Many aspects of the Canadian feminist movement have become anachronistic, consumed with petty goals. This was not always the case.
Feminism was used as an organizing idea to fight for the rights and equality of women. The righteous goals of feminism have since been entrenched in law, including voting rights, sexual harrassment, and protection for rape victims. There are aspects of feminism that must remain prominent as anything preventing or detering violence against women is an important part of our society. Women's shelters need to exist as long as men have the ability to physically and emotionally dominate women.
The feminist project, conceived in the liberal tradition, has, in large part, succeeded.
Recently, however, Calgary saw an example of unreasonable feminism. A motion was put forward to change the official name of representatives in the Calgary city council from Alderman to Councillor, using the rationale that other councils had taken this step and, in the spirit of equality, Calgary should do the same.
The motion was rightly defeated. It is good to see city council is not intimidated by the forces of political correctness.
Here at the University of Calgary, we have seen another example of feminists trying to do good, but instead overstepping the needs of their constituency. There is currently a campaign to establish a women's centre at the university. The argument for the centre goes as follows: other universities have a women's centre so we should as well; not because we need a centre, just to keep up appearances.
A women's centre would be a total waste of whoever's resources it consumes. Just look at the position of women in the university where our Students' Union president and the majority of students are women. A women's centre is understandable where women are a minority or face some kind of difficulty in achieving their goals, but the U of C is not one of those places.
Instead of looking at Canadian society, today's feminists should focus on people who really need the important ideas feminism has to offer. This means looking to places where women are truly disadvantaged, to places where patriarchal authority is still dominant. Liberal feminism needs to be spread to places around the globe where women face genital mutation and honour killings. This can be accomplished by lobbying the Canadian government, or by promoting micro credit programs.
Micro credit is a program where disadvantaged people gain access to small loans to develop their own enterprise and is geared towards women.
Allowing women to become self-employed, and as such independent, is the first step towards more significant gains. Freedom of any sort always starts in the financial sphere, and through financial freedom women can gain political, social and emotional freedom.
In Canada, we have realized the important goals of the feminist movement, it is time we give this gift to others rather than obsess over petty details.