Women’s Day rally in Lethbridge focuses on women dealing with homelessness and disabilities

Both male and female Lethbridge residents came armed with signs to rally for International Women’s Day on Sunday afternoon by Henderson Park.

The rally was organized by the Campus Women’s Centre at the University of Lethbridge.

Organizers say the focus of this year’s rally was on the challenges faced by marginalized women — in particular, women experiencing homelessness and disabilities.

“A lot of the time, women who are homeless face lack of health amenities, anywhere from reproductive products to sexual health products and things like dental hygiene,” said Aleah Bastien, organizer and peer support coordinator with the Campus Women’s Centre at the University of Lethbridge.

Organizers are supporting the Sisterhood Handbag Initiative.

Handbags filled with supplies for women and non-binary individuals on the streets were donated throughout the week.
So far, more than $1,000 has been raised to create the bags as well.

Bastien adds that advocating and providing those resources to women is highly important, especially during the current political climate of austerity. She emphasizes that these women deserve the funding and resources needed in order to live a “dignified” life.

“A large part of why individuals may be on the street is because they did not receive the resources or access to disability care, so they actually end up on the street, so really these are intersectional issues,” Bastien said.

“I have come a long way from where my mother came, she’d be 110 were she here today, but we still have such a long way to go for my daughters, and for my granddaughters especially,” said Barb Phillips, a Lethbridge Raging Granny.

“We’re making progress, but we’re still not equal.”

She points out that men can be important allies of women in the fight against inequality and social injustices.

“Go along and read these signs including the one my husband has that says he is a feminist, he’s an old white guy, but you can change, and you need to change if we are going to move society forward,” Phillips said.

She says women are grateful to the men that support them, “lots of men support us, and lots of more men do need to support us.”

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