We wrap up our International Women’s Day Campaign with a Reflection piece on Gender and “the Cyprus problem” by Sophia Papastavrou in which she encourages those with a vested interest in peace building processes to think critically and explore openly the consequences “resisting gender” will bring to Cyprus.
We would also like to draw attention to a Blog by Rachel Warden, the Gender Justice Program Coordinator at KAIROS, which was posted on rabble.ca on International Women’s Day. In the piece, Rachel discusses the work Naty Atz, a highly respected defender of human rights in Guatemala, is doing to raise awareness about the impact resource extraction is having on Indigenous peoples’ lives.
Please take some time to read both articles.
Much has been accomplished over the years in the fight for equality and we celebrate our achievements, as we learn from the experiences that were not so successful. We also remember that while much ground has been covered, the journey is long and the road to change is paved with dust; sharp bends; speed bumps; potholes and roadblocks. Despite this, we keep moving forward knowing that we don’t journey alone. Knowing, that even when we can’t see it, change is happening and progress is being made.
In the course of the last two weeks we profiled several activists and activist organizations who are tackling inequalities in their local and global communities:
- Diane Redsky, the Executive Director at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Inc, shed light on the issue of Sex Trafficking in Canada, the risk factors involved and work that is being done to end this form of modern day slavery. We are reminded in her interview that “We all have the power to work together to make Canada a safer place for women and girls.”
- The Grandmothers Advocacy Network discussed how the philosophy of Ubantu guides the work they do in Sub-Saharan Africa and they invited anyone (including those who are not grandmothers :)) with their passion for social justice, equality and human rights to join them.
- In her interview, Jessica Chandrasheka, calls our attention to the fact that in Sri Lanka, justice remains elusive for many of the victims and survivors of the Tamil Genocide. She discusses the importance of solidarity activism and reminds us that “we must continue to speak out even when our voices are not always heard, because the struggle for peace and justice can unfortunately be a long and arduous one.”
- Amnesty International shared with us how they commemorated international women’s day in Ottawa, in Toronto and in Regina. They have several International women’s days’ priority items that run through the Spring which means that there is still time to take action! Please read their interview for more information.
- Sarah Tuckey talked about the role of education in creating social change, the important role social media platforms are playing in consciousness raising and advocacy efforts and the importance of walking the talk: “If individuals, groups, and entire nations call for gender equality, we need to come up with ways to create true equality and balance in our communities and beyond”
- The Nobel Women’s Initiative discussed some of the projects they are working on, and left us with this inspiring quote by Jody Williams:“Worrying about an issue is not a strategy for change. Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things when they work together”. They also left us with this activism action plan: Get involved, get organized and celebrate every small step of success.
- And finally, in her interview, which was posted earlier today, Corrina Keeling talked about the importance of owning privilege, being open to learning, being open to change and the importance of self-love and community support in social justice movements.
We hope you enjoyed reading the interviews as much as we enjoyed profiling them.
As we noted at the beginning of the International Women’s Day blog series, the main purpose of the campaign was to draw attention to some of the work that is already being done to make the world a better place, in the hopes that it would inspire and motivate others to step up, get involved and take action. You may choose to walk besides the change-makers profiled above (most of the organizations welcome volunteers) or may choose to create your own path, you may also decide to do both. The important thing is to keep moving (and find rest along the way) because “a journey of a thousand miles, starts with a single step” (Lao Tzu).
Let’s keep moving forward, towards our goals in 2015, and beyond.
With much gratitude,
Jonea Agwa (WPSN-C, Intern)