Why we should celebrate, amplify and advocate for women every day

This International Women’s Day (and every day), the Spur team celebrates the resilience, agency, and accomplishments of women and equity-deserving genders who have paved the way for a more equitable future. We also recognize that despite these wins, systemic injustice continues to pose serious barriers to women’s liberation, particularly, for women of colour. As such, we are committed to advancing JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) for women in all that we do. 

“I’ve always leaned towards saying ‘JEDI’—including the word justice, instead of just ‘EDI’–because I was taught that without justice for the past, we can never fully achieve equity for the present and future.” – Natalie Hill, Spur Principal & Co-Founder

JEDI not only entails an awareness of positionality and power dynamics, but an ongoing commitment to dismantling systems of oppression. Further, Spur Associate Consultant Alexa Traboulay says “JEDI also involves intentional work to create spaces where folks are safe, feel empowered, and have autonomy, regardless of identity markers including but not limited to: race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, occupation, and age.”

Justice: for past wrongs 

Equity: for communities who’ve been denied it

Diversity: appreciation of all communities 

Inclusion: of folks with a wide range of lived and living experiences

– Natalie Hill

One particular way we embody JEDI values is by applying a gender equity lens to community engagement. Spur Principal & Co-founder Hilary Farson sums up 3 key steps in this process: 

  1. Be bold enough to ask people about their gender and track results. Have you heard from equity-deserving genders during your engagement? If you didn’t, how can you change your approach to ensure more equity in your engagement outreach and approach?
  2. Provide options for people to select a gender that best applies to them. Offering two gender options for people to select from is a harmful and outdated process. Presenting comprehensive options is the bare minimum.
  3. Ensure your materials reflect diverse genders. Your imagery and language choices matter; use inclusive photography, graphics and words.

who inspires us

As we continue to navigate best practices within the JEDI space, we are continuously inspired by the groundbreaking work of activists within our networks and beyond. 

Spur Director Dhaneva Skogstad is inspired by Ginger Gosnell-Myers (Fellow; Decolonization and Indigenous Urban Planning at SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue) and Sonja Baikogli Foley (co-founder of Maturn, an organization committed to supporting women throughout the maternity leave process), both of whom have done key work to support gender equity in Vancouver. 

Similarly, Alexa Traboulay is inspired by Dr. Jenny Peterson (UBC Associate Professor of Teaching) and the team at Women Transforming Cities, who taught her the importance of applying a social justice lens to human rights advocacy. 

These inspiring change-makers teach us the importance of sustained efforts to advance gender equity.

Black businesswoman and her female colleagues having fun on office party.

International Women’s Day everyday

The Spur team was asked how to keep the International Women’s Day momentum going and amplify the voices of women and equity-deserving genders  on a daily basis. These were our responses:

“Let’s celebrate the unconventional. So many women are celebrated when they get engaged, married or pregnant. I think it’s integral to celebrate promotions, big project wins and even choices to leave unproductive work environments.” – Hilary Farson 

“I love the concept of being a hype-woman. If a woman is crushing it, sing her praises. If your non-binary colleague has a great idea, back them up. If there’s anyone around you whose voice is strong, but deserves to be amplified, be the megaphone.” – Natalie Hill

“Unapologetically share our stories with one another. Our successes as well as our failures and learnings, that’s how we collectively build resilience! And further to that, we need to create space for other women to feel safe to do so by building one another up, working together and championing one another.”  – Kayla Neville, Spur Project Management Consultant 

“There are so many ways to celebrate women’s successes. Sharing your platforms to amplify their voices, championing them among your networks and publicly showing up for them are just a few.” – Dhaneva Skogstad

“Center and amplify the voices and lived experiences of equity-deserving genders at every opportunity, ensuring that your support is inclusive of BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ communities. Also, acknowledge that the fight against gendered oppression can be exhausting and that community care and rest are both forms of radical resistance and celebration.” – Alexa Traboulay

Women holding up protest signs

resources for further learning

Here are some actions you can take today to support gender equity:

  1. Become a member of Women Transforming Cities. 
  2. Donate to a women-serving organization such as the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre 
  3. Explore Vancouver Public Library’s list of reading recommendations for International Women’s Day 
  4. Watch Finding Dawn, a documentary on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada produced by Acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh. 

Check out the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

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Written By:

Alexa Traboulay

Alexa is a passionate social justice advocate. She believes in the value of lived experience and sees meaningful engagement as a tool for amplifying diverse voices. As an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) strategist, she is committed to advancing action-based outcomes with and for equity-deserving communities.

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