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Gender Equality Network Canada – Youth Panel Discussion – Halifax 2018


(upbeat music) – [Keetha] The first question is, how does inequality impact
your and your community? – Okay, I think inequality impacts me in many different ways. It can impact me in the ways in which I go out and get a job, it can impact me in my
day-to-day communications and relationships with people. The way that people see me. People not really recognizing
the needs that I have. So I’m not only a Muslim woman or the child of an immigrant or a settler. I’m also a racialized woman, a woman with an invisible disability, and people don’t often see that. So when I’m accessing spaces, there’s many inequalities
that I’m constantly facing, based on the intersections of my identity. And so I think inequalities
have impacted me in many ways and will continue to do so, unless we start talking about equity. So, we can’t actively get
rid of these inequalities without talking about equity. I need an equitable framework for me to have access to anything. I don’t need equality, I need equity based off of the
intersections of my identity. You know, it’s not just
that I need a halal meal, it’s not just that I need
to have a comfortable chair. I need the space to be an
accessible space to me. So talking about things like, you know, coming face to face with
racism or white supremacy or, you know, sexism at its play, I need spaces that are going
to acknowledge that these exist and that are gonna hold me
and continue to hold me, and the kind of person that
I am and my identities, instead of, you know, ignoring that. I often feel that me and my identity and what I bring to the table
is always an afterthought. In that, you know, people who are like me or feel or identify with similar
intersections of identity, often feel like they’re
always a second thought. They’re not always prioritized. So, it’s often when
you’re talking to people with disabilities who are, who
have invisible disabilities that feel like that
conversation never happens because people just automatically assume that I’m an able body
and I can carry things from a thousand miles away
to wherever it needs to go. But that’s not the case, cause I’ve had like two spinal surgeries and people constantly like “Oh really?” Yeah, really, you know. “Are you sure you were born in Halifax?” Yeah, you know. Pretty sure. You know, you can ask my mom, but I don’t need to, you know, go around with a birth certificate to prove to folks that, you know, I was born and raised
here in Miꞌkmaq territory. So, it’s simple things like that. So yes, inequality
impacts my every day life. Cool. (applause) (laughing) – [Keetha] So, Bria, same question. – Could you repeat the question, sorry. – [Keetha] Absolutely. How does inequality impact
you and your community? – Well (chuckles). Yeah, I almost feel like
you took so many of, like I resonate with so
much of what you said. Yeah, there are like many
intersections in the way that inequality shows up in my life. Especially as an artist
where art is only seen as kind of, like, I feel like
through a pretty narrow scope, especially in Nova Scotia. Yeah, I feel like
inequality has impacted me in education, in terms
of, like, health also. I also live with chronic illness and so, yeah, dealing with things like racism and homophobia and also like inaccessibility, often, is just like pretty constant. But also I guess, yeah, I feel like you totally said so much of how I feel. (laughing) But I guess I can add that I do love being in relationships with people that are like willing to
challenge the status quo to make room for other people, yeah. – Thanks. (applause) – [Keetha] (speaking in foreign language) – I’m going to speak in French now. I think that we see finally, actually, we aren’t just one identity, which I can speak to from
my personal experience. Um, I can speak a lot on this subject. But it’s also this way that we categorize people into boxes and we predispose identities on people. And it’s how it impacts the communities. In general, I think we still have a lot of work to do to understand how equality, or rather, inequality, affects communities and the way it negatively affects our communities. I grew up in a lot of communities, I moved around a lot. And now I’m in Moncton, New Brunswick. And we can see that in New Brunswick, in the end it’s a lot of ways, when we talk about rural areas, and we talk about urban areas. When we talk about women Francophones, when we talk about visible minority women, immigrants, newcomers, all of that. It has a very specific way of
how it affects the community. In terms of the ability to have access to certain services. When we talk about
healthcare, in particular. When we talk about pay equality. These are some of the issues
we still need to act on and it’s, this is what’s preventing communities from moving forward. We often talk about the economic situation of our province, how
education should be improved, but we forget that all these facets don’t mean anything if we’re
not working towards equality. Really, towards feminism. Feminism because I think
it’s not used often enough. That calling ourselves feminists and acting in a feminist way is something, I think, needs to be talked about in our communities. It needs to be discussed
to see how much cost, because there is always
a cost to inequality. And then it must be found in the discourse at the economic level. It must be found in the discourse at the level of education,
health, poverty. There was an ice storm in New Brunswick that really unveiled a
huge problem with poverty and it was worse in the rural areas. And when we look at this situation we can see a spectrum at
the level of equality. And sometimes the spectrum is missing, or it seems that it doesn’t matter, but it’s the big issues
that hold the attention. Whereas we have this
lens of equality already so that our communities can advance. It’s a way to depict our community. It’s a way to move forward as a society. That is how I live my life globally. – [Keetha] And finally for
Jennifer, the same question. How does inequality impact
you and your community? – Yeah, okay, so first I
just wanna say thank you. I’m very humbled to be here on the stage with some lovely women
and just in this room with a great group of women. So, when I think about this
question about inequality I think, um, a lot of what has been said is already been kind of talked about. When I think about my community, I don’t just exist in one community, I exist in many communities. And inequality is, I think that it can impact all communities
in different ways. So, for instance, like, um, as a woman, you know, I can, I am in
some ways, like, unequal. But in other ways, like, as a white woman I benefit from inequality,
so it can kind of, you can exist in both
ways and I think that, like thinking about inequality, you really wanna do
some self-reflection on to ensure that the work that
you do in your own community isn’t directly harming other communities. So that’s something that I always try to self-reflect on all the time. Another thing that I just
kinda wanna touch on too is I think that inequality
can also be something that people really think about internally, and they hold on to that, without even really realizing it. Um, so just in some ways like, just biases that you have about yourself that you don’t even realize are kind of actually structured by like systems as opposed to like something that’s kind of based in reality. Yeah, so I think that those are the kinds of things that we need to constantly be thinking about when it comes to theses issues. Um, yeah, I think (laughing). Everyone kind of touched on
some really insightful stuff so I’ll just (laughing) pass on. – [Keetha] So Jennifer,
maybe to give you a chance to go first for the next question. (laughing) – Okay. What do you see as the
most urgent change needed for moving forward on gender equality? – Okay, this is a tough
question cause I think, it’s hard for me to think about like what’s the most urgent thing because I think that there are so many different urgent things. Um, and I think about this question in terms of what are
the most urgent changes, I think about there’s,
there’s institutional changes and then there’s kind
of like interpersonal, cultural changes that need to happen. And I think that they kind of continuously overlap each other and
influence each other. I think that, like, for me personally, things that have affected me, you know, as a student, I think. Or, like as a woman, I’ve been impacted by
violence against women. I’ve also been impacted
by economic inequality, like access to public services is something that is
really important to me, equal access to public
services so (sighing), it’s difficult cause you wanna be able to change cultural attitudes but then that feels like
something that’s so broad. But you also wanna make strong, like concrete changes in institutions, which I think will then
impact cultural changes. Thank you. – [Keetha] (speaking in foreign language) – I also found this question difficult. I’d prepared something to answer and then this morning I thought, no. Just by talking to other
people, to other women, to other people from the community, I realized what we really
need to do is mobilize. Paulette earlier raised something about the levels of misogyny
and anti-feminism we see and I am terribly angry. I think we need to embrace being angry. And, I think we’re not angry enough. I often come back to the theme of angry, in these, over the last few years, but I think that’s what we need the most. There’s an urgency to
mobilize and not give up. There are a lot of things
in the social movement. I think, historically, we have the proof. We take steps forward,
we take steps backward, but it brings us together to mobilize, to better establish ourselves as a group. In recent years, when we
think about funding in Canada we had a Conservative government that did a lot of harm to women’s groups in the feminist movement, and I have the impression we still have a lot of difficulty getting
up from underneath that. My generation, I’m 25. My generation sometimes
doesn’t necessarily have the lens to be able to see. They say to themselves,
there were a lot of cuts, there was a lack of funding, there was a lack of capacity. But lack of funding means
there’s not enough groups that were able to be
compared for reference. There wasn’t enough studies in relation to what’s happening in our community, in all the communities. The most urgent situation is that we don’t let this weaken our ability to create a strong feminist movement. We need to start taking all the moments, when we talk about inclusion, using an intersectional lens, that we’re able to speak to today. A few years ago, we didn’t have that lens in our feminist movement. And it’s extremely hard to question some of the privileges we’ve had, when we identify ourselves
in a certain way. But I think that makes the
feminist movement much stronger. The danger that awaits us,
yes, it’s an external one, so the misogyny and anti-feminist speeches that continue to attack
this movement, nonstop. But I think also our own
ability to listen to others. To listen to the experience of others, but not only to listen and
then move on to something else, but to listen and to question. To make our actions mean something so that when we do take action, because we will have to at some point move past the discourse and take action, we’ll be stronger for it. I know I said I’m very optimistic and simplistic this Monday morning, but I do deeply believe that we really need to
mobilize the movement. (applause) – [Keetha] And for Bria, same question. What is the most urgent change needed to move forward on gender equality? Yeah, I, I guess the
thing that’s coming to me, again, just like from
an artist’s perspective. I like work for myself and
do like workshops for youth, mostly like women of color and I had just been in Detroit taking part in, it was called Emergent Strategy Immersion. So I was part of like
this amazing training with a woman named Adrienne Maree Brown. And she wrote an amazing
book named Emergent Strategy come buy it at Venus Envy,
by the way (laughing). But the space that she held for us, it was like, there was
like 50 plus organizers from like all, like
between America and Canada, all like of different races, mostly folks of color though. And that was like the first space, but like we all kind of like work in different kind of sectors or with different pieces
of what we understand to be kind of tackling some
of social justice issues that are prevalent in our society and just being in that space, like one of the things
that my organizing group did together for the like
bigger group of people is organize a grief ritual. And just like doing
that and practicing that and being in that with
people who all really care, who have like certain common goals and you just really, really care about the humanity of other people and equity in like a very genuine way, just like holding that space for me feels very urgent as I’m back home as a way to complement the
organizing that does happen. I feel like healing, I guess like one of the biggest things that I’ve taken from that
is like spaces for healing and like therapeutic, just creation. Like, low pressure kind of spaces where people can just be together just really complement, and
also build relationships for the work to move ahead like quicker. And, again, like with a clearer vision and like a more collective vision as well. Yeah. (applause) – [Keetha] And for those of you that missed that plug for Venus Envy, it’s a couple of blocks from here. It’s a woman and queer-positive sex shop owned by, I don’t know who it’s owned by. Oh it’s owned by a couple of
folks in Ottawa now, yeah? – Marshall Haywood. – [Keetha] Marshall Haywood, there we go. So if you have some time on your break and wanna stock up on
books and amazing things, including the one that
Bria was talking about, I highly recommend it. So, final question, or final person on this question. What do you see as the
most urgent change needed for moving forward on gender equality? – Okay, so I had a bit of
time to think about this. So, I think our most
urgent need is to educate. And we need to start
educating people in our youth on the importance of creating and not only advancing gender equality, but creating gender equity to make space for the
intersections, you know, to make space for non-binary femmes, for trans women, for black trans women, for, you know, two-spirited individuals. Like, we really need
to start targeting this and start actively
deconstructing these systems. And we can’t actually deconstruct them unless we actually actively educate. So, until we start educating, we can’t create a culture shift. And I think through the education we really need to stress
the point of equity and move away from this language around equality only,
but specifically equity. Because, you know, we
realistically, it would be great if we all started from
the same place in life, but that’s not true. We all start from different privileges, different backgrounds,
different experiences, and we move on. If we all were sitting
on a level playing field it would be great, but
that’s not the case. So that’s why I’m really stressing that we move away from the
language around equality, and rather stress equity. So I think that we need
to create a culture shift. And that’s only gonna be
achievable through education. And then through this education, and creating this culture
shift, within society, we can actively also target
these systemic issues, these systemic issues
that create inequalities, through this education piece so that we can have new
generations as they come up start questioning these systems and say hey, actually, that’s
not how it’s supposed to go. Hey, you know what, we all
don’t need to survive off of, you know, a bag of rice and
some potatoes, you know. Some people can’t eat rice and some people can’t eat potatoes. It doesn’t work for everyone,
you know what I mean? My friend’s gluten-free, what am I supposed to do about that? You gave me a loaf of bread, right? So, it’s like, you really need
to think about these things and start thinking in a more broader way. And I think that’s how
we’re gonna actively change and advance, you know, equity. And I think we need to take
into consideration mobilizing, as was said earlier. So the system, or the cycle I
kind of see it going through is like educate, agitate, organize. So you educate first, then you agitate the people
that you’ve educated. So you’re saying, yeah, you know, equity, this is what we
need, we need equity. Then you start, you know,
provoking those thoughts around equity and
inclusion and these kind of really important, you know, game-changers. And then, we organize, meaning
we mobilize around that. And when we mobilize and organize it means that we’ve created an
educated mass of people that are dedicated to
this notion of equity and will, you know, pursue
that and move that forward, regardless if some people need to step back for a minute
and take some self-care. We need to make sure that the movement is, you know, sustainable. Cause if we go about it as Masuma, you’re just gonna do everything and you’re gonna do everything forever and ever and ever and ever, I’m burnt out yo. I can’t take it and just
do it by myself, right? And neither can you. We need to be here for one another so it’s really important that we start educating each
other and grow together. Otherwise, we’re not going to,
you know, advance anywhere. You know, it’s gonna be just
self-centered advancement and not really for all of us, yeah. (applause) – [Keetha] So, since we’ve started touching on the question of equity if I could ask you the next
question first, Masuma. – Sure. – [Keetha] Is equity a
concept you use in your work? This is a three-parter. Is it a concept you’re using in your work? What does it mean to you
and how do you use it? – Hold on a second. What does it mean to me? – [Keetha] And how do you use it? – Okay. Equity is something I
use in my everyday work. So, I’m a Vice President
of Academic and External at the Dalhousie Student Union. And my job is to represent
almost 19 thousand students that go to Dalhousie University. Now, all the students who go to Dalhousie University do not look like me. They come from diverse backgrounds. International students make up 20% of our students at Dalhousie. You have like folks who
are queer, non-binary, trans folks, like black folks, many different students who are coming into this institution. And often you find that,
I can say as a fact, universities are not made to benefit those with less privileges. Those with less privileges
often are at the forefront of feeling the most oppression from an institution like a university. So if that means that
you’re the first person in your family to have
ever have had access to a post-secondary education. If you’re the first racialized person in your family to ever do this. If you’re, you know, an indigenous student who’s actively dealing
within colonial frameworks and challenging those narratives and challenging the
narratives around, you know, you know, being a more modern person, or challenging the narratives around what, you know, being a good Muslim
woman looks like, right? So I think I use equity constantly, because when students
come to me with issues I have to recognize that they’re coming from very
intersectional lives. So if a non-binary person’s coming to me, who’s racialized, who’s saying “Masuma, I don’t have money
to pay for my education “and I’m really stressed out “and I don’t know how to go about it.” Or it’s an international student because they don’t have free access to MSI here in Nova Scotia
when they come here, if there’s an international
student who’s racialized, who’s saying “I raked
up 270 thousand dollars “in health fees from Nova
Scotia Health Authority “cause I don’t have an MSI. “How are you going to help me Masuma?” There’s so many different
intersects, right? That I have to recognize and deal with and support the student through that. So, I can’t do my job unless I center and prioritize equity frameworks and intersectional approaches. Why do I use it, what does it mean to me? Equity means, you know,
justice for someone like me. Equity means me actually being prioritized instead of being tokenized, as you know, here’s another Hijabi student, we’ll just take a picture of her, put Dalhousie under, there, we’re good, we’re diverse, we’re great, you know? (applause) We don’t need that, so. (applause) So I think equity means
a way of life to me Equity is enveloped in every avenue of life that I navigate. There’s no me without equity and there’s no equity
without me too, right? So, I think that’s kind of how I see it. (applause) – Ooh. – Sorry. – No, no, it’s all good. Again, I feel like you’ve, yeah, I resonate with so much of what you said. Yeah, I feel like because of my intersecting
identities, also, the way that I kind of
navigate the world in workshops or even when I’m doing like
graphic facilitation like I definitely have equity in mind pretty much when I’m doing anything, because I have been,
yeah, totally tokenized. And it’s exhausting and I don’t
wish that on other people. Whether it’s race or sexual
background or like, anything. And I guess– Sorry, can you repeat
the question real quick. – [Keetha] Yeah, absolutely. It is is equity a concept you use? How do you use it, and
what does it mean to you? – Mhmm. I guess especially, the way that I, or like the way that I try
to use it the most, I guess, the way that I usually articulate it is like to encourage honesty and I mostly work with racialized youth. So the way that I try to encourage honesty is to get them to talk about issues that are happening in their communities. To make them feel like they have a voice. Cause especially as
like a racialized youth like in a rural community, I didn’t feel that I had that. And I still struggle with that, of course, like I said with tokenization and work. I know I work for myself, so I’m kind of interacting with new barriers. But really it feels as though the way that I navigate is to try to eliminate as many as I can for the young people that are coming behind me
cause they’re brilliant. And I want them to be heard. Yeah, and I feel like
the way that I address and like work with equity is also mainly focused on youth I guess. Because, yeah, I feel like
they’re very much the future. We don’t give them enough credit also. And yeah, also they’re
like quite vulnerable. And I just want them to be heard more. (applause) – [Keetha] (speaking in foreign language) – I’m listening, but
I’ll answer in two parts. In the organization I work for, Regroupement féministe
du Nouveau-Brunswick, it’s a non-profit
organization whose mission is to promote all that is gender equality. Recently, in 2015, there was a document that was written into the charter regarding levels of intersectionality, but we continue to talk
about gender equality. But the framework, I can’t
think of the term in French, the framework we use is
intersectional feminism. I get the impression that it’s like, when I hear talk about the
definition of equity, equality, I think we’re actually moving towards more inclusive definitions of equity. Because it’s not fair to give the same number of small boxes. You’ve all seen the
image online, I imagine, the same number of boxes for everyone to stand on to be able
to see over the fence, but to really work from
where you are within society. When I hear about tokenism,
it’s like you’re a woman, you’re a white person,
you’re a certain ethnicity, you’re a Francophone, okay great. Check, check, check, check. This reflection that leads us to rethink the way we act, how we live our feminism. It’s really this reflection. When I saw the question, for me, it was really about, okay,
how do I define my feminism? How is it defined at my work? How does a feminist
organization define feminism? And it’s at this level
that the definitions of equity and equality fit. I think it’s gonna push us in ways that make feminism much more inclusive, much more able to listen. That we don’t forget the
important of educating and to mobilize as we’ve said earlier. Young people are talking about this. I feel we are, we are
much more than the future. We are the present and we are in action. When I see young people, we have youth federations
in New Brunswick. They don’t wait to act, they act now. The difference is that
we don’t listen to them, we don’t listen to enough
of them, or enough to them. Then we have the impression, sometimes, women and people who identify
as women, as a group, we feel we are giving space to this group, to that group, to this group but in the end we’re talking about representation of different identities. We talk a lot about identity. We’re in a moment where we’re talking, there’s the discourse being
discussed around identity. Sometimes we see it as, ah, this is gonna prevent
us from moving forward, but we have to make room for identities instead of seeing it as fundamentally questioning our institution. Because it’s institutions
that are in question. You spoke of systems earlier. This is not individual,
an individual issue. It’s a collective question. And for me, it’s in the way that we see all the issues of equity and equality. When we talk, for example, about increasing the participation
of women in politics, it’s not just about increasing the number of women in politics. We don’t just want to
have three or four women and then, perfect, we’re happy. No, we question the electoral system, because we know very well that, for example, proportional representation could promote the representation of women and women of visible minorities. Now we question the political institution. Why should it be a man of a certain age, a certain social class? No, if we want to
represent our communities, we want must have equal
representation and redistribution. So, that’s why we’re speaking
about equity of wages and accessibility to
healthcare, things like that. So, that’s how this
question appeared to me. (applause) – [Keetha] So, Jennifer, same question. What is equity a concept
you use in your work, what does it mean to you
and how do you use it? – Yeah, so I think that equity is something that I think about a lot. And when I think about equity, I think about it as being
kind of fair and inclusive to everyone so that there are no barriers to access to all aspects of life. And I mean, in simple ways, this can just mean that, you know, sometimes treating people fairly doesn’t mean treating them the same, it means treating them differently. And I think that that’s something that’s really important
to kind of remember. Being equitable can mean
ensuring that accommodations are prioritized for people. It means that, you know,
if they’re asked for that they’re prioritized
and giving people space so that they feel comfortable
even asking about them. Or even kind of thinking about them, trying to think about them ahead of time so people don’t have to
come up and say, hey, and then put themselves on the spot. It also kind of means, you know, not questioning why those
sorts of accommodations are being even asked for. Not, you know, questioning
people’s requirements that they want to be able to participate. (laughing) (applause) And I think that, you
know, equitable treatment in terms of what I do in my everyday work. You know, I’m a student
but I also do research. And so that can mean
prioritizing in your budget, you know, childcare, or taxi subsidies. It can also mean providing every document in minimum 12-point
font and 18-point font. It can mean lots and
lots of different things, so I think that until
equity is really ingrained in our culture we have
to kind of continue to do the hard work, you know, the
mobilizing, the educating. Until, you know, it’s
just this default behavior that we all share and that we all have. And I think thinking
critically about systems is really important as we’ve
kind of been talking about but I also think that remembering that when we’re doing those things, we’re trying to do it from like
a loving, caring perspective and that it’s coming from, you know, not places where we’re threatening, or like that kind of thing. But we’re really trying
to just make something feel more inclusive and
better off for everyone. – Yeah. (applause) – [Keetha] Thank you. And so the final question, which is directed at all of you is if you could write one section of a gender quality plan for Canada, what would it be about? – This question’s hard
cause I wouldn’t write one. (laughing) I graduated from public policy
so I have a lot of opinions. (laughing) But if I think about one for me, like I think about the ways
that we’ve made many strides, in some ways, for gender equality in terms of public policy, you know, and incorporating gender-based analysis and intersectional analysis
into public policy. We’ve made many strides, but then I think in other ways we haven’t. So I think about, so if
I think about equality and equity and we’re
trying to create access and we’re trying to create inclusion, I think a lot about how
when it comes to public life and being in the labor
force that, you know, for people who wanna have families it’s not really something that’s
really thought about a lot. And I think about, so for I guess, like a really big priority for me is creating universal,
accessible childcare and early childhood education. (applause) And I think, I think that like prioritizing early childhood education, but also prioritizing
education at the higher levels to ensure that post-secondary institutions are accessible, you know. Nova Scotia has the fastest
rising tuition and fees in the country, like, you know, we wanna be able to ensure
that everyone can kind of, and I say universally,
meaning like every person can access these kind of programs and these social programs
and investing in them so that we can all participate,
you know, equitably in life. So yeah. – [Keetha] Thank you. (applause) I think you have some folks that agree in the crowd, you know. (laughing) (speaking in foreign language) – So, in a similar way, I think that we’ve gone
beyond just having plans. I think that we’ve done a lot
of planning to have equality. I think we have a lot of
knowledge, right here in this room. We talk about accessibility. I can only think of
childcare, early childhood, you know childcare,
universal childcare, thanks. We talk about political participation. We talk about pay equity. I’m just looking at the groups and I’ve got all the project descriptions and I think all of it must, all of it must end up in the plan. But I think we’ve had a lot of plans. We have a lot of knowledge
right here in this room. We have to recognize their voices today and a lot that are absent, but all of us, and by all I mean inclusive, we hold the way to move
ahead with gender equality and have known the way for
centuries and centuries. We must bring it back to the discourse that we need to go ahead
for gender equality. How can we do it if we don’t
have the budget to do it? We have action plans, we apply
gender-inclusive analysis. When we do apply that
gender-inclusive analysis we see in the end that
the gender equality budget just isn’t there. How is that possible? We need to move forward at this level. We need to push for action,
we need to go beyond plans. We made plans and plans and plans. I was talking about that with Christine, she’s in the room right here, my colleague from New Brunswick. And we came here, and we talked and talked about gender equality
and that’s all we do. You know how it is, we talk
about it from morning til night. We live it and sometimes
we work in it too. Sometimes it’s just really
in us, it’s a passion. But from morning to night
we reshape the world and we say, okay, we should have this. We need universal access to childcare, we need access to basic healthcare. In some communities they
don’t even have that yet. We need economic security. We talk about between ourselves and we say it to each
other, but we hold the key. That’s how we’re gonna
advance gender equality. In the end, we realize
we still need to educate, we still need to raise awareness. But none of it can happen if we don’t have the budgets to do it, the capacity to do it,
in order to anchor change and to go beyond the talk
and to create societies that will be egalitarian. That will respect the most
fundamental principles of a society so it can
be prosperous in the end. So, I, to get back to the question, because I don’t think I
answered the question, because I think we’re not used
to answering the question, the section that I
would write for the plan would be to go beyond the plan. We must take action. (laughing) (applause) – How do you follow that? – [Keetha] (speaking in foreign language) Returning to English,
Bria, if you could write one section of a gender
equality plan for Canada, what would it be about? – How do I follow up after that? (laughing) I guess I never really thought about this. Like, there’s just so many needs I feel. I guess what I can,
I’ll just like be quick, but I feel like the thing that I would, the things that I would focus on, that kind of overlap in a way, again, would be like funding. And also, like, better
accessibility to funding. Especially again, like I
keep kind of reiterating for like racialized folks and women, for like grassroots
programming and all of, like, things that impact
communities quite directly. And also, education, like
in all kind of aspects. Grassroots and like publicly
and then also, yeah, just within communities in different ways. – [Keetha] Thank you. (applause) And last but not least, same question. – Okay, um, can you repeat it? – [Keetha] Absolutely. If you could write one section of a gender equality plan for Canada, what would it be about? – Yeah, I think my section would totally have a focus on like BIPOC women. So that’s black, indigenous,
and women of color. But specifically, based off of my work and a lot of policies that I’ve worked on at Dalhousie, specifically
around sexualized violence, I think that that would be the
part that I would write about and the way that intersections really relate to sexualized violence. So the stat is in university, is one in every four women and then it’s even higher
for racialized women. Then it’s even higher if you’re a racialized woman with a disability. Then it’s even higher if you’re a trans racialized
woman with a disability. And it goes on and on and on and on. So I think writing a plan on sexualized violence to
advance equity in policy, I think would be my route to go because I think it’s a conversation that we’re not having enough of. I think it’s a conversation
that, you know, survivors are often
shamed, are often told that no, that’s not your experience. And you know, I know
that there’s an emergence of talking around sexualized
violence within this nation, but I don’t think that we’re talking enough about how patriarchy has really reinforced these sort of ongoing oppressions
around sexualized violence within colonial frameworks, within the Canadian state nation, within the interactions
between indigenous people, racialized people, and
people with other forms of intersections of their identity. So I think that’s where I would focus on. I think a lot of us can understand that. And, you know, a point
that I would play is, you know, this year I worked
with a society at Dalhousie to introduce hijab kits at our campus because I was hearing from Muslim women that their hijabs were being yanked on, that they were being
spat on while in class. They were being made fun of. There was this need for it. And they didn’t feel comfortable
going to the institution, because the people in the
institution didn’t look like them. I’m also the only Hijabi in
this room, as well, right? So, they didn’t like them,
so who are they gonna come to to feel that they will be believed, feel that they’re gonna be helped, feel like someone will
have some support for them. They came to me. So I listened to them and I
created a support for them. And the thing that boggled my mind was when the institution came out saying, you know, that actually
doesn’t happen on our campus. We have no reports saying that. You don’t need reports for it to be real. You have a first aid kit on every campus, not because we have blood
baths every day, right? We have it just in case, just in case. So I created a support for Muslim women just in case they felt unsafe because they didn’t feel comfortable talking to security about it. And the most important part that I think that was
often forgotten about this, you know, support strategy was a woman, a Muslim woman, her being
attacked by her hijab is an act of sexualized violence. And people forgot that. They didn’t see it as
being the same thing. So while Dalhousie was busy working on its sexualized violence policy, it forgot that the hijab kits were supporting Muslim women who were going through
sexualized violence. So, that’s why I would write about that. Cool. (applause) – [Keetha] So please join me in thanking all four of our panelists this morning. (applause)

Stephen Childs

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