Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Welcome to the Women's Independence Network Blog!

Welcome! We are the Women's Independence Network, an Ottawa-based, non-profit organization dedicated to raising women's rights issues to the public consciousness in and around the National Capital Region - and hopefully across Canada one day. We were initially inspired by the American organization the Younger Women's Task Force, and decided that we wanted to create a Canadian equivalent. Thus, the Women's Independence Network (WIN) was born.

Now, to get a few things out of the way. First: we are a feminist organization and we wear that label proudly. Before you go thinking that we hate men and want women to rule the world, we'd like to clear that up. Contrary to popular belief, feminists do not hate men. We are not seeking to create a new world order where women are all-powerful and men are our slaves. The purpose of our organization is to promote gender equality, create dialogue, and to change society's attitudes towards the contemporary women's movement.

One of the most often-heard arguments against modern feminism is that it isn't needed. However, gender equality is still surprisingly lacking, even in 21st Century Canada. This shouldn't be the case. It's been 91 years since all women in Canada were granted the vote (70 years in Quebec). It's been 41 years since life-saving abortion was legalized across Canada, and 22 years since the historic R. v. Morgentaler case, in which the provision that the pregnancy must be a threat to the woman's life or health was necessary in order for an abortion to be approved. Despite all this progress, we still have a mess of pay equality laws, which are not enforced universally across Canada; women are still seen as second-class citizens in the eyes of many; and Ottawa women's shelters are overcrowded and have to turn away a number of women every day. This is not to mention the pressure placed on women to be perfect, whether that refers to how they act, how they look, or even how they think, or that disordered eating is a widespread, serious issue for Canadian women. Women make up less than 20% of our federally elected politicians, despite making up slightly more than half the population in Canada, and too many media representations of women are, to say the least, unfavourable.

This isn't a pity party. This is a wake-up call to women and men in Ottawa that feminism is, in fact, still relevant and necessary. In Canada and around the world, a new generation of feminists is working to inspire change in the law and in the global consciousness. We're ready to take on Ottawa, and we hope you are, too.

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