Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Is Violence and Abuse of Women and Children a Significant Concern for Albertans?

With Karen Bigelow’s breakthrough as the first female to win a Directing Oscar I guess we can assume all is well with the plight of women in the world and International Women’s Day is no longer needed. NOT.

On a much more significant and serious note but with much less buzz here is a piece from Mother Jones that showed up in my mailbox this morning on violence against vulnerable women in the world. The hypocrisy of the American’s proposing to domestically pass such “international” legislation may be one focus to view this effort. Even though they will not, for example, sign on to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child or the International Criminal Court I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that this “International Violence Against Women Act” is well intended, not just na├»ve and hypocritical as it appears at first blush.

The problem of violence against women and children is growing especially in poor and countries devastated by wars (Afghanistan) and disasters (Haiti). The evidence is that violence, exploitation and abuse of women and children is growing. I don't know what to suggest as solutions but I know others who do.  I sure do recognize the seriousness of the problems but wonder where the pressure will come from to make serious changes on the ground and not just pandering political photo-op efforts.

Is Canada doing its share to help solve the problems? Prime Minister Harper mused months go about dealing with the problems at the upcoming G20 meeting in Canada this summer. Nothing much has come from his re-calibrated government on the subject since - except to say that foreign aid will be frozen.  Will anyone follow up and stand up on these issues for women in Canada and abroad?  Or are we just so disengaged and disillusioned with democracy that we just can't be bothered!

The Reboot Alberta survey of progressive’s values found that 85% of us a concerned about abuse of women and children around the world as one of the Creative Culture questions we canvassed. Of course there is an amazing amount of work to do about these issues right here in Alberta too but the problems are not mutually exclusive due to geography or culture.

I wonder if anyone in the Reboot Alberta movement will be picking up on this concern of violence and abuse of women and children and making it a matter of political importance. In the meantime happy belated International Women’s Day.