Saturday, August 14, 2010

Canada: Asian Women Fight For Rights

From the Star:
“We immigrant women made great sacrifices to come here,” Jahangir says. “But we did not come here to be idle and beg. We did not come here to be baby machines. We came here to work, and we want to be part of building a nation.”

The group held its first public meeting in the fall of 2007. In early 2008, it became a registered non-profit organization. In its first year, with $750 in seed money from COSTI immigrant services and a small grant from the Freedonia Foundation, the group ran 40 workshops on settlement services, each attended by about 50 women.

By 2009, the women had raised about $60,000 from the United Way and several other foundations and began renting office space on the main floor of Jahangir’s apartment building. In the winter and spring of that year, they knocked on 1,200 doors and interviewed 400 women about their experience in Canada. They found that 80 per cent of the women had university degrees, and most were angry about the lack of child care.

They rented buses to protest at provincial poverty-reduction forums and federal standing committee hearings. And they wrote letters, signed petitions and met with area politicians to demand action.

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