Manitoba

What International Women's Day means to young Winnipeggers in 2016

How do young Winnipeggers feel about International Women’s Day and what it means to be a woman in Winnipeg in 2016? We caught up with a few young men and women found out. This is what they had to say.

CBC caught up with students at the University of Manitoba to see what IWD meant to them

What International Women's Day means to young Winnipeggers in 2016

6 years ago
2:38
How do young Winnipeggers feel about International Women’s Day and what it means to be a woman in Winnipeg in 2016? CBC caught up with a few to found out. 2:38

How do young Winnipeggers feel about International Women's Day and what it means to be a woman in Winnipeg in 2016? We caught up with a few young men and women found out. This is what they had to say.

'Not everyone has these opportunities'

Alana Robert, age 21, is a political science and economics student who started the group Justice for Women at the University of Manitoba after sexist comments were made by representatives on campus. (CBC)

Alana Robert, age 21

"I can go to school. I can get my education. I can do any job I want. I can fight for the rights of people around the world, and acknowledge that not everyone has these opportunities … A lot of people still argue with us that gender issues are not a thing, that women are equal to men, but we see that this isn't the case and there's still a lot of work that we can do. Three years ago, I founded Justice for Women here at the University of Manitoba. I started it in response to sexist comments that were made by university representatives here on campus. At the time it was 2013, and we saw the Malala Yousafzai case – that issues that are happening internationally still need to be addressed right here at home and really to start facilitating this dialogue and getting people aware and involved to make a difference … I think we're getting there. I think it's a slow process."

'Actually having some sense of value'

Lynnely Lipunga, age 19, is an economics student at the University of Manitoba. She's from Malawi. (CBC)

Lynnely Lipunga, age 19

"I'm not originally from Winnipeg so it's interesting to see a diverse culture and be able to see myself having more opportunities as a woman and actually being equally ranked and actually having some sense of value. I'm just hoping to see more and more women coming up and rising up in different positions and women not feeling so insecure about themselves and being confident and bold and seeing that women and men are of equal importance. You're not any less if you're a woman. I want to see more women rising up. I guess I'm just celebrating women."

'We can fight for ourselves'

Neha Jalali, age 21, is a business student at the University of Manitoba. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

Neha Jalali, age 21

"We are strong. We are positive. We can fight for ourselves. We can strive for power as well; this is what International Women's Day is for me. You can see around the world, women are doing so much stuff. They're fighting for causes. They're fighting for rights. They're fighting for themselves as well. In 2016, in Winnipeg, women are that personality that can influence people. I hope we are fighting more, we are standing up for more good things and we are doing more good stuff. Love women. Love your mother, love your sister and do what you can do for them."

'See women as more important'

Jake Cole, age 19, is in his first year at the University of Manitoba and hopes to go into nursing. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

Jake Cole, age 19

"Feminism is about promoting equality for everyone, and I really like that idea, about supporting equality for everyone no matter what. I don't like to say I'm a feminist because I think it's too specific of a term, but I guess you could say, yes, I guess you could say I am. I do support human rights, therefore women's rights. I like to think women are in a good state in Winnipeg, I guess … Within the media you see the whole 'sex sells' term. Get rid of that. See women as more important in society and not just men. We all have an equal representation in the world."

'Born to be a feminist'

Mercede Gerula, age 20, is in her first year of university. Her birthday falls on International Women’s Day. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

Mercede Gerula, age 20

"It's kind of just the celebration of women's rights in general and just celebrating everything we've accomplished and everything we have to accomplish yet. Today's my birthday; it's kind of interesting, my mom used grow up joking I was literally born to be a feminist so it was cool. Feminism is very broad -- it's just fighting for what's right and equality."

'There are real issues that aren't hard to identify'

Isaac Weldon, age 20, is a history and political science student who has been a part of the campus group Justice for Women for two years. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

Isaac Weldon, age 20

"It's a process. It's always ongoing. I got involved with [Justice for Women] a couple years ago, and something that I've noticed is when this group grows, it means there's still an injustice that prevails. So it's a bittersweet thing. While it's great to celebrate all the progress we made, we still have to identify the areas [to improve.] There are a lot of issues I think have to be addressed, and I really don't understand why there is a stigma attached to men being feminists. I mean, there are real issues that aren't hard to identify in our society. I guess if you say if I'm fighting against these injustices then I'm a feminist, then yeah, I'm a feminist."

'I think we did set a great example'

Sarah Shoukat, age 21, is a student at the University of Manitoba. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

Sarah Shoukat, age 21

"There are women who are in power. There are women candidates who are really strong. We just had federal elections in which we have an equal cabinet of women and men so I think we did set a great example over here in Canada especially … I would like to see more women in different faculties, in different areas professionally as well as in other areas where we don't see a lot of women. I'm from Pakistan so it's pretty different over there. You don't see a lot of women in politics. You don't see them professionally."

with files from CBC's Teghan Beaudette

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