We have two new students joining us for summer! Jennifer and Carly-Ann are completing their social work practicum requirements by helping out at the Centre. Stop by the Stampede Lunch to say ‘hello!’
Tell us a bit about yourself…
Jennifer: I grew up in Timmins, Ontario, and came to Calgary for school. I’m taking social work at University of Calgary and I’m in the international and community development stream. I love adventures and travelling to new places, even if it’s just going somewhere new in the city. My favourite part of going to a new place is trying the food.
Carly-Ann: I am a born and raised Albertan. I love the Alberta landscape from the prairies to the mountains – it is one of the many reasons why I am happy to call Alberta my home. Some of my favourite things are cycling, travelling, cooking, playing video games, kayaking and spending time with my black Labrador. My family means the world to me and I am very grateful to them for all the support they have provided me throughout my life.
What is your personal definition of feminism?
Carly-Ann: For me, feminism means deconstructing gender roles that inhibit both women and men from participating in society fully. I believe that men have a vital role as allies in creating an equitable world where each individual is free of specific gender expectations. I believe feminism is a key piece in creating equitable opportunities for all genders, and that feminist thought can aid in deconstructing beliefs that marginalize all genders.
Jennifer: For me feminism doesn’t really have a single definition, but at its core is gender equity and looking at the societal structures that impact gender. Feminism is about not providing one group privilege over another. I really appreciate bell hooks’ definition that uses intersectionality within feminism and consider it a key aspect of my personal definition. Within gender there is a lot of diversity and gender itself is only one aspect of a woman’s identity. It is important to address how the other aspects of people’s identity play a role in privilege and oppression and how those identities influence gender.
What brought you to the Women’s Centre of Calgary?
Jennifer: The Women’s Centre has a unique model that helps break down barriers for people coming into the Centre. The trust-based model is so important to help build relationships and made me want to do my practicum at the Women’s Centre.
Carly-Ann: I found that throughout my education I became very familiar with feminist theory; however I had no experience of what feminist practice looked like. I was very excited by the opportunity to be involved in an organization that stems from a feminist model. My latest practicum experience was very research-based, and I was very excited to start something new where I would be involved with people, rather than just my computer.
What’s one thing you hope to learn at the Women’s Centre?
Carly-Ann: I am really excited to converse with individuals about their own beliefs on feminism and what that looks like in practice. I also want to learn some of the hurdles the Women’s Centre faces and what strategies they use to create such an amazing and open space.
Jennifer: I hope to learn more about working from a feminist and trust-based framework and how to incorporate features into the work I do in the future. I also want to learn more about the community resources and services available in Calgary.
Describe a woman who you admire and/or has influenced your life.
Jennifer: While there are several women who I admire and have influenced my life, my friend Val has been a big one. She is always so positive and strong. I can always turn to her for support when I need to, even when I’m a few provinces away.
Carly-Ann: My mom has definitely been the most influential woman in my life. Her grace and understanding has shaped who I am. I continue to strive to have the patience and unconditional love that my mom emanates. My mom is one of my biggest supporters and is hands down one of the most important people in my life.