Karen is another new addition to the Women’s Centre team! She is a former member of the Board and is excited to take on her new role in handling communications for the Centre…like this newsletter!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I am a first generation Canadian and native Calgarian; my parents and two sisters moved to Calgary from Uganda in 1989 and my brother and I were born soon after. I hold a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Relations and a minor in Development Studies from the University of Calgary. I love to learn about other cultures and traditions and found the tastiest way to do this was through food! I studied in Spain for a semester during my undergrad and challenged myself to eat a new dish at a new restaurant at least once a week.
In university, I was a founding member of Women in Leadership, a club at the University of Calgary that brought women in the university together to help students with career development, talk about social issues, and volunteer at local charities. Capacity building and empowerment of women is very important to me and I make a point to volunteer with organizations that do this as much as possible. I had the pleasure of being on the Social Policy and Fund Development Committees at the Women’s Centre and I am excited to be taking on my new role as Communications Coordinator.
What is your personal definition of feminism?
Feminism recognizes the inequalities women face in various aspects of their life – which affect their quality of life and standard of living – and works to change the systemic biases in society so both men and women have equal opportunities and benefits.
What brought you to the Women’s Centre of Calgary?
During university, I had the great opportunity to be part of a campus community that worked together to enrich the learning experiences of students. After graduating, I wanted to continue to volunteer and be engaged with the Calgary community. A friend of mine recommended I volunteer at the Women’s Centre as it combined my passion for community engagement and empowerment of women. My first visit to the Women’s Centre was for a Social Issues Discussion on poverty reduction almost two years ago. From there, I was brought onto the Social Policy and Fund Development Committees and Board of Directors at the Centre. I would never use the words ‘boring’ or ‘disengaging’ to describe the workshops and volunteering opportunities at the Women’s Centre. There are always interesting women to meet and have inspiring discussions with; I feel as if I grow as a feminist and all-round human being each time I visit.
What’s one thing you hope to learn at the Women’s Centre?
I hope to learn more about the stories of the women who visit the Centre. I love to meet new people and don’t think there will ever be a shortage of new people who come to visit (we responded to more than 87,000 contacts last year)! We all have unique experiences and perspectives which can help to improve the lives of women in Calgary.
Describe a woman who you admire or who has influenced your life.
I love listening to the early speeches and interviews of Angela Davis, a civil rights activist during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. She brought a diversity to feminism which recognized not all women have the same experiences, but we all need to work together to empower each other. My favourite quote of hers is, “To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women.”