by Hannah Stafford, News Editor

Feminism has been one of the hottest topics among Americans over the last few years and one of the most divisive among Christians. The chasm between faith and feminism has repeatedly been driven deeper as radicals on both sides gain public attention. Junior Sami Hall, however, hopes to consolidate these ideals through the creation of RISE, a Christian feminist club on campus.

“I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about feminism, especially within the Christian community,” said Hall. “Feminism is simply the belief that women and men are equal, and I think this belief aligns quite well with Christianity.”

The RISE charter, which has been approved by the administration, states, “The primary purpose of this club is to provide women and men on campus the space to engage in community with one another with the purpose of discussing issues that specifically affect women and how those issues can be addressed.”

Specific issues that might be addressed include the wage gap, women in leadership and ways to integrate faith and feminism.

Hall and fellow RISE officer Faith Neece believe that it is vital for these and other issues to be addressed by Christians.

“I want to be a part of this [RISE] because my beliefs about feminism are rooted in my faith,” said Neece. “I do believe that, while women have made so many advancements in society, we are still not treated as fully equal in many realms. I want to take part in shaping our campus and shaping our society, and I’m excited to do that in a faith-based context.”

While feminism is certainly rooted in the issue of women being treated unequally, both Hall and Neece want to emphasize that this issue also affects men.

“Feminism is about uplifting women and men,” Hall said. “The extreme and hate-filled minority that posit women are better than men or that issues affecting men don’t matter has managed to cloud the [feminist] movement as a whole…. When women’s issues are addressed and seen as important, it does not take time or space from issues affecting men. Instead, the environment becomes one of acceptance, understanding and support for both women and men. My vision for RISE includes women and men working together to address inequality.”

She emphasized that RISE does not conform to radical feminism. She also went on to add that RISE membership will not be exclusive to women, but that the club will welcome anyone who wishes to be involved.

In addition, the administration has been very supportive, Hall said, and she has received mostly positive feedback from students, though some negative responses have arisen as well. Neece hopes that RISE will open people up to discuss their concerns, thus uniting the student body.

“RISE will seek to celebrate diversity of belief and open up discussions on women’s issues that will hopefully bring our campus together even more,” said Neece. “[It’s] not so everyone believes the same thing, but so that we can grow as a community and spur each other on in our pursuit of truth.”

RISE will have its first campus-wide event in mid-April. The event will feature a faculty panel, including men and women from multiple departments, and will discuss and attempt to define biblical masculinity and femininity. Contact Sami Hall or Faith Neece with interest or questions regarding RISE.