Gender Equality: The Power of Storytelling to Build Relationships and Collaboration

"I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back." ―Malala Yousafzai

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Gender inequalities are complex and multifaceted, and interwoven with various other systems of power and oppression. Work on this issue is inherently and necessarily political as well as personal, and socioeconomic. We therefore cannot discuss gender inequality without discussing intersectionality and how this impacts the advancement of women and girls. Feminist approaches now bring an intersectional perspective:

  • deconstructing established hierarchies

  • drawing attention to multiple forms of discrimination

  • and avoiding simplistic and inaccurate gender binaries and dichotomies

In this symposium, we will discuss what it means to bring a feminist approach, and the importance of developing authentic relationships and supporting collaboration to affect change. We will discuss the importance of including all voices, and the power of individual stories.

ACIC has begun the process of finding innovative ways to build connections: by finding spaces for collaboration with local women’s movements and organizations; by developing what it looks like to focus on youth voices (particularly girls) in advocacy and policy work; and in particular, by giving attention to the perspectives of women of colour, indigenous women, members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and others who have not been traditionally included in decision-making processes.

Bringing together women’s groups, government departments, youth-serving organizations, and civil society organizations, we will share a way to increase our ability to empower women and girls. With the federal government’s focus on the Feminist International Assistance Program (FIAP) abroad and ACIC’s new strategic plan emphasizing youth leadership and strengthening effectiveness of ACIC members and partners, we strive to provide opportunities and space for peer learning to achieve these objectives.

The act of connecting people from diverse paths by sharing stories can be a powerful mechanism. Solidifying relationships is fundamental to the growth and wellbeing of all humankind no matter the substance in which we all work. More importantly however, is the sustainability and the respectful maintenance of these relationships that are essential. What are the success stories we can share that illuminate relations that are everlasting?

The keynote presentation, panel discussions and capacity-building workshops will focus on ways for us to learn about key global issues through the framework of the SDGs, and in particular gender equality. The Symposium will include a pre-conference focusing on youth engagement and leadership. Workshops will centre on youth dialogue and integration but will be open to all to attend.

We hope you can join us!