In today’s editorial of the Vancouver Sun, Shari Graydon reminds us that although women’s causes have advanced greatly since the early 20th century, there is still a need for feminism. It is easy, for women as well as men, to take for granted the rights and possibilities afforded to women living under Western privilege. Graydon writes that perhaps, because of these privileges, we are “the kind of [women] who people point to as evidence that the women’s movement is no longer necessary.”
On paper, in law, women’s equality has come a long way. But many women have yet to realize the same opportunities afforded me, and many inequities remain.
But, as Graydon also points out, it is crucial to remember that much of a woman’s experience becoming a woman is still inherently dominated by exploitation and oppression; for example, the sexualization of young girls, violent crimes and the underrepresentation of women in politics. Obviously, I’m taking a very homogenized, Western view of women. This kind of a perspective is also indicative of the need for feminist analysis and discourse today — we have to take into account women outside of Western feminist political discourse who may not be as privileged and incorporate their and our understanding of what it means to be a woman or political or a feminist (and at the same time allow these women their own political and historical agency). But for now, Graydon makes some good points about the sort of changes Canada still needs to consider. The anniversary of the Persons case in Canada celebrates the historical advancement of women’s rights in North America but also serves as a reminder of what still needs to be done.
We’d like the picture of Canadian power to look more like us, in all our diversity…When women are educated, given genuine choice around child rearing and employment, treated with respect, paid fairly and protected from violence, the entire society benefits. We all have a vested interest in making it happen.