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  • Manini Sethi

CBUSU's Women's Center Celebrates International Women's Week 2021

March 8th is globally celebrated as International Women's Day, a day which not only celebrates achievements of women in the social, cultural, political and economic sphere, but also calls for action against gender discrimination and social injustice towards women.

The theme for Women's Day 2021 is 'Choose to Challenge'. Challenging gender norms and institutionalized discrimination is one of the first but also one of the most critical steps in the path towards gender equality.

In solidarity with International Women's Day, CBUSU's Women's Center celebrated International Women's Week (from 8th to 12th March) by organizing a series of interactive events for CBU students on each day of the week.

Due to social distancing regulations, most events were conducted virtually.

When asked about whether this was challenging, Victoria Chapman, the Coordinator of the Women's Center told Caper Times that her prior experience organizing events around the new restrictions while working with CBRM Recreation in the summer helped her as she was familiar with the new setting. She adds that planning such events is like a "double edged sword" as many students are facing virtual fatigue and the last thing they want to do is to be online again, but many people are vary of attending events in person as well. "It's all about finding the right balance", adds Victoria.

March 8th was a virtual painting night, hosted by Bailee Higgins, a Cape Breton/Halifax based artist. Supplies were delivered to CBU students attending the event who stay in CBRM.

Photo source: Bailee Higgins Art, Instagram

Sex Toy Bingo and 'Jilling Off: The In's and Out's of Solo Sex' with Venus Envy were on March 9th and 10th respectively. The idea behind these events was to destigmatize women's sexual pleasure. The Sex Toy Bingo had prizes worth over $500 and also had the largest turnout.

CT Staff: Why do you think the sexual liberation of women is an important part of women's liberation?

Victoria Chapan (Women's Center Coordinator): This year as part of me becoming the Women’s Centre Coordinator, I really wanted to focus on sex positivity. I think sex is often a really demonized, taboo topic, and I really wanted to work on changing that. We did four workshops with Venus Envy this year (Consent and Communication, Sex and Disability, Long Distance Relationships and Jilling Off!) and I think we covered a lot of really great topics, and I don’t know if I can speak for everyone who attended but I learned a lot!

I think for women, especially cis gender heterosexual women, our sexual desires and pleasure can often come second to men, be demonized or be ignored all together. Women are often socialized to hate their own bodies and often women can go most, if not all of their lives without fully understanding their bodies. I know even in the Jilling Off! workshop the instructor told an anecdote about a woman who was in her sixties before she touched herself in an intimate way. That’s why I tried to create spaces to promote sex positivity.

Sex positivity challenges everyone, not just women, to explore their own sexuality and to engage in relationships that honour and affirm them, whether that be engaging in sexual relationships or abstaining from them. All that matters is that everything is healthy and consensual!

The Women in Music Event on March 12th was hosted in collaboration with CBRM Connect Arts. The event had limited seats for CBU students at The Old Sydney Society and was also live streamed on Facebook. Molly Babin, Rebecca Ratchford, and Breagh Kelly performed at the event. A video of the performance can be found *here*.

Breagh Kelly singing self composed song "By My Own" at the Women in Music event

Victoria told Caper Times that most of the events were not exclusive for women as the aim of the events was to uplift women rather than to exclude others.

Follow the Women's Center on Instagram and Facebook to stay updated about upcoming events and learn more about the resources you can access!

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