International Women’s Day Celebrated on Surrey Campus

KPIRG event educates on gender issues

Kyrsten Downton / The Runner

The Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group hosted an International Women’s Day celebration on Monday, March 14. The celebration, free for everyone, featured a variety of presenters speaking to the audience and engaging them in workshops. The presenters included Brittany Sharma of the South Asian Women Against Male Violence organization, Grassroots Women, and the slam poet Jillian Christmas.

“We are trying to change the situation for working class women,” says Victoria Chen, one of the presenters for Grassroots Women. “We are trying to collectivize our experiences so we know what we actually need to fight against.”

The event covered many topics regarding gender issues, including male violence against women, stereotyping of women who are affected by violence, and the policing, exploitation, and under protection of working class women.

“These were things that kept coming out as we were talking with women. As we were looking at the stories and the experiences that we heard, those three themes kept coming up again and again,” says Chen.

The event focused on educating people about some of the realities that women face in Canada. However, it was also a collective learning experience for both the audience and the presenters. The audience itself was a diverse group of women and men. While it was a smaller crowd, it was also attentive. The group seemed eager to learn and to share their own personal stories and struggles.

“We need to know about injustice to take action. But it’s also about learning from other women,” says Chen. “It’s important to us that we hear from women. We’re not trying to save women. We’re trying to work with other women to make our collective situations better.”

While the event was educational, its main focus was to be a celebration of women. The event and its presenters hoped to empower women to overcome their struggles and to promote others to take a stand.

“Once you know about injustice, you have to do something about it. You can’t just forget that injustice exists,” says Chen.

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