Declaration of the Rights of Women

A recent document has come to my attention. It is called the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens. I commend those who wrote it, it really is quite a feat, a big step forward. However, they did leave out one crucial thing in that document, the rights of women. The rights of women have hardly been mentioned in the declaration, so I decided to write my own document called the Declaration of the Rights of Women. I hope that you take this declaration in to consideration.

Article 1: Every single woman is entitled to these rights. No matter where they live, what their heritage is , what their religion is, what their culture is, whether they have a disability, whether they are rich or poor. No woman should be treated unfairly on any basis

Article 2: The government has a responsibility to make sure your rights are protected.

Article 3: Women have freedom of expression as long as it harms no one, women are able to express any thoughts or opinions through speech, through writing, and through art freely without fear of prosecution or prejudice.

Article 4: Women have the right to practice whichever religion they choose, or none at all if they please, without fear of persecution or prejudice.

Article 5: Women are entitled to an education and should be given. This education should be equally as good to the education that the male populace receives.

Article 6: Women have the right to work outside of the domestic environment and are entitled to good jobs the money that comes with them. These women in the workforce should be paid equal to a man performing the same or a very similar job. Women are entitled to earn their own money.

Article 7: Women should be able to divorce a man and have equal rights to the objects that they have together.

Article 8: Women are entitled to the same inheritance rights as any man.

Article 9: Women have the right to come together and form clubs and sectionals. These clubs and sectionals should be treated with the same respect as a club or sectional for men.

Article 10: Women have the right to get information that is important to their well-being, from newspaper, books, pamphlets and other sources.

Article 11: Women have the right to publish information, opinions, or thoughts as long as they are not harmful in the form of books, newspapers, and pamphlets so long as it is not slander.

Article 12: Women have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.

Article 13: Women are entitled to the same voting rights as men.

Article 14: Women have the right to participate in politics and have the right to a voice in government in the form of a seat in the General estate, and in the form of their won political parties.

Article 15: Women are entitled to all of the same rights as men.

 

Rest assured that I will see these rights be brought forth into legislation or die trying to bring equality to this country. I have to fight against old views that have been in place for many years, but I will continue to insist that women are entitled to the same rights as men and are equals. I will continue to publish declarations, pamphlets, books and plays that shed light on this issue. I hope that you take my declaration into serious consideration.

–Marie Gouze aka Olympe de Gouge

 

“The Troubles of the Young Playwright”

The following is an excerpt from my most recent play about a young woman with a non-traditional life style as she struggles to become a playwright. This particular scene is the turning point at which the main character, named for my sake, is having an epiphany. It is highly biographical and resembles my life in many ways. You may notice that the format is weird for a play script, however, this is the format of my time and I have written nearly all of my scripts in this format. I hope that you enjoy this short story about me, Olympe De Gouges, and my life as a playwright with a modern life style.

Olympe (Walking in street with Renee): I’ll never make it as a playwright! The things I want and need to talk about in my plays are just too controversial. I try so hard to show the public about what’s happening to slaves; about what’s happening to women and how they are mistreated and often beaten. I want to make a difference with my writing, but no one will listen. Just when I think that they listen, when my play is accepted, I am rejected as they never actually perform my play for fear that it is too controversial. Renee, help me make sense of this mess, what do I do?

Renee (Holding a large stack of books): Well, what I hear you saying is that you want your works to be published so that you can make an impact through your writing to tell important narratives that the public needs hear, but they are just too controversial. You are being censored because of common convention and tradition.

Olympe (Loudly): Exactly, finally, someone who gets me! Speaking about tradition and convention, I get so much nonsense for my life style. It’s my life, just because it doesn’t conform to their ideas of what a woman should be and do doesn’t mean that my life is worth any less. If I don’t want to marry my lover, Jacques, I don’t have to. So what if we had children without being married, its 1788 for goodness sake! I don’t need to get married to know that our love is important. A woman’s sole job is not to marry off, we all have just as much potential as any man.

Renee: I agree, it is your choice if you want to marry, and no one should judge you for your personal decisions. They don’t know the whole story.

Olympe: You’re right, they don’t know that just after I first married, that my husband had died…

{There is now a flash back to that time, it is not important to this exert but it is important to the story overall, the script will resume where it left off}

Renee: You have to fight against traditions to get your ideas out there, I can’t imagine being an unmarried female playwright in a time like this.

Olympe: I know, it’s really hard, I’ll tell you that much. What can I do to overcome all of this? What can I do to get my ideas out there and have a stronger sense of security with my life style?

Renee: Well, that is only a question that you can answer Olympe. I know that you can figure this out.

Olympe: I can’t do anything to change people’s perceptions of my work to get more publicity or change people’s views about my life style. However, what I can to is continue to try publishing my works and persevere. I can keep challenging traditions through my writing and in my life to show people that I am more than what they make me to be and that we all deserve equal rights. Kings, peasants, Nobles, slaves, women, Priests, religious minorities, and everyone else. We all deserve equal rights.

I hope that you enjoyed the first portion of my play and that it gave you insight in to my life as well as where I stand on some pressing social issues of the day.

 

Interview

Who I interviewed:

Image from: http://lauradupont.ca/about-me/

I interviewed Laura Dupont, a city council women in Port Coquitlam. She is currently the only woman on that council. She works with the government only part time, the rest of her time is spent volunteering with SHARE, a non-profit that offers social services as well as with many committees including: Port Coquitlam’s Community Safety Committee, Healthy Communities Committee, Fraser Valley Regional Library Board, Interlink Library Board and Metro Vancouver Climate Action Committee. As a city council woman, Laura passes legislations in Port Coquitlam for the good of our municipal and she focuses in on environmental issues with in PoCo. She has a University education in political science and in environmental sciences. Some of the accomplishments that she has in the community is passing important legislature for the environment.

How the person I interviewed is a leader in the community:

Laura
Image From: http://lauradupont.ca/about-me/

She is a leader in the community because she puts lots of hard work and effort in to bettering Port Coquitlam through her volunteering and through the legislature that she passes as well as her dedication towards a healthy environment for our community. She is also a good leader because she listens to the needs of the community at council meetings and try’s her best to voice these opinions and take action on them so that Port Coquitlam can become a better place for its residents. She is a very perseverant person who is strongly dedicated to bettering the community through any way possible.

Interview questions:

  1. What parts of your job do you enjoy the most? The least?
  2. Is there anything more I need to know about being a council member to conduct this interview?
  3. What is your education and training background and how has it helped you?
  4. What qualities do you think a good leader should possess?
  5. What type of actions do you think a good leader should take?
  6. Through your work trying to better the community, which of the qualities you just listed do you think you have gained?
  7. Through your work trying to better the community, which of the actions you think a good leader must take have you also taken?
  8. What is one specific moment as a community leader that you are particularly proud of?
  9. What is it like to be the only woman on city council?
  10. What is an instance where you used some of the skills you gained through your work to better the community to overcome a problem?
  11. Is there anything else that you think I should know?

Answers:

  1. The part that I enjoy the most is meeting people in the community. I love getting to know all of the different groups in our community through the council meetings and so on. I really like interacting with people in the community that I wouldn’t normally get to talk to. The part I enjoy least is the technology aspect. I am not good at using technology and I think I waste quite a bit of my time trying to make it work.
  2. It is crazy busy all the time, but it’s fabulous.
  3. I volunteered a lot in the community before this and that really prepared me for what I had to do as a community leader. In university, I did environmental studies and political science. The environmental sciences helped me indirectly, but when I studied political sciences, it really inspired me to get involved with politics.
  4. I think a good leader should be firm and think for themselves. They should stay true to their values.
  5. I think a good leader should try to speak for the community. Now that I am on city council I have the opportunity to interact with the community about what they want to change and what they like so that we, the city, can improve our municipal.
  6. / 7. I think that by helping the community, I have become empowered and that I really have voiced the opinions of the public to better the Port Coquitlam community.
  1. One moment that I am proud of is the first piece of legislation that I passed as a councillor. It was a piece of legislation made by David Suzuki called the Blue Dot Movement which aims to help start initiatives at all levels of government to help the environment.
  2. It would be nice to have more women on city council, but I honestly don’t have too many issues with it. I don’t mind being the only woman on city council as there are other women from different committees, but I would like more women to take part in government.
  3. When I was running for council, I needed to reach a wide audience of people and talk one on one with them to try earn their votes. My campaign helpers and I walked from door to door, and I don’t think I exaggerate when I say that we knocked on nearly every single door in Port Coquitlam. Campaigning was really hard, it was a big test. I didn’t have a lot on my side as most people running for the first time aren’t elected. I still can’t believe that all of those people voted for me. It was really hard work and I had to use lots of leadership skills to overcome it.
  4. I think you should know that politics is a very good career option. We need more women in politics, and though you may think that it sounds boring, I think that young girls should consider this a viable way to make a living. It is so rewarding to know that I am making a difference in the community.

*Some fun facts that arose from our conversation*

  • Laura volunteers her time with SHARE a noon-profit that offers social services to families.
  • Laura used to work as a flight attendant, at a car dealership, and in the oil business.
  • Laura is originally from Alberta.
  • Andreas Gunster’s Mom was Laura’s campaign manager.
  • Laura will soon start a debate club for the local teens where they can debate political issues so that more teens get interested in politics.

My thoughts/ reflection on the interview:

Image from: http://www.portcoquitlam.ca/discover_port_coquitlam.htm

I think that I learned a lot from Laura. She has taught me about the impact politics can make, the importance of perseverance, the importance of community, but most of all, the importance of good leadership skills as well as how they apply in life. Since talking to her, I have more carefully considered a job in politics and the importance of good government to lead communities, her passion has really influenced me and pushed me to think about some provocative questions. When she talked about all of the hardships she overcame to be elected, I learned that hard work really does pay off. I was absolutely amazed at all she had done. In the write up of the interview, I only included the most important parts and paraphrased for the most of it, but in reality, we had a very in-depth conversation about her experience in campaigning. She also shared some really interesting and touching stories about how through her job, she has gotten to impact the community and bring people closer together which I think is really amazing. However, I think the most important thing that I got out of the interview is that leadership skills are very important. Skills like the ones that I am only beginning to learn now, have helped Laura throughout her journey in life at nearly all the stages. I one day hope to be a leader in the community in a similar way to Laura. She is so passionate in what she does and that passion has rubbed off on me. I think that my favourite part was near the end of the interview when Laura asked me some questions in turn. I kind of liked to be on both sides of the situation, interviewing Laura while she reciprocated some of my same questions back to me. It really made me think about what it takes to be a good leader, after this interview, I have a much better idea.

Here is the source for the last picture used:

http://www.the-numbers.com/movie/Campaign-The#tab=summary

Some of the other sources that I used to help mw this this project:

The Port Coquitlam Website.

Her Personal Website

A newspaper article about her campaign

Division, Discrimination, and Community

Human beings are hardwired to connect and to belong. We all have this great need to be part of something greater than ourselves, to connect with others, to be part of a community. I believe that belonging to a group is essential for thriving and wellbeing. Collective identity has the right intentions of creating a community so that the people with in feel safe and they feel that they have a purpose and meaning. Collective identity builds a sense of solidarity, a sense of support and courage. When people get a great sense of belonging and if they feel that their voice matter, they become more loyal and as a result their group becomes really cohesive.

Social Division photo from: http://blackandwhitestreet.com/sites/default/files/styles/bws-copy/public/Social%20Division-1.jpg?itok=QMp987Yh

On the other hand, Collective Identity is that has a tendency to create a gap between people who belong to different groups. We identify and feel loyal to people belonging to the same group. it then creates a gap between the people who are not inside the Collective Identity. Though it is meant to unite people, it more often isolates and divides people by creating tight boundaries around our groups and communities. Some examples of these groups might be cliques in the school or government parties. No matter where you go, these communities exist, and though they do not mean to isolate themselves from other people or groups, the inadvertently do so by creating a specific Collective Identity that the members of the community conform with. The idea that I am focusing on is “Collective Identity is constructed and can change over time.”—if you haven’t guessed so far. I picked this topic mainly because as a person who is passionate about social justice, I hate to see people suffer from racism, classism, sexism and many other things that Collective Identity can often lead to. I talk about Collective Identity through two content areas unifying the content and the main idea with the theme of division and isolation (ironic, right?). I then go on to talk about competencies through the lenses that I asses social through—my mindset and perspective.

Community Photo from: http://www.raww.org.uk/images/community.png

The first reason I picked this idea is because it is a theme that shows in many areas of my life and I subconsciously and consciously relate my learning to this idea because it is something close to my heart that I deal with every day. Which brings me to my second reason which is, I deal with this topic everyday as the TALONS group forms a collective identity. The grade nine talons are now storming and norming to create a dynamic community and a big part of the process in creating a community as such involves making a Collective Identity as we are now. I also learned more about my big idea through my eminent person who was a big civil rights and social activist that faced a lot of hardships. Collective identity is something that has impacted my life and those around me as Canada has a very open collective identity that takes pride in the people all around the world that have come to live here, and for that I am very grateful. If we had moved somewhere else with a collective identity that isolated immigrants, I would be a very different person today, which is an important reason that I picked this as my big idea. The last and perhaps most prevalent reason that I chose this theme is that Collective identity can often isolate people and create a division which may lead to racism, sexism, classism, and more. I am very passionate about social justice and I don’t like to see people be torn down by discrimination so this topic stood out to me. I just want to add that though Collective identity can create a division sometimes, it also creates unity and is a key part in building a community.

Canadian Collective Identity Image from: http://www.tvdsb.ca/webpages/dowsettr/imageGallery/history/timhorton_snow1.jpg

I see Collective Identity in many of the content areas but particularly discriminatory policies, attitudes and wrongs as well as nationalism—which is an us vs. them scenario in this case. I picked two content areas because I feel that they are intertwined and that it would be hard to talk about one in this context without mentioning the other. The common link that connects Collective Identity to discriminatory policies, attitudes and wrongs as well as nationalism is the idea of division. Though collective identity unites, it isolates everyone who falls outside of that identity and that can lead to nationalism, discriminatory attitudes, discriminatory policies, and all around wrongs. It creates the idea that everyone within the collective identity is better or right and that everyone outside the collective identity is less than or wrong. Because of these warped views, discrimination can arise. I have seen many examples of this idea and content areas in my learning, but there are a few that are especially dominant in my mind. When I learned about Maya Angelou through my eminent study, I got to be educated on racism quite a bit through her life story. Maya grew up in a time of extreme inequality for African Americans and for Women; she had to go to a separate school just because of the colour of her skin. She had to use different bathrooms because of the colour of her skin. Her life was de-valued because she did not fit the collective identity America had at the time just like the lives of the many Native Americans that we learned about when we talked about Columbus. Columbus treated the lives of the Native Americans with disregard because they did not fit the collective identity of the Europeans. Columbus created discriminatory policies against the Native Americans, treated them in an unfair way and over all wronged a very peaceful people greatly. Columbus didn’t look at the Native Americans as fellow humans, but as a species separate from his own. People are scared to step out of comfort zones, we welcome familiarity as an old friend and cast away change like an enemy. However, if we don’t want to repeat the same mistakes that Columbus made, we need to reach out and try to understand other groups. When we understand our common humanity, the things we have in common become stronger and the things that are different aren’t so scary, they just make us unique. Then, we are more likely to accept those that are different than us and work together in the human struggle to overcome our difficulties, big and small. Another example of this type of disconnect can be found in the English Civil War as different religious groups, the Protestants and Catholics, as well as government parties, the parliamentalists and the royalists were divided and fought for many years. The groups did not understand each other and casted the other off as wrong and bad. However, I think the strongest example of Collective Identity in relation to the two content areas, discriminatory policies, attitudes and wrongs as well as nationalism is the niqab issue which we talked about in class. The niqab has always been allowed at citizen ship ceremonies as long as the people wearing them are identified beforehand. However, all of the sudden, there was a big motion to ban them. Not too many people were harmed by this motion, in fact, one of the young ladies who was stopped from getting her citizen ship received it just a few months ago. However, Harper implied that the collective identity of Canada was dsc_05511very open and that the niqab is “un-Canadian” because it comes from an “anti-women culture” and because it hides the faces of the women. However, if he thought the Canadian Collective Identity was open, then would it not be open to religious head/face wear? Harper created a division between him and the Muslim community that day by saying that wearing the niqab is “un-Canadian”. Harper claimed that he was trying to free them from their oppression by taking away their right to wear the niqab. But by taking away this right, is he not oppressing them? Harper attempted to create a discriminatory policy that violates religious rights in Canada, he had a discriminatory attitude towards the niqab and did not try to understand the women involved in the problem, he offended many people in the Muslim community by creating that divide and overall wronged those women. As you can see, there are many examples in my learning of this idea in relation to the content areas that I picked.

Trial of the King Image from: http://assets3.parliament.uk/iv/main-large//ImageVault/Images/id_303/scope_0/ImageVaultHandler.asp

I think that I have done well with the inquiry, and ethical judgments competencies but have quite a bit of room to improve on the significance and evidence competencies. I think that my ability to asses the significance of people, places, events and developments especially are not very strong. My other area of weakness is assessing the justification for competing historical accounts after investigating points of contestations, reliability of sources and adequacy of evidence. I think that I got to explore these competencies more in the trial of the king, and though I attempted to get better at focusing on evidence and significance, I believe that there is still a lot of room for improvement. I think that if I made a bigger effort to read more about the topics, consciously focus on the facts at hand, and try taking notes in a way that shows the significance of ideas I could make progress. I hope that at the end of this term I will have gotten better at these competencies. I think that an area of distinction is making reasoned ethical judgments about controversial actions in the past and present, and whether we have a responsibility to respond. I think that as we studied Columbus and the English Civil War, I got to put these skills to the test as we considered ethical questions like, “is the end worth the means” and “what is progress”. The other area I believe I did well with was in using the social studies inquiry process to: ask questions, gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions. I believe that my curiosity helped on the more open-ended assignments that we had, for example when we tried to sum up the history of the world from the 1400-1600 or when we researched our person for eminent. My mindset when it comes to social studies is deeply rooted in emotions and ideologies. This perspective has helped me a lot when it comes to making ethical judgments and in inquiry around topics, but has not been advantageous when looking at evidence and significance.

The common thing tying Collective Identity to my content areas and to my competencies is of course, me. Me and my passion for social justice. Me and my mindset around socials that is embedded in emotions and ideologies. Me and my life as a TALONS learner as we create a community and as I learn more about the world through socials. Collective Identity has good parts and bad. I am still learning about them all and I am excited for the rest of this term to continue to cultivate my skills, improve others and learn more.

I couldn’t add all of the image sources in the description because of formatting issues so here are some of the other sources:

http://kfor.com/2014/06/10/native-american-commercial-targets-washington-redskins/

http://www.masterjules.net/columbus.jpg

http://ahwazi-action.org/

Take a Break and Watch This, Please

I know that lots of people are stressed and worried right now about projects, as am I. I decided to post this short video that really is an inspiration and a motivation for me. It is from a documentary series called Humans which interviews people from all around the world about some topics that we have pondered for years. This is my personal favourite interview from the series and I hope that you enjoy it too.