A fight for women’s rights

Local organization spreads awareness about Afghan women

Making a change: RAWA’s message is simple women are not yet equal. (Tom Bateman /AQ)
Making a change: RAWA’s message is simple women are not yet equal. (Tom Bateman /AQ)

Conditions for women are getting worse not only in Afghanistan but here in New Brunswick as well. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan is out to make you aware of that.

RAWA, an international women’s right organization, held their fifth annual variety show benefit Saturday night at the Gallery Connexion.

“It’s an event that brings together a ton of artists for awareness as well as an expression of protest,” says organizer Tracy Glynn. “We’re getting bigger every year and it is for an issue that is only getting bigger.”

Their message is simple: women are not yet equal, here at home or across the globe.

“We may be treated as such here in NB in the public sector, but not in the private,” says Glynn. “And for woman in places such as Afganistan it has only gotten worse. A war zone allows for the worst types of crime against women. We’re here to get the word out.”

The event hosted several showcases including an opening by Fredericton’s Raging Grannies and was headlined by Saint John’s jazz musician Debbie Adshade. There were also performances by poets as well as a silent auction to raise funds for RAWA.

“It’s important to be more familiar with what is going on in regards to the treatment of women,” says Glynn. We want people to know that it is something that should not be taken at all lightly.”

Glynn cited the rise of domestic violence and murder rates against women here at home as well as the harsh conditions for women abroad as a reason for such events.

“Here at home it is a more passive inequality, abuses that you may not readily see and it is a big problem. Places far away such as Afghanistan we are seeing much more violent acts and the protests are getting extreme.

“Some women are setting themselves on fire to bring attention to the atrocities going on,” says Glynn. “These acts of self immolation tell us that the worlds treatment of woman is so far unacceptable.”

RAWA, which began in 1977, was founded by a young student activist Meena Keswar who was assassinated for her stance regarding woman’s rights. Since then RAWA has grown to include several chapters spanning the globe including the organizers here in Fredericton.

“When we started five years ago this was a much smaller event, taking place on campus, says Glynn. “Now we get support for hundreds of people, some as far away as British Columbia.

Many groups have come together to support the RAWA event. The UNB student union, sexuality union, political science department are all supporters as well as several labour unions such as the Canadian Postal Workers.

“A lot of groups come together to support us,” says Glynn. “We need it, RAWA takes on a lot of government initiatives in Afghanistan that because of the war are being missed.”

Health care for women as well as protection against aggressive prostitution recruitment are only two of RAWA’s many tasks that Glynn mentions.

“This is something that needs to keep growing until, hopefully, we are no longer needed.

 

For more information go to www.rawa.org

 

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