Inspired by those fighting for women's rights

By Nahanni Fontaine, MLA for St. Johns

As published in The Times March 17, 2017

<p>By Nahanni Fontaine, MLA for St. Johns</p>


<p>As published in The Times March 17, 2017</p>

On March 8, women around the world celebrated International Women’s Day to recognize the progress that we’ve made, tirelessly fighting for our basic rights and freedoms.

Like generations of grandmothers and mothers before me, I’ve sought to advance the rights of women and girls for close to 20 years. Our struggle has been expressed loudly, boldly, and calmly. Sometimes in anger and rage; or even within the depths of despair, we’ve made gains and lived triumphs.

Lately, however, one can’t help but feel that we’ve lost ground. We’ve witnessed the outright denial and mockery of sexual assault against women among some of the most privileged of political and social spaces. We see images of mothers making unimaginable decisions to leave their homelands with their children, travelling on makeshift boats, or trekking across frozen farm fields in the dead of winter, seeking safety and freedom. We read, or personally experience, the proliferation of misogynist social media messaging. Or worse still, we experience the real and unimaginable violence against women and girls.

In the midst of such madness, I feel even more urgency to unapologetically and courageously continue the struggle for women and girls’ human rights. Patriarchy has never willingly or graciously given us our rights; our human rights have always been found in our courageous, resilient and determined struggle.

Earlier this year I stood in solidarity with our sisters at the Women’s March in Winnipeg; one of the many Women’s Marches that were taking place around the world. It was estimated that five million people participated in the protest to speak out against misogynistic policies that restrict women’s rights, impose unjust and incoherent restrictions on immigration, threaten the environment, and undermine LGBTTQ* rights, racial equality, and religious freedom.

I am truly inspired by all of the people who took a stand and by the work that continues to be done to keep the momentum of this March going.

I want to thank every person who attended and supported this incredible movement. We can only fight against these forms of oppression together. We must teach and model to young girls to unapologetically to command their space as women and guide them to be strong and fearless leaders. Together we will rise to build a system of equality and freedom for all women across the world.

If you would like to get in contact with me feel free to stop by my office at 1763 Main St., or email me at Nahanni.Fontaine@leg.gov.mb.ca. You can also stay connected with me on Twitter @NahanniFontaine