Welcome to the Table: Thoughts on International Women’s Day

Well, it’s International Women’s Day! Especially given North America’s current political climate, this day has a lot of weight for me this year.

I’ve been holding two questions/concepts very close to my heart:

1) When other women support you, there’s no better feeling. That’s love. That’s community.

2) There are so many ways that women are prevented from accessing this feeling.

I’ve been thinking of all my fellow women whose voices have been taken away from them, who have been told that they’re wrong, and have been otherwise taken advantage of, abused, and harmed. I’ve been thinking about all the times I, and the other women around me, have excluded some of our sisters from conversations surrounding wellness, femininity, and women’s experiences, however unintentionally. I’ve been thinking about all the ways I have perpetuated problems in our society, because sometimes if you aren’t a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.

Feminism is great. I’m a feminist, and I wear that label proudly. But I also think we need to question how we engage with others in feminist discussions. We need to reconsider who we have at the table. So often, I find myself talking about feminism with other feminists, and there’s a place for that. Of course there is. And sometimes, you can’t talk about your trauma with people who can’t relate to it. That’s a part of the healing process. But we can’t see long-lasting, consistent change without including everyone in the discussion.

We need men at the table.

We need politicians at the table.

We need doctors, lawyers, teachers, rabbis, chefs, students, pilots, and activists at the table.

Something that’s also really important to note is that if your feminism isn’t inclusive, it’s inherently problematic. We’re all human. We’re imperfect by nature. But we can control how we seek to grow and challenge our preconceived notions.

Feminism needs to include trans women.

It needs to include non-binary people.

It needs to include people with disabilities, people of colour, people of all socioeconomic statuses.

Feminism needs to be intersectional.

This International Women’s Day, I want you to consider how you define “woman.” I want you to think about how your ideas of the term can become more welcoming to others who don’t necessarily share all of your experiences. This day is so important, but it’s also a great reminder that there’s still work to do.

Welcome to the table. Pull up a chair and stay a while.

Written by our New Media Coordinator, Ally Geist.

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