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Feminism

My name is Kristie-Lyn. I am in grade eight and go to Spencer School in B.C, Canada. I am doing a project on Women's Rights in many countries. I am interested in the problems women face in your country and what is being done about it. The interview I am sending hopefully will help young Canadians to understand the issues and to take action. Thank you for your help.

Could you tell me about the group that you are involved in?
What are the problems women face in your country?
What's been the most significant thing your organization has done?
What have you acheived so far?
- Kristie-Lyn, Spencer School


Thanks for your note to Feminist.com--and I apologize for taking so long to get back to you. I hope this response isn't coming too late for your project, which sounds great. Many times when people do reports on Women's Rights they usually only concentrate on one country, not realizing that it is a world-wide movement. As you indicated, I hope that my answer helps young Canadians understand some of the issues that women in the United States and around the world are facing. More importantly, I hope this "understanding" leads to action. If so, you will surely deserve a big "thank you" for initiating that action.

"Could you tell me about the group that you are involved in?"
I am involved mostly with the Third Wave Foundation. Third Wave is national--U.S.--activist and philanthropic organization for young women between the ages of 15 and 30. Through technical assistance, direct service funding, and public education campaigns, we empower, inform and network a generation of young feminist activists.

I am also involved here with Feminist.com--which is a website by/for/about women. Although most of our work is about women in the United States, we do some work with women around the world. Through the Internet we provide information and tools to people in cyberspace so that they can make informed choices about their lives and take action.

I am also involved with Voters for Choice, which is a pro-choice organization. In 1973, in the United States, women were supposedly "granted" the right to choose to have an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. Since that decision, Roe v. Wade, there have been many restrictions placed on a women's right to choose. (As I understand it, this right is similar to the Morganthaler decision that you have in Canada.) This right is basic to women's freedom and is also an indication of other rights. If we don't speak out more vocally about this issue, we will lose control over our bodies--and ultimately, the power to make decisions about our lives.

"What are the problems women face in your country?"
One of the biggest problems facing women---and everyone in the U.S.--is lack of participation in the political process. The majority of eligible voters don't vote, which leaves us with a country that is "by the few and for the few." This has an even greater impact on women, who weren't even included in the U.S. constitution. So our rights--are not inalienable--but ones that we must fight for each and every day. This becomes more serious when we look at who is making these decisions. By far, the majority of policy makers are white, middle class, privileged men. Yes, this is changing, but not fast enough. Women are 51 % of the population in the U.S., but still only 9% of the U.S. Senate and approximately 20 % of the Congress. These numbers aren't much better at the local level.

"What's been the most significant thing your orginization has done?"
I'm going to answer this question in terms of my work with the Third Wave. The most significant think that the Third Wave does is that we work to change the system before it changes us. We also work to inform young people about how issues are being negatively played out in their lives before they even realize it is an issue. We raise awareness among young people, so they don't have to first experience the injustice before they fight against it.

"What have you acheived so far?"
We have achieved a great deal so far. Third Wave has created a network of over 2,000 young people across the United States. These young people are living feminist lives and demanding only what they deserve--equality.


Amy

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