International Women's Day: Young women talk feminism, Lise Thériault

We asked young women at Concordia University for their thoughts on feminism in the wake of controversial comments by Quebec's minister responsible for the status of women.

Quebec's minister responsible for the status of women sparks debate with feminism comments

Lise Thériault, the Quebec minister responsible for the status of women, initially said she wasn't a feminist. (CBC)

International Women's Day comes just a week after Lise Thériault, the Quebec minister responsible for the status of women, said she believes in equal rights for men and women — but rejected the label of being a feminist.

Following criticism over her statement that she is an egalitarian, Thériault said that she is indeed a feminist "in her own way."

We asked young women at Concordia University, who proudly identify as feminists, what they make of Thériault's comments.

Francesca Esguerra​ 

Francesca Esguerra is studying English Literature at Concordia University. (CBC)

It sends a message that in order to be successful you need to give into this man's world and you need to feed into these other ideas — you can't be an individual and share your own idea about things.

I think she is trying to compromise her beliefs in order to please more people.

Ariane Charbonneau 

'If you're going to advocate for women's conditions then you should better women's conditions' says Ariane Charbonneau. (CBC)

What I make of this is basically a lack of commitment by saying that you're an egalitarian and not a feminist acknowledges the fact you don't know what feminism is.

It's her job. In a way if you're supposed to serve women, it's a little bit as if the ministry of environment was against environmental policies. It's contradictory in a way. If you're going to advocate for women's conditions then you should better women's conditions.

Émilie Lamoureux​ 

Émilie Lamoureux, a sociology student, was surprised to hear Thériault's comments. (CBC)

It's very surprising that she doesn't consider herself a feminist especially as her title should include her feeling this as a core part of her identity.

I personally feel insulted that she hasn't taken the time to learn what this word means that is so important in today's culture and has been in different periods of course.

Morag Macquarrie-Patterson ​

Morag Macquerrie-Patterson says Thériault's words are damaging to the feminist movement. (CBC)

I thought it was disappointing that she chose to say that she was not a feminist.

I think it would have been better to have not said anything at all. It would have been better to just not say anything at all rather than identify as a feminist.

By saying that she's not, she's adding to history where the word feminist has really been discredited and has almost become a dirty word. It's really damaging to the movement and to women who identify as feminists.


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