In recognition of the important work of the Inspiring Women Among Us (IWAU) event series, Mayor Lyn Hall has again signed a proclamation declaring Inspiring Women Among Us Week from Nov. 18-25, 2020. In doing so, city hall supports the celebration of the achievements of women, as well as the need to address persistent gender-related inequities.
The annual event, founded in 2015 by UNBC faculty members Zoe Meletis and Annie Booth, chooses a new focus each year. The theme of the 2020 event series, Sharing Power Now!, reflects the organizers feelings of impatience over the long road towards representation and a drive towards action, states Meletis. Since its inception in 2015, however, Meletis, Booth, and a dedicated team of organizers have let frustrations fuel their work rather than distract them from it.
Due to the online format mandated by COVID-19, Meletis says it tough to measure engagement but feedback is largely positive. She recognizes that convincing people that feminism is for everyone can be a challenge, especially considering histories of exclusion in the social movement around race, class, and other intersections of oppression. Meletis points to some ways in which IWAU can further inclusion in years to come, but underlines that organizers are proud of their ongoing commitment to platforming presenters and panelists with diverse lived experiences.
In part two of our coverage of Inspiring Women Among Us, we speak with Dr. Zoe Meletis about the history of the event, this years challenges, and her motivation to keep organizing. More information on the IWAU event series can be found at iwau.ca.