Editorial: Women of Colour Need a Seat at the Table

Make Room For the Future

Graphic Carl Bindman

This year’s International Women’s Day was marked by another women’s march organized by Women of Diverse Origins, held every year since 2002.

The march exemplified diversity, with flags from Lebanon, Palestine, Mexico, and Venezuela waving above protesters.

In every country around the world, women are fighting different battles to live and survive in a society that’s trying to control, oppress, or undermine them.

Every aspect of women’s lives is affected, whether at home or work or in social situations. Why are women still told what to do with their bodies, told how to dress and how to live?

Everyone is responsible for playing a part in creating a healthy society where all can coexist with respect and understanding. This all comes down to the way to act with those around us on a daily basis, how we interact with them, how we treat them, and how we tolerate others treating them.

Being an ally to Women of Colour is so much more than simply agreeing with them. It’s so much more than snapping your fingers when they make a point while commenting “THIS.”

Being a good ally means you don’t presume to speak for a community but rather use your privilege to help ensure the leadership of that community is heard.

Putting Women of Colour front and centre is the only way their concerns will be addressed. Bringing forward the issues faced by Women of Colours shows how there are other, more pressing feminist movements, happening all over the world—something North Americans are blind to.

That was one of the main issues put forth during Sunday’s women’s march. Many of the countries represented there are in a never-ending battle for their rights. Despite those protests, women are being taken, imprisoned, and murdered.

Journalists and activists in the Philippines, oftentimes women, are being imprisoned and killed for criticising Duterte’s war on drugs. Iranian women are being imprisoned for protesting the mandatory veil law, amongst other things. More and more Mexican women are being murdered with each passing day.

Here in Canada, Women of Colour—including First Nations women—have not seen the progress many fight for every day. Despite all the noise made by the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, they’re still going missing and being murdered at the same rate as before the inquiry started.

Middle-class white women in the Western world focus more on carving out their space in the corporate world. Women in developing countries often find themselves fighting for fundamental human rights.

While women stand more united than in the past, there is still much to be done.