By Maria Luisa Grimaldi
CANADA:Since the word feminism entered our vocabulary, in my opinion, it has continued to create controversy between men and women.
It has many supporters and critics. It is a word that stirs emotions and apparently illustrates that prejudices do not die.
Yet, what is its unpardonable sin and its most serious offense?
Well, it was and is — change.
This terrifies the very foundation of the establishment or everyday life, and of course the outdated rules that have been a part of the traditional structure of power.
But what are the principles and the meaning of feminism that must be known?
According to the Real Academia EspaÃ±ol dictionary, feminism means …1. A social doctrine favorable to women who are granted the abilities and limited rights before men.…2. A movement that demands equal rights for women the same as men.
In respect to the definition of feminism, Nuria Varela addresses it in a basic statement: “…Three centuries and scholars have yet to learn that this is exactly what is not feminism. The basis on which the whole doctrine of feminism has been built in its different forms is precisely to establish that women are actors in their own lives and the man is neither the model to be compared to or a neutral comparison to be used as a synonym for a person.
Women are the authors of their own lives, as much as the men, and are synonymous with human beings. Feminism is a political theory, a social practice, an awareness of the reality that heightens awareness of gender and which obligates one to fight for the rights of everyone and anyone.
But it can be more like a curse that pushes you to continue on a road without end — towards a Utopian justice.
This is what can be found in Canada, where equality is one of the most developed issues in recent years among the government’s policies. In effect, we could put the terms equality, justice and feminism as synonyms.
Regardless if we are against, in favor, or we are not interested in the issue, we live in a community and in the real world of today’s society where feminism has had a great impact.
Feminism’s achievements, such as women gaining the right to vote, were won by fighters who had the courage to be different. It did not matter that these differences marginalized them and proved to be the source of sarcastic remarks throughout the fight directed at these women — they prevailed.
Thanks to these women we have the right to vote today and citizenship is clearly recognized as an extension of our civic achievements and an inalienable right.
Thanks to them we can choose to be married, we can choose to be divorced and thanks to them we are recognized as people with inherent rights as women: to be masters of our own bodies and minds.
Despite the current differences, despite its evolution, the simple yet fundamental meaning of feminism doesn’t change nor will change. It remains simple. All human beings should enjoy the same duties, responsibilities and privileges in all areas of their lives.
Feminism, politically speaking as a last resort, is based on justice. For as feminist Nuria Valera said …”Feminism is a political theory and practice articulated by women who after analyzing the reality in which they live are made aware of the discrimination they suffer for the sole reason that they are women. They decide to organize themselves to stop the discrimination, to change society. Based on that reality, feminism is spoken as a political philosophy, at the same time, as a social movement.”
With three centuries of history behind feminism, there have been times when it has been more political theory. At other times, like the suffragette movement, where the emphasis was placed on changing popular opinion, it was clearly a social movement.
This is a crusade that still continues for many women.
The United Nations has worked and is working in favor of equal rights. For example, within the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) can be found projects promoting equal employment and small business opportunities for women with HIV.
And it should be noted that among the eight goals of the UNDP, known as Millenium Development Goals (MDG) proposed by the United Nations, the third goal: Promotes gender equality and empowerment of women.
Today, March 8, as we celebrate one more year of International Women’s Day, we will celebrate our achievements and review our goals.
Yet, we are walking towards a future that we are building with our own actions that will not only liberate women but vindicate all.
Learn More About Maria Luisa Grimaldi
Six years ago, Maria Luisa Grimaldi, her husband and sons, left behind a prosperous business and successful life in Peru to emigrate to the chilly climate of Canada.
Confessing that most of the people she knows, who have immigrated, choose to go to the United States, Maria Luisa and her family saw Canada as the better option for them.
And Canada has not disappointed this enterprising woman and her family. Today, Maria Luisa is general manager of public relations and marketing at the Canadian Spanish-language magazine OpiniÃ³n.
Maria Luisa has a deep familiarity with the realities of Canada’s Latino community thanks to her work with area non-profit agencies. Holding numerous executive positions on non-profit boards, including being on the Advisory Committee for the Peruvian Consulate in Toronto, Maria Luisa has also worked extensively with other organizations that service Hispanic immigrants. It’s her experience with these organizations that she credits with her knowledge of what is happening with Hispanic communities in Canada.
“One of my ideals and fundamental aspirations is that Canada’s Hispanic community unites together for the advancement of all Latinos who have adopted Canada as their new home.
“From this perspective, our role should be well defined through an agreement, proactive and active, where we will have a voice and vote in the political life of the city and its social scene.
“In this way, with us all united we can make one Country in which we are not just a labor force but also a defined community with active participation in its society and a civic obligation.”
Maria Luisa is convinced that life is like a wheel that puts us in different positions on the road, and she with many others, are ready to push it to achieve the advancement of all.