International Women’s Day in San Miguel

Last year, I spent IWD in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I participated in a march led by an all-women’s mariachi band, dressed from head to toe in vibrant pink (the band, not me!).

It was an exhilarating experience to walk through the streets of this very old and beautiful town with Mexican, American and Canadian women, calling for women’s equality and an end to violence against women.

I am in San Miguel for IWD again this year. Ser Mujer has planned an entire month of activities to celebrate women’s accomplishments, challenge barriers faced by women and raise voices to speak out against the many injustices against women here and around the world.

A smorgasbord of activities

Here is a sampling of what’s on offer:

  • A talk by a member of Las Libres, an organization dedicated to promoting and defending women’s human rights and working especially on behalf of women who are imprisoned on suspicion of having had abortions
  • A documentary film about the life of assassinated Honduran Indigenous and environmental activist Berte Caceras
  • A performance and talk by Sandra Moran, a women’s rights activist and the first openly gay member of Guatemala’s Congress
  • An excursion to meet with women who are building rainwater harvesting cisterns in their rural community
  • Films, films and more films: Two Americans, Equal Means Equal, Con Madres, Sold, and more
  • A show of art about women by local women artists

I may not have time to get to everything, but I am going to do my best.

Time to reflect

It is all too easy to operate with blinkers on and only see the issues and work directly in front of us. When it comes to women’s equality and violence against women, there is no shortage of those issues and work: Ontario’s brand new Gender Based Violence Strategy; Canada’s “feminist” budget; Ontario’s upcoming provincial election, and the ongoing struggles of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, to name just a few, all call out for activism.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to focus my energies on those issues that are close to home; albeit trying to use a global and intersectional analysis.

I remind myself often that the world is a bigger place than Ontario and Canada and that we have much to learn from the hard work being done by feminist activists in places far from where we agitate for change.

However, the truth is that I don’t spend as much time as I should learning about what is happening in other parts of the world. I am trying to change that this month, as I absorb as much as I can about those other struggles and forms of activism, so that I can bring what I learn back into my everyday life in Canada.

Thanks to Ser Mujer for providing me with so many opportunities to learn and grow!

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