On the third day of the 2011 Women’s Worlds conference, the opening panel was welcomed by a room-shaking clap of thunder. Women and men, feminists alike, had converged in Ottawa for the conference and it was as if our passions, hopes and fears collided in the skies directly above our meeting space.
The conference adopted the tagline “converge and converse” and there was a marked commitment to engaging and hearing the voices of the disabled community, the aboriginal community and the LGBTTQ community. I have never attended a conference where a commitment to such inclusivity was present, and it truly enriched the experience.
The conversations were plentiful, challenging and altogether inspiring. I felt like a student again, but in a global classroom where the lessons were the lived experiences of each of the thousands of women who converged here. From paradigm-shifting research projects to learning how I can change the functioning of my brain through activism, the topics offered were plentiful!
In my short time as a campaigner with Oxfam Canada, I have come to recognize the challenge of our commitment: we rarely stop to acknowledge and celebrate our work. The Women’s Worlds Conference allowed me to shift from conference-planner, to participant; from engager, to the engaged. It was a privilege to hear the voices of those often invisible within the feminist movement. I realize more of this dialogue is required if we are to achieve a holistic and inclusive approach to global feminism.
Taryn Diamond attended the 2011 Women’s Worlds conference, which took place in Ottawa from July 3rd to 7th.