The global cry for gender equality has never been louder. Rural Indian women are fighting for farmland, Ugandan and Kenyan women are fighting draconian “anti-miniskirt” laws that criminalize their thighs, and Canadian First Nations and aboriginal womenare fighting for a national inquiry into the tragic deaths and disappearances of more than 1200 indigenous women since the 1980s.
In recent years, Twitter trends like #BringBackOurGirls and #Mansplaining have exploded on the social-media sphere, and almost two million viewers have tuned in to hear Nigerian-born author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s urge the world that “We Should All Be Feminists” in a TEDx Talks video on YouTube.
The United Nations says that ending global poverty is dependent on ending violence against girls and women, while scientists are critically examining the connection between the rights of women land stewards and their increased capacity to adapt to climate change.
Actress Emma Watson had the guts to stand up at the UN Headquarters, only eight months ago, and ask: “How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” (Critics later argued that a wealthy, white female celebrity probably wasn’t the best choice to speak on behalf of the world’s women—though no one could deny that her speech sparked many conversations worldwide.)
But while localized women’s and gender movements all over the world are responding to and challenging inequality, some critics wonder: what role has the Canadian government played on the international scene to address inequity and violence against women? Are the Harper government’s policies supporting global women? Some would say it has certainly strived to support mothers, at the very least.