Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.
Women are real, and we're spectacular: Vicky Mochama
October is Women's History Month, a chance to reflect on the fact that despite what you may have heard, or not been told, Canadian women do, in fact, make history.
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People seem to forget about women all the time.
Just today, the federal NDP elected Jagmeet Singh, an Ontario MPP as their leader. It was a big day for him personally and a big day for people of colour, Sikh people especially, to be represented for the first time by the leader of a federal party.
With Singh’s election, some noted, all the political parties are represented by young(ish) men. Both Scheer and Singh are a sprightly 38 years old in contrast to Trudeau’s 45. What a time we live in!
But wait a minute: to marvel at all this youth, you’d have to forget about the existence of both Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Quebecois Leader Martine Ouellet.
This precise pattern happens all the time. Women in all fields are routinely erased from movements they were central to, moments they created and spaces they founded.
In the sciences, women’s work is devalued. Sixty years after the fact, the film Hidden Figures resurfaced the story of the Black women “computers” who did the math that put man on the moon.
In academia, women who contribute their labour are relegated to the role of helper or their credit denied for too long. In March, using the #ThanksForTyping hashtag, people on Twitter shared the ways that the wives of academics were the unsung heroes in so much important research.
In sports, the accomplishments of women athletes have been denigrated by their male counterparts and overlooked by the world at large. By now, it should go without saying that Serena Williams is the greatest living athlete. And yet, John McEnroe recently had the audacity to say that Williams would struggle to be in the world's top 700 if she was on the men's circuit.
Recognizing the accomplishments of women and woman-identified people is about ensuring that we have a true record of who we all are. It ensures an accounting of history that is true and fair.
Canadian women have shaped our history and our present. For many, their work lives on into the future. Without the presence of pioneering women like Rosemary Brown, the first Black woman elected to a Canadian parliamentary body, a victory like Singh’s might not be possible. Without Maggie Trudeau, we don’t have a feminist prime minister (technically and ideologically). Without the likes of Mary Ann Shadd and Carrie Best, there are no templates for being a Black Canadian woman in journalism.
For as long as there have been people, there have been women. I’m 90 per cent sure of that, but I’d like a woman to double-check.
So I’m glad that October is Women’s History Month. It’s an important reminder, for starters, that women have, in fact, made history.