Be Bold For Change.
That’s the International Women’s Day campaign theme for 2017, and it calls on people to take definitive action in six different areas, from campaigning against violence to being a champion for women’s education.
Several groups on Salt Spring Island work year-round for such causes, whether the Salt Spring Women Opposed to Violence and Abuse (SWOVA) Community Development and Research Society group — which has just completed a major report on consent and sexual assault — or the local chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (and other groups), which give bursaries to girls and women to help improve their lives and society through education.
With a theme of change in the air, it’s fitting that 14 local women who volunteer extraordinary amounts of time in our community will be recognized today, March 8, on International Women’s Day, as “changemakers” at an evening event at ArtSpring. It was put together by SWOVA and Volunteer and Community Resources. SWOVA has celebrated female “changemakers” in the past and VCR is going all out to mark volunteerism for Canada’s 150th birthday, so it’s a perfect mix of focal points and energies.
This week’s and last week’s issues of the Driftwood contain brief profiles of the 14 nominated women, and while most, if not all, may not bask in the limelight of public recognition, acknowledging women’s contributions and celebrating role models is one way to encourage further positive change.
For women who went through the liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and those who benefitted from its impact, some current headlines may seem unbelievable: that women’s reproductive rights are being threatened in the United States, or that spousal assault laws are being relaxed in Russia.
It’s no surprise, then, that Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale is back on bestseller lists, describing an American society where an authoritarian government dictates women’s roles.
Present-day events and potentially prescient works of fiction remind us that existing rights can never be taken for granted and that the work involved with achieving equal rights for all genders is never done.