Feminism’s next chapter
Meet the Bad Girls Collective: a book club for women who are “making moves” and “getting shit done” in Toronto.
Co-founders Kara Wark, 29, and Kate Chippindale, 28, are bringing women together over their love of literature.
The pair started a book club with eight of their friends around 2013.
Two years later, the group had grown to 25 members, making them realize how powerful the platform could be.
They brainstormed ways to make the club bigger, better and “broaden our girl gang,” said Wark. They came up with the Bad Girls Collective.
“We both felt in our separate career paths there was a tendency to be really competitive and sometimes knock each other down. Our intention and our goal is to reverse that mentality and support other women no matter what they’re doing. We bring people together,” said Chippindale.
The collective hosted its first event in April with the book All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister.
They’ve continued to meet every other month at local venues.
The event features local speakers and entertainment, which have included Torontobased women like artist Christine Flynn, singer Ralph and designer Mary Young.
The latest event at the Broadview Hotel in August sold out after reaching capacity at around 200 women.
“With everything going on in the world ... women’s rights coming to the forefront, there’s no better time to start this as a collective and invite other book clubs in the city to meet up,” said Wark.
On top of making new friends, Chippindale said, the experience has opened her mind to new perspectives, like hearing how Haruki Murakami’s Men without Women (the group’s August pick) personally affected book-club members.
“I think, too, getting people all together in a space where nobody looks at their phone — a group of 20- to 40-yearold women for several hours — and people are there in real life talking about real things,” said Chippindale. “Which is a really rare opportunity these days, given the social-media landscape and how busy everybody is. It’s been a really nice mental pause.”
Wark said the collective isn’t exclusive and encourages women — and even men — to join, alone or as part of a book club. To participate, people can buy the book and a ticket to the event.
“(It’s) femalefocused,” said Wark.“and then if the men who want to support women want to come … all for it!” Some proceeds from ticket sales go to charities, such as the Stop Community Food Centre and the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
The Bad Girl’s Collective is a book club that outgrew the living room and now attracts hundreds of women — and some men — to events where they share a love of reading and empowerment. COURTNEY GREENBURG FOR METRO TORONTO
Kate and Kara, founders of Bad Girls Collective, with the book they’re currently reading.
Lance MCMILLAN/FOR Metroc IF YOU go the next Bad Girls Collective event is nov. 1 at Saints editorial. the reading is Milk and Honey by toronto-based poet rupi Kaur. Check badgirlscollective.ca for details.