The Women’s Centre’s annual Feminist Walk took place this past Saturday August 17 in Moh-kíns-tsis, what is also known as Calgary. Over 30 people gathered in Bridgeland to stroll nearby neighbourhoods and learn about important issues that impact the community. As a community-driven initiative, the Feminist Walk allows participants to explore diverse perspectives and topics through a gender lens. Volunteer speakers chose important landmarks and public spaces to share their knowledge of issues that affect women in unique ways.
The group met at the Women’s Centre and learned a brief history of the over twenty-year existence of the Centre. From there the group walked to Reconciliation Bridge to honour Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls and discuss the calls for justice outlined in the final report of the National Inquiry that was recently released.
Following this discussion, the group walked to the Drop-In Centre to better understand women’s experiences of homelessness and addiction, followed by a visit to the Women’s Wheel along the riverwalk. The wheel was created as a way to honour women’s important historical achievements, such as Daisy Crowchild who advocated for better education for Indigenous children in the 1950s and Annie Glen Broder who strove to enhance resources for music students in the 1890s.
From the riverwalk, the group entered the East Village where affordable housing was linked to improving the lives of women, who overall experience higher levels of poverty than men. In the same neighbourhood, participants visited the Calgary Public Library where the group discussed their relationships with public spaces and how they contribute to building community. Walk participants shared that parks, playgrounds, libraries, community centres and childcare are many of the public spaces that foster connection, inclusivity, playtime and fun!
The last stop of the walk brought the group to Olympic Plaza to see the statues of the Famous Five who were Alberta women that collectively petitioned the courts to have women declared persons in Canada. Although these women were also very active in the suffrage movement to obtain women’s right to vote, it is important to recognize that not all women and men were granted the right to vote at the same time due to various forms of discrimination in a colonial society. This last stop of the Feminist Walk brought several issues to the forefront, including racism within the suffrage movement; legislation that continued to oppress Indigenous people, religious groups and people of color; and how women were not given the right to vote but rather fought for it.
Past Feminist Walks included visits to the Margaret Chisholm Resettlement to discuss migration, the Cecil Sign at St. Louis Building to discuss diverse gender identities, and the Central Library to learn about Indigenous storytelling. If you have an issue, landmark or space that you think should be explored through a gender lens on next year’s walk please let us know and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to share your ideas.