Standing up for Rights: The workplace gets equal at the Nelson Library
Marcia Braundy didn’t let a little thing like a twisted framing square scrawled with an unprintable word intimidate her from taking her inter-Provincial exam to become a journeywoman carpenter. In fact, she didn’t let much intimidate her: she joined the Carpenters Union, worked on buildings from seniors housing to the Vallican Whole, ran seminars to empower women in trades, published books, and became Dr. Marcia Braundy with a PhD from UBC.
Basically, Braundy wouldn’t take “not equal” for an answer. It’s exactly what feminists—both women and men—have been doing since those heady suffragist days when a vote was so much more than a vote; it was a principle.
International Women’s Day is observed on March 8th every year. The day is both a celebration of how far we’ve come, and a sober reminder of where we have to go.
In this country, women like Braundy can take a stand to effect positive change. It takes strength and courage, but change can happen. In some countries, young women such as Malala Yousafzai who take a stand for girls’ and women’s rights to education, do so at incredible personal risk. Fifteen-year-old Malala was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October of last year. She survived, and is in rehabilitation in England.
The United Nations has declared “Malala Day” in November this year, another international day to remind us of the cost that may be exacted in order for change to happen.
These days, and in this country, uppity women are not seen as the threat they once were thought to be. Push-back is usually less overt than a twisted framing square, and we owe it to women like Braundy for making sure society understands what is acceptable, and what is not, and for the most part behaves appropriately.
There’s a ways to go, but the appetite for change is there, evidenced in the books snapped up by eager readers all year ‘round, not just on International Women’s Day. For a good history on the women’s movement in this country, check out Canadian Women and the Struggle for Equality: chronicling the road to gender equality since 1867 by Lorna Marsden (305.40971MAR).
To get the global perspective, read Created Equal: Voices on Women’s Rights by Anna Horsbrugh-Porter in association with Amnesty International, or watch the National Film Board DVD Beyond Borders: Arab Feminists Talk About Their Lives (305.40956 BEY)—among many other excellent resources in your library.
And of course read Braundy’s book Men & Women and Tools: Bridging the Divide (Fernwood Publishing, 2012) at 331.4824 BRA. Braundy presents her experience as an activist and feminist and her book at the Nelson Library on Tuesday, March 5 at 7:30pm. Find out about the good, the bad, and the “we-can-be-better” with regard to how women are treated in our society.
Then go out into that good Nelson night and know that while there’s work to be done, we have much to celebrate.