Balance for Better = Equilibrium for all

Agnes, a Global Partner, South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC)

This International Women’s Day we will march under the banner, Balance for Better.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of this slogan, given the current environment. What does balance mean in a context of growing extremism, patriarchy and misogyny? If we are looking for balance between patriarchy and gender equality, I have serious concerns.

But then the words of Aida Quilcue, leader of Colombia’s Indigenous Regional Council of Cauca, came to mind:

Aida Quilcue, leader of Colombia’s Indigenous Regional Council of Cauca

When the military are on our territory, there is imbalance, the equilibrium is upset, our environment is contaminated–there is displacement. As Indigenous women we do not want more military on our land. We are here on Mother Earth. Each time we unite, we advance with more strength.

Aida’ s balance has more to do with equilibrium than equality. I hear similar ideas from Indigenous women in Canada and Global South. When there is violence against the earth and communities, the equilibrium is offset. Women feel this ecological violence against their very bodies and their being. This is the balance we are looking for, an equilibrium in our relationships with each other and the earth.

This International Women’s Day on March 8, KAIROS will feature the voices of 8 women over 8 days. These eight women represent eight of our numerous partners and the hundreds of thousands of women who are working this balance, this equilibrium every day of the year.

KAIROS has the privilege of working with women human rights defenders and women’s rights organizations in Canada and all over the world, including in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia, Israel/Palestine, the Philippines and Ecuador. They work tirelessly for equity, peace, human rights and ecological justice. International Women’s Day invites us to pause and celebrate these women, organizations and movements.

It has been a challenging year for women’s rights and feminism, to say the least. Extremism and populism have risen together with patriarchy and misogyny. The term “gender ideology” has been invented to demonize women’s and LGTBQ rights and gender justice, presenting them as an ideology that will threaten family, the status quo and faith-based values.

Environmental destruction, often from large scale resource extraction, and climate change are accelerating at a dangerous pace wreaking havoc on the earth and its peoples, particularly Indigenous communities. Indigenous women all over the world and in Canada have said that they see this violence against the land as violence against their bodies and their very being. And indeed, there are reported increases in in gender-based violence when mining projects come to town.

So it has been a difficult year to be a woman and a feminist. In some ways it seems that we have stepped backwards. But against this wave of extremism, there has been a counter wave, a stirring up of younger feminists, the #MeToo movement and a growing diverse, multi-generational and intersectional movement. There is new awareness of intersectionality and gender diversity as well as an understanding of the intimate connection between the struggle for gender equity and the need to protect the planet. This is a movement that understands the need to find different models of development that don’t depend on unsustainable and destructive forms of extraction from the earth.

These new and intersectional forms of feminism are reasons to celebrate.

This International Women`s Day, we come together under the banner of Balance for Better to demand change, radical change, which goes beyond equality, which will bring equilibrium among peoples and the earth.

Rachel Warden, Partnerships Manager, KAIROS Canada

Global Affairs Canada is providing the Women of Courage: Women, Peace and Security program with financial support from 2018 to 2023, making it possible for KAIROS’ partner organizations to greatly expand their capacity and increase their impact. KAIROS needs to raise funds to match the government’s contribution and we need your help! 

Every $1 you donate to our Women of Courage: Women, Peace and Security partners will generate an additional $3 in funding from Global Affairs Canada.

Filed in: Gender Justice/Women of Courage


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