Seventy years ago, five women--Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby--fought hard and long for the legal recognition of women as persons in Canada. Seventy years later, not much has changed.
While it's remarkable for the town that puts the "c" in conservative to erect statues at Olympic Plaza in honor of these women, more remarkable is the fact that no one seems to notice the complete lack of social equality in the rest of Calgary and Canada as a whole.
Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson told the crowd at the Plaza, "we still see a world not created, even half, by women. And we must be aware that there are women who do not have access, who do not enjoy the opportunities that educated, middle-class women do."
There are poor women, but is poverty solely a women's issue?
Clarkson's sweeping statement, fails to recognize that men and children suffer the same fate because of socioeconomic barriers. Poverty which prevents education is not just a women's issue, it's humanity's issue. And attitudes, like those expressed by Clarkson, which separate women from the rest of humanity, and stand in the way of true equality.
Different interest groups fighting for people's rights can work contrary to one another: they split the issues leaving goals distorted. Universal equality means just that: equality for everyone regardless of social status, race, age, sex or anything else. If these groups would realize the potential of combining resources to fight for true equality, think of what could be accomplished.
What if everyone was given an equal opportunity to be educated, make money, be free, and live the best life possible? Well that will never happen as long as groups of people are competing for limited time and resources from the government, society and other interest groups. We need a philosophical shift to recognize the value to all peoples.
Canada and the world needs to start fighting long and hard under a humanist movement--a movement only interested the protection of all from injustice. While the idea of a humanist movement may be idealistic, every great societal change starts out like that: as an idea. All we need to do is take the first step and change attitudes. From that point on, true change becomes possible