Extending a Good Thing

SDBI & VIA Fill CSU Gap for Women’s Month

Kenyan parliamentary candidate and women’s advocte Flora Terah will speak at Concordia on March 2. Photo Pierre Chauvin

This year, the annual Concordia Women’s Week has been extended to a full month, but that lengthening didn’t come without some growing pains.

While Concordia’s chapter of Volunteers In Action and the Simone de Beauvoir Institute for Women’s Studies have teamed up, the Concordia Student Union has made no activities or plans for the month.

“They didn’t help with planning, but they did help facilitate communication between the club and Simone de Beauvoir,” said VIA President Caroline Bourbonnière.

“We’re going to be helping them out with their space booking and helping them out to get various licenses they may need,” said CSU VP External Chad Walcott. “Basically, allowing them [access to] the resources that the CSU has in order to host [any activities] they may be having.”

In the past, the CSU’s Women’s Caucus had organized events for the annual Women’s Week. However, that body was eliminated in the recent revamping of the CSU bylaws, leaving responsibility for organizing Women’s Week to Walcott.

Walcott said that while he was glad to lend a hand to VIA and SDBI, because of his heavy involvement in the anti-tuition hike movement the CSU would be unable to formally organize Women’s Week this year.

“The main reason we weren’t able to handle all the events is because it’s under my portfolio and I was concentrating on the tuition issue,” he said.

“So that’s why we’re trying to take more of a collaborative stance and use all the resources we can to make a women’s [month] that’s representative of women’s issues but also has participation from a wide amount of people in the Concordia community.”

A full list of activities is hard to come by online, as both the CSU and VIA were experiencing technical difficulties with their websites at press time. However, Bourbonnière said she expects to have the website back online shortly and noted a Facebook event page was on its way.

Among the events planned are guest speakers—including Kenyan parliamentary candidate, author and women’s advocate Flora Terah on March 2—workshops, bake sales, and a production of the play The Vagina Monologues.

Bourbonnière said that while much of the planning was done by the SDB, VIA hope to use their influence to get word of the events to a larger group of people.

“We’re going to be helping the SDBI to get a wider audience because I think they have some really amazing things to say and I don’t think enough women pay attention to what they’re saying.

“There are still so many inequalities in society in regards to women and men,” she continued. “There aren’t enough women in parliament or high-standing positions and I feel even the media portrays women in a certain way. […] It’s also a good time to celebrate all the women that are doing so well, [as well as examine] human rights—there are women who are going through atrocious situations in other countries.”