Voice for Women

Am I A Feminist?

I’m from rural Alberta, oil country, where men easily outnumber women 3:1. I have a high tolerance for inappropriate comments, sexual advances and ignorant beliefs. I sometimes even wonder where my passion for social justice comes from being raised in a town where people proudly refer to themselves as rednecks.

Note: by redneck, what I mean is country folk who work hard, play hard, get dirty to make a living and to have fun, people who actually have ‘red necks’ from being in a field all day.

If feminism is defined as:

the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of equality of the sexes or the doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

then yes, I am a feminist. Maybe I’m a more passive or quiet one, but I believe in walking the walk more than talking the talk. That is, until I made some intern friends like Bonnie who have opened my eyes up to all kinds of worldly women’s issues.

Before I turn you off from reading this, yeesh it’s sad that I have to even say this  because people sometimes hear the word feminism and automatically think, run for the hills they’re going to throw their flaming bras at us…before you quit reading, first watch this video.

I am thankful to be a Canadian, not just for my freedoms but for the multiculturalism, the landscape and the diversity in everything. I am often judged because I’m from Alberta, because my dad is a pipeliner and almost without exception everyone I’m friends with is employed by the oil and gas industry. I am a proud Albertan because I believe my gift for words can help me advocate so many important issues and because even though I am a woman, I am taken seriously because I work just as hard as any man. Because I grew up in Alberta, I have a different view than most of my intern friends but it doesn’t matter because we are all working towards building a better world.

Every project I am a part of through my internship with the Canadian Co-operative Association has an element of gender equality in it. This means that our partners whether in Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, Mongolia, the Philippines, Peru or anywhere else, must make their programs accessible for men and women.

The interns I have met are taking that challenge a lot farther. Each young person I know in the co-op movement is working so hard to do something that as an Albertan I know can seem almost impossible. Changing attitudes and reflecting on beliefs.

I have been so frustrated for so long. I am a WHY person. I always have been.

Growing up was confusing for me, with my heart in social justice. I wouldn’t understand why people thought racist jokes were funny. I wouldn’t understand why people would watch other people get bullied or beat up. I wouldn’t understand why mothers would allow their sons to grow up to believe women are less than them.

There are a lot of things I think Canadians can learn from Malawians but…there are a lot of things I believe Malawians, particularly male Malawians, need to be honest with themselves about. One of my largest frustrations is watching someone nod, agree and even preach without practicing.

I believe in walking the walk. I believe that is what makes me an influential communications professional and a powerful public speaker.

This blog post is not intended to provoke you into thinking a certain way.

I just want you to know, I am a quieter feminist who is finding my voice through my frustrations. I can’t speak about something I am not very knowledgable about but I have a hunger to learn, and I am experiencing things every day that make me want to work harder for the women’s movement.

Please share the youtube video, and if you cannot be the voice for women of all ages, races and hardships please show some respect for millions if not billions, who gave birth to everyone in this world and still in 2013 have no voice.

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Note: This post and proclamation does not change my sense of humour or my tolerance for those who are ignorant. I am by no means an extremist because I work really hard to be empathetic and relate to people on a personal level. So if you see future posts from me with subject material you may consider controversial to this post, please don’t go pointing fingers at me. My blog is about my life and discovering myself through lessons and interactions with people in Malawi and that involves ups and downs of all kinds and I’m just thankful to have readers who are interested in learning about my experiences.

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4 Responses to Voice for Women

  1. Joanne says:

    Reading “I can’t speak about something I am not very knowledgable about but I have a hunger to learn…” brings to mind several ways I could finish the sentence. I think we all seek to know and understand how to better our own lives and how we can affect the lives of others, or how we can advance in our relationships and careers, though the “what” we seek and the “how” we do it may be different. Each time I read a post I am truly engaged and feel like I am there in conversation with you, and all the “stuff” of life that has a tendency to consume time and energy, but shouldn’t, is set aside. I am so proud of you and love and miss you. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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