A few weeks ago I attended our local women’s march here in Saskatoon, Canada. In a crowd of more than 400 people, it was a heartwarming experience to be walking among those who I shared the same vision with. A vision of an equal, fail and safe future.
We marched alongside each other because in our federal and provincial government women are under-represented and because only 19% of our MLAs are women. We marched because every 6th day a woman in our country is killed in domestic abuse by their intimate partner. We marched for our missing and murdered indigenous women. We marched because women and girls represent 60% of chronically hungry people. We marched because globally 1 in every 3 women (35%) has experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their life. We marched because it was time to honor the #metoo victims and give a voice to those who were unheard. It was time to let the ticking clock know that time’s up.
We took a respectful approach towards exploring women’s issue both nationally and globally all the while keeping intersectionality in mind. Intersectionally is a concept which integrates all aspects of humanity such as race, class, sexual orientation etc. Being a young woman of color in a predominantly white crowd I felt included in the conversation regarding gender-based injustice.
I was overall impressed by how moving and uniting this march was. Yet somehow I felt as though the root cause of the issue was left unaddressed. Yes, we addressed that women have been historically oppressed and there is still a long way for us to go but we forgot to mention that our western social structure is sexist patriarchy.
Many times when we hear the words, “Women are viewed as less than men”, a lot of us jump to self-defense (defending worldview) saying “That only happens in developing countries”. Well, sexism is not a product of a plummeting economy, it is a product of worldview. In the western worldview, women were (and still are) seen as objects, they were something that could be owned by men. Even in the 20th-century women in Europe and North America were seen as property’s of their husband and/or father.
Our institutions were constructed to be in favor of men, our society centers around men. If these circumstances are not inferred with, women will keep being treated less than men. What I kept hearing in the march was that we must change the statistics, we must make the world a safer place for women but no one pointed a finger at the fact our social structure is the issue here.
If we want to have equality we must acknowledge that the root cause of oppression of women is in our social structure (western). Patriarchy is deeply rooted in the western society. The core principles of patriarchy are male-centeredness, male domination, and male identification. It is crucial to understand that we live in a society which is sexist by design.
If we really want to change the world for our women, we must not be afraid to take a more radical approach. We have to be more critical and challenge the world surrounding us. That includes questioning how we view the roles of men and women. That includes knowing why women in western civilization were treated the way they were. We must not be afraid to hold our core patriarchal values accountable.