Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Progress still needed: Women's Day marchers

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Spurred on by cheerleaders chanting "2, 4, 6, 8, we're the ones who ovulate," a group of 250 hit the downtown streets at dusk Friday evening to celebrate International Women's Day.

The eclectic collection of demonstrators, who represented several grassroots women's organizations, native groups, women's shelters and university students, held signs including, "These Boots Are Made for Stomping Patriarchy" and "Resistance is Fertile."

"We wanted to make sure all voices were heard and we could stand together as women," noted Hope McIntyre, one of the march organizers, who said the overall theme focused on solidarity.

The peaceful march, which only temporarily held up some light traffic, is not a lost art despite advances in women's-rights issues, participants said.

"It (women's equality) has come a long way," said marcher Sheila Thompson. "The issues have changed. Marches might not have the same effect or purpose as they did in the '60s, but there are issues that need to be brought to people's attention."

The plight of women outside the social and geographical borders of Canada were in the forefront among the speakers who attended a post-march rally at the Union Centre on Broadway.

Chickadee Richards, a longtime native women's activist, focused on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women, not just in Manitoba but across Canada, a number estimated at 600 nationally since 1990.

"Our indigenous women aren't safe out there," Richards said.

Added marcher Nicole Maynard, who was holding the hand of her daughter, Grace: "We're not just talking about North America, either. We're talking about underprivileged women who aren't respected around the world. Someone has to be their voice."

randy.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 9, 2013 A8

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