This week’s Feminist Who Totally Rocks is Crystal Gartside. Crystal works a policy analyst for the Manitoba Women’s Advisory Council. The Manitoba Women’s Advisory Council, “works within the Manitoba Status of Women Division to represent the issues and concerns of Manitoba women. The council focuses on issues that have a social, legal or economic impact on the lives of women and their families”. Crystal has been working hard towards an inclusive environment wherein women from all walks of life are made a priority in policy formation.

1.What was it that inspired you to become a feminist?

I had always had a strong emotional reaction to injustice and inequality. My family and our histories opened me to the oppression and marginalization of women and Indigenous people, but also affirmed my strength and ability to make a difference. When I went to university and discovered feminism through women’s studies courses, I felt an instant affinity; here was a way to really understand injustice – how it works, who benefits and how to make change! It was a framework for understanding all kinds of oppression – gendered, colonial, class – that worked for me, gave me a path to walk, and a way to funnel my strong emotional reactions into something useful, while working with others who felt the same way.

2. What kind of work do you do?

My work as a Policy Analyst with the Manitoba Women’s Advisory Council involves bringing women’s issues to the forefront of social policy. I think that policy is important because it establishes the priorities and values of so many programs and services that affect women. I love that my work allows me to be a part of the women’s community; to work with some many different women and to learn from them all.  I am also interested in thinking about how women’s organizations operate, and the most effective way to mobilize in organizations and as movements.

3. What feminist issue is particularly important to you?

There are so many important social issues affecting women, including a key issue which is poverty and income inequalities.  I think our most pressing issue as a movement right now is reconfiguring our strategies and priorities to move forward women’s equality agendas at different levels.

4. What would you like the future of feminism to look like?

I would love to see feminism valued by society as an important tool and a way to improve everyone’s lives. I envision a strong and diverse movement in Canada – one that embraces difference and dissent, while still holding enough common ground to be a strong force for positive change.

5. How to Reach Me

You can read my academic work at https://dspace.library.uvic.ca:8443//handle/1828/274
You can also contact me at crystal.gartside at gov.mb.ca

6. Dream for Women

For all women to discover and embrace the beauty of their bodies, minds, hearts and spirits.

7. What are the aspects of the feminist movement that you are most proud of or ashamed?

I am most proud of our willingness to be critical of ourselves as a movement, to build unity and alliance while still making room for productive disagreement and dissent. Our movement is made up of some truly amazing women!

8. Which unknown or young feminist would you like the world to know about?

All of the amazing young, radical feminist activists in Winnipeg – there are so many who inspire me, challenge me and have created a living and vibrant movement here!