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What the Hashtag: Taking stock of #womenshistory and the #countrywewant

November 3, 2015, by Amber Minnings, 0 Comments

Woman with thought bubbleOctober is Women’s History Month in Canada, so last month’s e-feminism looked back at how far we’ve come and set its sights on where we’d like to be.

#WomensHistoryMonth and #womenshistory highlighted the achievements of the women’s movement in Canada. In honour of the occasion, we also took a look back at our history and the 8 trail-blazing women who founded the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

The Ontario Women’s Directorate took a different approach with #ALeadingWoman, focussing on women’s leadership today, while others looked to the future. 

In the lead up to Canada’s federal election on October 19, #TakeAGirlToVote highlighted the importance of civic engagement and encouraged parents, guardians and others to not only educate girls about Canadian politics, but to involve them in the electoral process. 

The #countrywewant was started by Women in TO Politics and trended at the same time as an open letter by 28 leading feminists in Canada, The Country We Want Doesn’t Use Fake Feminism to Hate. Both the hashtag and the letter critiqued the focus on banning niqabs and silence on larger issues of violence against women, particularly Aboriginal women, during this year’s election campaign, and called for an inclusive country that celebrates difference and protects women’s human rights.

Likewise, many jumped on the #BarbaricCulturalPractices hashtag to call out the Canadian government for its lack of action on violence against women and a range of other gendered issues. This hashtag emerged out of the Conservative Party of Canada’s announcement that, if elected, it would create a tip line so that individuals could report the “barbaric cultural practices” of neighbours or others in their community. In protest, activists immediately mocked the announcement and began reporting both satirical and serious issues as “barbaric cultural practices” to draw attention to historical and ongoing human rights abuses in Canada. The hashtag trended for weeks.

Together, these hashtags provided an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of Canada’s women’s movement and to explore some of the work yet to be done to achieve gender equality.

Women’s History Month may be over, but let’s keep striving for a more equitable and inclusive Canada.


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