We spoke to some of the inspirational women at Royal Holloway

Who run the world?

Today is International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating women globally and commemorating the movement for women’s rights. This resonates with Royal Holloway students because of our rich history with female activism, and notably our alumni includes Emily Wilding Davison. Royal Holloway and Bedford College were also both originally founded as women’s colleges. In the spirit of female empowerment we celebrated the day by speaking to some out of the many inspirational women who attend Royal Holloway today.


Rebecca Wilson

Third year English student Rebecca founded the English PEN society (which was awarded with the society crest at the socs ball last Saturday), and regularly works with university outreach programmes, particularly helping to raise awareness and money for the homeless. Rebecca recently co-organised the Sleep-out event on Founder’s Field, where those involved slept outside for the night, and successfully raised a lot of money. In addition to this, Rebecca has helped organise various events for International Women’s Day, and a protest on campus against the Muslim ban imposed by Trump.


Jasmine Kaur

 Jasmine writes poetry, does spoken word performances, and facilitates workshops for women who have been through various different forms of trauma such as: rape, sexual assault, and women who have dealt with deep-rooted issues relating to misogyny and patriarchy in their family. Jasmine has told The Tab that she “uses poetry, illustration and spoken word performances as a way to express my views and thoughts, and to articulate what I want to say in a way that is easier for others to understand. I’m heavily involved with Sikh Society and that takes up a lot of time in itself. I’m also partially involved with English PEN society.”


Eleanor Baker

Eleanor is a third year studying English Literature. She is going on to study an Mphil in Medieval Literature at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, after receiving offers from both Oxford and Cambridge. Eleanor has volunteered in Royal Holloway’s Picture Gallery since first year, and has given talks on the works there, including one this International Women’s Day on the relation between women’s rights movements and the Holloway collection with Royal Holloway Feminism Society’s president, Tressa Belesi. Eleanor has also worked as Royal Holloway’s School Liaison Intern, visiting schools across the South East and London to discuss her university experience to ensure that all students who wish to attend university, no matter what their background, consider a university education.


Holly Pyne

Holly is a third year Modern History and Politics student, and the Editor of The Orbital Magazine. Holly has been involved with The Orbital since first year, going from Deputy Features Editor through to her position now, as Editor. Alongside this role, Holly has also presented a show on Insanity Radio, presenting shows on a variety of themes including Intersectional Feminism. Holly informed us that “this role enables me to talk to amazing women every single day, and it inspires me to work even harder so that I can be considered alongside them.”


Pippa Gentry

Pippa is currently the Co-President of Societies and Media for the SU, and is running in the elections again this year to remain VP. Pippa told The Tab that she is “passionate about young people and their potential to inspire others”, and that she would love to retain her position within the SU.


Tressa Belesi

Tressa is the President of Fem Soc, and has just participated in a #strike4repeal protest in solidarity with our siblings in Ireland who are striking to repeal the 8th amendment, which criminalises abortion. The event was organised in collaboration with Thames Valley Plan C, Women of Colour Collective, and English PEN Society. Participants laid down in the south quad after a discussion in protest (you may have see the photos circulating around). Tressa then ran an event in our picture gallery with Eleanor Baker (the social secretary of English PEN) where they revisited Royal Holloway’s roots as a women’s college by exploring the collection in a guided discussion following three generations of students who experienced changes in women’s rights during the 1890s, 1960s, and present day. Tressa also helped organise an event last week with the Bedford Centre for gender studies with an outside organisatin called “Herstory” that celebrates unrecognised women in history. Tressa hopes to continue to raise money for the rest of women’s history month by selling rape alarms for charity, and will have a few more events for the rest of women’s history event.
Natasha Barrett
Natasha is currently the SU President, and is running in the elections again this year to retain her role. Natasha was previously the Royal Holloway Women’s Officer, and acted as President of the Feminism Society the year before that. Natasha has also been involved with LGBT+ Soc, and was a presenter on Insanity Radio. Aside from her participation within various societies, Natasha has written for the Huffington Post, and acted as Royal Holloway’s Spotify rep.
Steff Milne
Steff is currently our Co-President for Sports and Development, and is running in the SU elections to keep her position for another year. In addition to this, Steff is the President of the Royal Holloway Tennis Club, and has been heavily involved with the sports clubs all year whilst doing Tour of the Bears. She has also been involved with organising the healthy U food festival with the faith and cultural socs, and has done a weekend show with MTS.