After relaunching last September, Women in Work, a student-run society aiming to encourage female involvement in all careers, has decided to disaffiliate from the Students’ Association.
President of Women in Work Alexandra Holker said, “We feel that [the Students’ Association] no longer supports us in the way that we need.”
The non-profit organisation is sponsored by the consulting company Accenture and Hotel du Vin, and expends a large proportion of its funds on large-scale events which seek to engage women in St Andrews.
On 18 October, Women in Work is hosting “Women In International Development and Foreign Policy” at Hotel du Vin, where six high-ranking women from NGOs, charities, and governments will come to St Andrews for discussion, networking, and Q&A with students.
With events like this, speakers’ expenses and venue hire are amongst several of the costs that the society takes into account when distributing their annual budget.
Ms Holker continued, “The way that the Union finances are set up means that we are often tied to quite bureaucratic regulations. We want to be completely honest and transparent.”
On 7 October, the society officially voted to disaffiliate at a meeting with all members.
In an email to Women in Work members, the society stated of their decision, “The Union has been a longstanding supporter of Women in Work since our inception as Women in Office back in 2014.
“Women in Work has become an incredibly successful society and has grown exponentially in both size and reputation … We feel the time has come to consider running independently from the Union if we wish to achieve all we envision for our society in the future, continue to grow and put on the amazing events that we do.
Having voted to disaffiliate, the technical process of separating from the Union will transpire in two weeks, commenced on Sunday 7 October.
This development in disaffiliation from the Students’ Association runs parallel with the society’s recent launch of The Network, which they advertised as a “female-focused community of like-minded individuals.”
Ms Holker noted that the society’s aim is to facilitate networking opportunities for women in St Andrews, something which she recognised to be lacking in the town.
With no extra cost for membership after paying the standard Women in Work membership fees, prospective members are required to submit a short application to join The Network.
When applying, The Network asks standard questions like a student’s degree and whether or not they have paid standard membership fees, but it also asks students what sector or industry they are thinking of entering and how they feel Women in Work can help them.
Membership to The Network is rising steadily and has reached 85 as of last week.
Differing from the standard membership, The Network is a gateway for private receptions with guest speakers, intimate dinners, workshops, and mentoring schemes.
Ms Holker said, “Women in Work and The Network are entirely inclusive and intersectional — we want everyone, regardless of background, to be able to access opportunities.”
The official launch party of The Network took place on Tuesday 9 October 2018 at The Adamson, where all-female music acts accompanied a raffle and cocktails.
It will supplement a busy forthcoming year as the society prepares to run a variety of events, from largescale speakers specialising in different working sectors to collaborations with the University, the Careers Centre, and fellow societies, such as HeForShe St Andrews.