary products is not a pressing issue. Its certainly not a pressing student issue either, and most importantly, it is not a evidence of a victory for womens rights. So lets not pretend it is.

            • student

              When I mean ‘pressing issue’ I mean that they are quite easy to come by, arent actually that expensive and women dont generally have problems getting hold of them (unless the shops run out). Its not as if they are illegal, or you have to sign documents to obtain them or that they are socially frowned upon. Women already have the ‘right’ to sanitary products. The fact that they are classed as a luxury item is so incredibly miniscule in the wider context of gender equality, its hardly worth mentioning. Its not a ‘victory’ for womens rights – women already have the right to sanitary products.

            • Guest

              Blah! This is bullshit. Good luck with your closed minded shit. I wish I was affluent enough to attend a good university.

            • student

              You’re ignorant if you believe that you can live in London without money. London is an expensive city to live in, you need affluence to support yourself during your studies – a part time job does not cover living costs. Hence the reason why there is a higher peoportion of middle class students at places like KCL. Not difficult concept to understand.

  • Not a idiot

    This is actually a terribly written article and it’s so obvious Elrica only wrote it because she was offended by Hareem laughing at how corny “#JeSuisElrica” is, did she even get paid for this lol

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