Speak Up, Support and Celebrate

With a focus on challenging gender bias and inequity, this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) seeks to provoke society to take action and accelerate gender parity. Choose To Challenge is the theme, and creating a more alert world is the aim. As their website says, “from challenge, comes change.”  

Making a choice to challenge someone’s comments, actions or even your own assumptions and prejudices based on gender is no easy feat. It is not always the person’s fault they hold the attitudes they do, as most of the time bias is subconscious. Attitudes have been passed down for generations and are solidified in the justice system, social media and our daily interactions. Speaking up, calling out and identifying these behaviours is a learned skill, it takes practice, patience, integrity, and respect. 

One of the special things about Fernie is seeing how women excel in our community. Women thrive in business, art, sport, politics, as volunteers, authors, chefs, pioneers, and more. We’re a tight community who supports the growth and empowerment of talented women. However, just because there is so much bold feminine energy in the air, doesn’t mean gender bias is extinct. 

With knowledge, comes power. The more we educate ourselves on gender discrimination, the better we’re able to recognise it first hand and make a stand to challenge it. As we expand our frame of reference and pinpoint what needs changing, the better we’re able to pass these positive behaviours and attitudes on for continual growth. 

As a gateway to information, libraries have been essential in preserving women’s voices, in a society who often listens primarily to men. Open access to information and protection of cultural rights is at the core of empowering women, and a pillar in the library community. 

This month I encourage you to seek out female voices. A book written by a woman, a movie with a strong female lead and director, a podcast from a women’s point of view. Help yourself to unlearn the prejudices you’ve been fed and relearn equity and connection with the female soul. 

Here are a few books to help guide you:

Kids
Baby Feminists by Libby Babbott-Klein
You Should Meet Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Laurie Calkhoven 
Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Young Adult
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

Adult
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes The World by Melinda Gates
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo