MEOW club calls for gender equality

MEOW is not a cat club; it stands for the new organization on campus called the Mercyhurst Equality of Women.

Lauren Moss, the president of MEOW, was one of many females in her Psychology of Gender class.

Her inspiration to form the club came when the professor asked the students if any of them were feminists and only a few raised their hands. Moss was surprised that not a lot of people, females in particular, stood up for feminism.

She decided to take charge and create a club to educate people and raise awareness about gender issues.

Moss started MEOW with the help of several professors.

Lena Surzhko-Harned, Ph.D., was surprised that there was not already a student group dedicated to this topic. She was very happy to be the adviser and thought it would be a great experience to be a part of MEOW.

Moss met Caitlin Handerhan, who became the club’s vice president, in a class last spring, and they decided to work together to create a gender equality group on campus because they were both very passionate about the subject.

The mission of MEOW is to strive for gender equality for both males and females socially, economically and politically.

Handerhan pointed out, “In a world where women make less on the dollar than their male equivalents, or only hold a small percentage of seats in our Congress, we are striving to shed light on the fact that gender equality doesn’t exist, even in the 21st century.”

Moss said the club hopes “to reach out to Mercyhurst students, the community and on a global scale.”

MEOW is currently working with the school’s yearlong observance of Exploring Gender & Relationships by bringing in several speakers.

It also plans on playing films and taking action by becoming involved in things like the Big Brothers & Big Sisters organization. It hopes to educate younger people about gender equality and the importance of having a positive self-image.

Its first activity is a guest speaker from Melbourne University, Dr. Lauren Rosewarne. She is the author of several books, and she will be delivering a lecture at Mercyhurst in Hirt 314, on Oct. 11, at 4:30 p.m. titled “The Sisterhood of Infidelity.”

MEOW is currently still working to gain students’ interest.

Although the club has received some backlash from males about the club being against males, the club “thrives for gender equality all across the board,” said Surzhko-Harned.

Moss explained, “MEOW is not a man hating club. We are simply just trying to raise awareness about gender equality.”

MEOW stands for equality of both genders, and the club welcomes anyone who is interested in joining, males included. So far they have spread the news by word-of-mouth, and soon there will be posters around campus encouraging students to join their group.

If you are interested in the club, check out its Facebook page, MEOW: Mercyhurst Equality of Women, or you can email the club at

MEOW’s next meeting will be held Thursday at 8:15 p.m. in 211 Old Main.