International Women’s Week and gender-based violence

The first week of March is International Women’s Week (IWW): a week that celebrates women and recognizes the struggles that women have faced, and continue to face, in a society that is highly gendered. This week of campaigning culminates on International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8. The aim of this campaign is to spark collective action by challenging gender-based discrimination and gender inequality, which will ideally continue on beyond the week itself.

When thinking about gender-based violence, IWW is an opportunity to remember the disproportionate amounts of violence faced by women and girls around the world. However, it is also important to remember that this potential for violence is not faced equally by all women. Intersectionality, a term created by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, addresses the ways that racism and sexism reinforce one another in order to discriminate against Black women. Therefore, when we look at gender-based violence intersectionally, we see that BIWOC (Black, Indigenous and women of colour), trans women, queer women, non-binary people, women living in poverty, and women with disabilities face even higher rates of violence.

Action that is taken to fight against gender-based violence must centre the experiences of those who are most vulnerable to this violence by systems of oppression. Gender inequality cannot be fought separately from racism or transphobia, because many women experience those forms of discrimination as well. This IWW, make sure that your actions to fight against gender-based discrimination and inequality are inclusive, and that you are celebrating the empowerment of all women.

There will be a variety of events happening at Mount Allison this IWW. SHARE is hosting a student-only forum on sexual violence and safety, where students will have the opportunity to share their experiences and give feedback on Mt. A’s stand-alone policy on sexual violence. Student voices should be heard in the process of policy review, and this event provides the opportunity for student inclusion in the formulation of a policy that affects our ability to access safety on campus. This event will be held on March 7 at 6 p.m. in Avard-Dixon, room G12. There is also a Celebration of Women event happening on March 8 at 12 p.m. in Jennings, which will be a $5 lunch for students.If you have any questions about IWW, gender-based violence or the sexual violence policy, or would like to report sexual violence, please email SHARE at share@mta.ca.

Jilane Buryn
Jilane Buryn is a contributor to the Argosy.