Marching for the ideal of equality for all

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The Salt Spring Women’s Walk 2019 takes place on Sunday, Jan. 20 beginning at 1 p.m. on the steps of the Salt Spring Public Library on McPhillips Avenue. Events will include women speakers, a silent walk around Ganges and music/dancing back at the library. Sharyn Carroll, one of the organizing team members, explains why she is joining the global 2019 Women’s March movement by participating in Salt Spring’s event. 

By SHARYN CARROLL

The Women’s March started in 2017 as a response to an election. The movement has grown over these last three years to include women across the world. Most women are mobilizing for women’s empowerment on every continent while also giving voice to local issues. 

I march because feminism is not a dirty word. I live in a culture where the “F” is sometimes viewed as something you would not want to find on the bottom of your shoe. But in fact when feminism works we all stand to gain. Because at its heart, feminism is based on the ideal of equality for all. 

My feminism of today is one of intersectional marginality. When we look at intersectional feminism, we acknowledge the historical, social and political discrimination coming at a person from many sides. Intersectionality refers to the connectedness of race, class and gender in describing and understanding discrimination and oppression. This political understanding means we are better able to recognize that some people are more vulnerable than others. Those who are likely to feel the effects of this global political paradigm are often characterized as “marginalized groups,” especially women of colour and Jewish women. The unifying principle of the international Women’s March echoes this, stating, “We must create a society in which women — including Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women — are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.”

Intersectional feminism also sees how traditional gender roles trap men and boys.

Across the planet we’ve seen a movement towards divisive and hate-filled politics: What is happening now is not something that I thought I would see in my lifetime. Protectionism of the status quo and politics of divisiveness. Only when we allow ourselves to be divided and not stand up for one another does everyone lose.

Someone asked me the other day, “Why participate in this feel-good exercise? You know none of this is going to change anything.” The march itself, in all these communities, may not change whose finger is on the red button this minute, but I believe that each step, no matter how small, can lead to greater, lasting change. This is the planet we inhabit and no matter what our belief system we are all interdependent, so it is our duty to stand up and say something for the betterment of all.

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