As an aging feminist I am often asked to speak about the progress we have made as feminists and how much is left to do. It gets depressing sometimes because of the persistence of violence against women and economic inequality. I am despairing of the deep gendered divide in children's toys and the heavy load placed upon young women expected to be beautiful, thin, successful, a great mom and too often chief cook and bottle washer at home. Not to mention daily viewing the old Reform party anti-feminists running the country.
The history of IWD is a history of the struggle of ordinary women to throw off the burden of the oppression and discrimination they faced. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. The first National Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909 to demand right to vote, be trained, hold office and an end to discrimination on March 19.
Last year I spent December 6 in Montreal to attend a conference on the 20th Anniversary of what in Quebec they call Polytechique. Below are my reflections following the conference and picking up on some of the extraordinary discussion that took place there. We fought hard for December 6 to be marked every year as a day of action against violence against women and it continues to be even by women and men who were not yet born on that terrible day. This year, like every year for the last 21st I wil
Today the Voice of Women For Peace celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a free conference at Hart House and a gala dinner.
My last book Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution starts in the early 1960's with the emergence of an extraordinary group called Voice of Women for Peace that challenged the anti-communist monoculture of the Cold War with a warm embrace directed towards the women who were supposedly our enemies. The Voice of Women, as pioneer feminist Ursula Franklin points out below was the seedbed for the feminist revolution in Canada and we were lucky it came before preparing the ground in many ways.
With abortion back on the front pages, I am reproducing here a tribute from legendary feminist columnist Michele Landsberg to a hero of the pro-choice movement Norma Scarborough. It was delivered at a recent memorial to Norma, who died last year,
"Our dear friend Norma was the queen of the unexpected, the doyenne of the doubletake. When I first saw her on the television news, in the mid-‘80s, I was astonished by the vision: in defiance of a mob of yelling protesters, mostly male, all looking as thuggish and menacing as Mike Harris, there stood Norma –calm, sturdily mainstream, unflustered, with her crown of glistening white hair, introduced as a mother of five and a grandmother of multitudes. She spoke in cheerfully moderate tones about a woman’s right to reproductive choice, as though it were the most natural and sensible thing in the world, which, of course, it is.
Happy International Women's Day: Where are we 40 years after Royal Commission on the Status of Women
It is International Women’s Day 2010, forty years after the Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. A generation has passed, my generation. In some ways, there has been a revolution in the status of women since that time.
Yesterday when I heard that Stephen Harper was suddenly taken with a desire to promote maternal health as the key issue for the G8, I have to admit to being perplexed. I don't think I've ever heard Harper talk about women's issues. Behind the scenes his government, which of course means him, has not only cut funding to most women's groups and the most progressive NGOs like Alternatives and Kairos but have eliminated the word "equality" from their women's bureau. Harper is no doubt that most anti-feminist PM we have ever had.
Like almost every woman and many men I know, December 6 1989 was a day I will never forget. I heard the news on the radio in my car. I guess I was driving home from work. It was that time of day.
On May 12, British Columbians will vote in a referendum on electoral reform that will have an enormous impact across Canada. They are raising money online to put the ad on TV