Broad Conversations are gatherings in Hamilton, Ontario for feminist broads. Gatherings are structured to inspire new ideas and reflections on important themes within a feminist context.
Pearl Mendonca shares her thoughts on this month’s theme of participation.
“How do we define, value and manage participation as feminists, women, as citizens?”
This was the question our panel was asked at the second Broad Conversations event. It’s a fascinating question, and each of us on the panel took the conversation in completely new and awesome directions.
Here were my thoughts:
I’m going to look at my participation from three experiences: 1) as a woman of colour; 2) as a survivor of sexual violence and 3) as a bodywork practitioner.
As a woman of colour, I’m very aware of my own experience of race and how it has impacted my own participation. This also makes me think of representation – where are women of colour’s voices represented?
I am familiar with the societal expectations of the way that I will participate as a brown woman. I am also aware of my family’s expectations, cultural expectations – how I have internalized all of these expectations and lived within them.
As a woman, especially as a woman of colour, I’ve hesitated many a time in speaking up and raising concerns. It has been difficult at times to find my voice. It often takes me time to navigate different and difficult spaces, and even then, I need to feel a sense of safety.