How will you mark International Women’s Day this year?
The Union and FPSE have a long and glorious history of doing A LOT for IWD each year. Originating from the Status of Women Standing Committee, now the Women & Gender Equity Committee (WGEC), FPSE along with the dedicated women at our local who had a passion for promoting gender equity usually plan and host a myriad of observances, put up posters, host discussion panels, and so much more.
But not this year.
This year, I’ve been serving as CCFA’s interim rep on WGEC, it’s beautiful work, work I care deeply about, but let me tell you… my cup runneth over and my capacity is at max. So, too would it seem is yours. We’ve not had any chance to recover from the trauma of the pandemic, and now we face greater uncertainty for our sector as financial austerity grips Post-Secondary institutions. Every day we hear ominous news and we all begin to feel like in Bilbo Baggins in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, “…sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” Which reveals a profound, if sad truth, that sometimes we have nothing left to give.
No matter what you do, your choice of IWD activity is valid and impactful. That’s what makes IWD inclusive.From this section on the Official International Women’s Day Foundation’s Website (and other content shamelessly reposted in this blog).
That’s why I cannot begin to tell you how much I relate to this and what a relief it is to have found the above quote on the IWD website. Because I was judging myself against all the things swirling in my head that I wanted to do to promote International Women’s Day. As the day wore on, I felt like crying in a corner. We all have too much to do and far too little time in which to do it, and that’s just in our WORK day. And that’s the crux of it, isn’t it? We all hold ourselves to these ridiculous, often gendered and unrealistic expectations. Then we berate ourselves for not speaking out, showing up, or doing more. Not today, my friends. Today, I’m going to embrace myself, embracing equity and I want to encourage you to do the same. That’s actually this year’s official theme, #EmbraceEquity #IWD2023 our friends from BCFED are responsible for #UnionWomen #StrongerThanEver and #DoneWaiting.
Maybe you’re feeling the same?
Or maybe you’d like some ideas about what you CAN do within your own means. Like, watch a cool video:
Or, maybe you could seek to lobby government for better legislation, services, facilities, or access.
Or perhaps you want to reflect upon and celebrate the women in your life – past and present.
Or maybe you want to coordinate a gathering of colleagues to reflect on much-needed action in the workplace.
Perhaps your artistic spirit is crying out to build and create something of vibrant meaning.
Or maybe you just want to quietly get your girlfriends together and connect over some heartwarming food, refreshments, and supportive conversation.
Again, and bolder! No matter what you do, your choice of IWD activity is valid and impactful. That’s what makes IWD inclusive.
Talking about gender issues, raising awareness, building solidarity, sharing different perspectives, offering support – are all key in the journey to women’s equality.
There is no right or wrong way to mark IWD. Just as we should never try to control how a woman can think, or what she can wear, or who she can be, or what she can say – do not let any group or individual criticize, invalidate or judge your choice of IWD activity and narrative for it is this sheer diversity of activity, and the varied participation of all, that makes IWD truly inclusive and impactful.
Here are a few curated opportunities shared by friends, Union siblings and other relations:
The Douglas College Faculty Association would like to invite you to an event we are holding at the Douglas College campus in New Westminster on Wednesday March 8th at 7:30 pm (in person or via zoom). This talk by Doctor Lauryn Oates, Executive Director of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, is both important and timely. Please click the link below for more information.
In association with the Community Partnership Network and the United Way, the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria is hosting a Gender-Based Violence Workshop that aims to support diverse women affected by domestic abuse. It will take place online on Tuesday, March 14, from 9:30 am – 12 pm. The workshop will increase participant’s awareness and capacity to support immigrant and refugee women, as well as gender-diverse folks, who have experienced gender-based violence. The workshop will include a panel of knowledgeable speakers from the following community organizations:
- The Cridge
- Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees (VICCIR) – Ana Pavon, Counsellor
- The Men’s Therapy Centre (MTC) – Nick Sandor, Executive Directo
- The Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) – Alia Smadi, Settlement Worker
Gender-based violence refers to any type of harm that is perpetrated against a person or group of people because of their factual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. To register and save your spot, please follow this link. For more information, please contact Paulina Grainger, Manager of Arts, Equity & Community Engagement at gro.airotcivaci@regniargp.
The Centre for Diversity & Inclusion has created a guide, available in the CCDI Knowledge Repository, to help organizations understand and commemorate this important date: Commemoration guide: International Women’s Day.
Please see below for additional resources that we are offering to help with your commemoration plans:
- Upcoming live webinars:
- March 9 2023 at 1:00pm ET – CCDI Webinar: International Women’s Day: Feminism is for everyone
- 9 mars 2023 à 13h00 HE – Journée internationale des femmes : Le féminisme est pour tout le monde
- Educational guide: International Women’s Day (PDF) / La Journée internationale des femmes (PDF)
Or, just give yourself a hug and take a break. You’ve earned it, and I celebrate you.
Remember, IWD belongs to everyone, everywhere. Inclusion means all IWD action is valid.
Together we can do more than imagine a gender equal world. We can build a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.
Every day this month, celebrate women’s achievements. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity all year round.
Lynelle Yutani (she/they)
President, Camosun College Faculty Association
Lynelle is a queer, leftist rabble-rouser galvanized to guard the rights of union members and is on a crusade to convince you that you get out of your Union what you put into it. Lynelle serves on a number of Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) Committees and FPSE affiliate committees in CAUT, the BC Fed, and the Canadian Labour Congress. Lynelle also serves as V.P. of her Strata Council & oversees a rooftop community garden which partners with Harvest & Share Food Aid Society to grow fresh produce for local foodbanks and community food security programs.
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