Women’s resource centre celebrates women’s month

While many know that March 8 is International Women’s Day, most are unaware that the whole month of March is dedicated to the celebration, appreciation and recognition of women.

The Women’s Resource Centre at the University of Calgary is holding a number of commemorative events, including an art display showcasing female artists, a potluck lunch, a female musical group performance and an upcoming sexual violence awareness week.

“Compared to Asia and Africa, women’s issues really fall to the way-side here in Canada,” said Leigh Ramsay, volunteer manager and program coordinator at the Women’s Resource Centre. “What people need to realize is that gender inequality remains a big problem.”

The Women’s Resource Centre is dedicated to achieving equality at the U of C year round. It aims to provide a safe and supportive environment to advance women’s equality and strives to create a more inclusive campus community.

“At the centre, we try to create a sense of community,” said Ramsay. “We want to bring people awareness of campus gender issues, encourage volunteers to join our cause and to educate people on the importance of diversity.”

While Canadian women are no longer marching for their basic rights, they do still face gender discrimination. Current statistics show that a gender wage gap still exists between male and female workers in Canada.

“It is not equal, especially in the work force,” said Ramsay. “When a man enters a field mostly dominated by women, he immediately gets a ride in the ‘glass elevator’ and is promoted to management. When a woman enters a mostly male profession, however, she can only get so far before she is stopped by the ‘glass ceiling.’ “

Besides program coordinators, many volunteers at the centre feel strongly about women’s issues as well.

“Gender stereotypes are alive and well,” said Kim Grimwade, volunteer team leader of peer support. “You see it on campus all the time. When someone hears of a male student in nursing most still say ‘Oh, he must be gay.’ It’s the same with ‘female engineers must be ripped’. “

During this week, the centre will be offering a variety of workshops, presentations and discussion forums focusing on different aspects surrounding sexual violence, which everyone is welcome to attend.

Sexual violence awareness week runs from March 29 to April 2.

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