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Women celebrate their day

Jillian Dickens
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Mar 13/06) - Sure, International Womens Day is used as fuel to launch new campaigns and plot new victories, and it's used to celebrate solid feats like womens suffrage and equal pay.

But mostly, the day gives women a chance to be happy and proud just because they are.

In Iqaluit, women took last Wednesday to showcase skills and be social, playing the roles Commissioner Ann Hanson says Nunavummiut women have played for centuries.

"Years ago women kept the social order in the village and continue to do so," said Hanson at the Womens Work arts and crafts fair at Inukshuk high school. "They attend committees, volunteer and look after people, and will do this forever."

Talk of domestic violence and rape, murder and torture affecting women today were put aside for that night. The mood was neither political, angry or forlorn. Instead, it was upbeat and positive, with women either nodding or hugging as they showcased, sold or bought wares during a crafts fair and a coffee house hosted by Qulliit Status of Women Council and Qimmarvik Women's Shelter.

With the backdrop of the coffee house stage, Hanson reminisced about the womens lib movement of the 1960s.

"I remember when women's liberation happened. We who worked in offices were very happy. I was an operator/announcer at the CBC and was paid less than a man doing the same work."

She says March 8 was exciting then and is still a big day today.

"I knew many women who celebrated quietly then because they were apprehensive about men. But we can celebrate loudly today!"

For Hanson, International Womens Day means "so many things."

"It's a reminder of how women before us worked so hard for us to enjoy what we have today. It's about equal opportunity, equality and a celebration of being alive, and hope for women yet to come."