Under the theme of In Our Own Words, International Women’s Week 2011 activities at Vanier College, March 7-11, 2011, will use painting, dance, photography and film in workshops, student panels, lectures and performances, to present a range of issues of interest to women.

Highlights on Monday, March 7, 2011, include the sassy satire of the ever popular Raging Grannies; a painting workshop by artist Natasha Henderson who will guide Vanier students in painting a mural inspired by the works of great female Canadian artists; and Dr Monia Mazigh, wife of Maher Arar, who will discuss her husband’s case and explain what it has to teach us about human rights in the world and in Canada today.

Later in the afternoon, women in action in Nicaragua will be the topic of discussion with a panel of Vanier students, who recently travelled there, lived with local families and participated in community projects. In the last event of the day, Diane Labelle, a two-spirited Mohawk woman will discuss the history and meaning of two-spiritedness. We may know the terms ‘gay’ ‘bisexual’ and ‘transgender’, but Diane will tell us what ‘two-spirited’ means.

On Tuesday, dance instructor Sandra Beaulieu will offer two workshops: one uses hip hop dancing to empower participants and challenge sexism; the second uses contemporary dance to express subjectivity, identity and emotion through the body. Later the same day, a panel of members of Vanier’s student LGBT group called U.M.B.R.E.L.L.A will discuss their experiences and attitudes as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender college students.

On Wednesday, March 9th, check out the poisons in your purse with Janice Melanson when she presents FemmeToxic, a look at toxins in cosmetic and personal care products. You’re in for a shock when she reveals what’s inside beauty products in your bathroom and bag and discusses ‘pink washing’ in the cosmetics industry.

Other interesting events taking place during the week include a festival of films, photographs and a presentation by Melanie Hadida on women activists of Bhopal, and a talk on women, ethnicity and identity with Mariam Pirbhai. Women and sports will be the topic of She Shoots, She Scores! Women’s Hockey in Canada – featuring a panel of female athletes including Olympic Gold medalists, Caroline Ouellette and Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux, who will discuss the success the Canadian Women’s 2009 Olympic Hockey Team and the challenges and double-standards high-level female athletes still face.

On March 10, an update on feminism in 2011 might be an eye-opener when Feminism in the Eyes of College Students presents a panel of Vanier students trying to answer questions such as: Do college students identify as feminists? Is feminism still a relevant term? What are the biggest challenges facing young women and men today that feminism addresses? How can men benefit from the feminist movement?

See the detailed schedule for more information on activities and invited speakers. Open to the public.

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