Chris Hornby (left)

Chris Hornby (left)

Game raises awareness about feminist leaders

Who knows that the tragically-fated punk rocker Curt Cobain was a feminist?

Who knows that the tragically-fated punk rocker Curt Cobain was a feminist?

Cobain’s name and feminist history was part of an inspiring game organized by the Women’s Contact Society for the International Women’s Day celebration held in the Thompson Rivers University cafeteria Friday, Feb. 27.

The majority of the 72 women in attendance participated in the game, breaking into teams by table, then making their way around the room to identify posted pictures of well known and not so well known feminists.

Matching pictures to names with the few clues given was pretty much the easy part.

Back at their respective tables the players were then challenged to match the name of the person in each picture with their particular quote or achievement in the global crusade for women’s rights.

Our table achieved 100 per cent in matching the pictures to the names but probably, like many women and men in general, really don’t have a handle on who has done what in this realm of human understanding.

Curt Cobain showed his feminist spirit in his 1991 interview with NME Magazine with this quote: “Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on Earth and it happens every few minutes. The problems with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.”

Canadian actress Ellen Page in another strong supporter of feminism.

“I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word? Feminism always gets associated with being a radical movement – good. It should be,” Page was quoted as saying in a 2014 article in the Guardian newspaper.

There was also a number of internationally acclaimed feminists named in the game including early leaders in the movement such as Nellie McClung, Canadian politician (1921-26), mother and feminist and member of the Famous Five; Adelaid Hoodless, Canadian educational reformer and co-founder of the Women’s Institute, the YMCA, National Council of Women, Victorian Order of Nurses, and a major force behind the formation of three faculties of household science; and Helena Gutteridge founder of the B.C. Women’s Sufferage League in 1913, Vancouver’s first women alderman in 1937, tailor and executive member of the Vancouver Trade and Labour Council who advocated for equal pay for equal work and was the committee chair of the Minimum Wage League.

Other modern day women’s rights activists included British actor Emma Watson who said in her 2014 UN speech: “I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain it is that this has to stop.” – “In my nervousness for this speech and my moments of doubt, I’ve told myself firmly, ‘if not me,who? If not now, when.?”

The game included actress, television host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey who is reported to have donated more than $400 million to educational causes including a $40 million investment to open the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa; and Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012  for going to school, survived and went on, at age 17, to be the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

The list also included U.S. educator and author Jackson Katz internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work in the fields of gender violence prevention education and critical media literacy.

“The argument that ‘boys will be boys’ actually carries the profoundly anti-male implication that we should expect bad behaviour from boys and men. The assumption is that they are somehow not capable of acting appropriately or treating girls and women with respect,” Katz was quoted.

Singer/songwriter and Eurythmics lead singer Annie Lennox was among the names in the game for her work as a women’s right activist, UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador, SING 2007 founder; and her campaign to raise awareness and support for women and children affected by the AIDS pandemic in South Africa.

Jon Cornish, CFL running back for the Calgary Stampeders was also named for his work as B.C. Ambassador for Because I’m A Girl Canada and ambassador for the You Can Play project.

“I want my kids to grow up in a world where it doesn’t matter who you love or what colour your skin is,” Cornish was quoted as saying.

Last but certainly not least on the Women’s Contact Society’s acclaimed list of feminists is the Cariboo’s own Marilyn Baptiste, Chief Xeni Gwet’in (2008-2013) and current Xeni Gwet’in councillor who is the co-founder of the First Nation Women Advocating for Responsible Mining; received the Eugene Rogers Environmental Award from Wilderness.org in 2011; reported to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva in 2012, and was named Activist of the Year in 2012 by the Council of Canadians.