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Cendrine Marrouat: The road to equality between men and women is still paved with hurdles. What are some of the most pressing needs to address right now in Canada? And in other countries?
Kavita Dogra: Awareness and attitude are our biggest hurdles. Canadians are unaware of what is happening in their own country. The genocide of Aboriginal women, trafficking, abuse, poverty are all issues that need to be tackled right here, right now. We live under the illusion that these practices only occur in far off lands and that “feminism” is not needed in Canada.
“What more do you want” is what I get asked. Equity and equality. How do we get there? We need to raise awareness, start a dialogue about what injustices are being faced by women living here and what can be done about it. Through awareness, people’s attitude towards women’s rights will change.
People need to be enlightened but also empowered to take action. We must lobby, protest, and make noise for better policies, laws on both federal and provincial levels, advocate for less cuts to programs and better access to services.
Around the world, it has been proven that educating girls is the best way to help break the cycle of abuse. Making women/mothers financially independent through microloans or sponsorship has also had an incredibly positive impact on many families. The solutions of education, raising awareness and taking action are the same, globally. The issues vary based on cultures but the root cause is always inequality.
In Canada, time has come for a reality check. The Canadian Women’s Foundation has a new PSA providing just that http://www.canadianwomen.org/ad.
CM: What is next for the organization?
KD: We see further collaboration with like-minded organizations, more events, a stronger social media presence, speaking engagements and any other opportunities we can get to raise awareness about women’s rights issues!
CM: Where can people find more information about We Talk Women and help the organization?
KD: Our website has blog posts, information about Leigh and I, event photos and links to our Facebook / Twitter pages.
CM: Any last words?
KD: There are two things that I want to say. Though we are a women’s right awareness group, it doesn’t mean we are “man haters”. In fact we encourage men to join the conversation and become allies. Without men, we will never be able to reach our goals of peace and equality. We need to teach our young boys, new fathers, uncles, brothers and husbands/partners that women are valuable.
Secondly, I want to tell anyone reading this interview that taking action doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Being an advocate for human rights is as easy as sharing/liking articles on Facebook, participating in on going conversations on Twitter via hashtags like #womensrights or #VAW, volunteering at a women’s shelter, donating to NGOs that are working in the field, reading, talking, and sharing information with family and friends. You don’t have to drop everything in your life and dedicate all your time and money to any one cause. That’s not realistic. But do what you can.
“We will surely get to our destination if we join hands” – Aung San Suu Kyi
Will you join us?
End of the interview.
Cendrine Marrouat may be contacted for potential interviews, reviews and general enquiries at email@example.com. Website: www.cendrinemarrouat.com.