There are a growing number of people who spurn the words "feminism" and "feminist" even though they support women's rights and equality. It seems there's widespread misunderstanding about what these terms mean. And the message that sends to youth about the ideals of gender equality concerns us deeply
What is less talked about when discussing Montreal Massacre, and as equally important, is the rights of women to choose a profession which is considered male dominated. The December 6 event had played an important role in women in STEM. As of today, the number of women in STEM fields is significantly lower than men.
On December 6, 1989 a 25-year-old man armed with a rifle and a hunting knife, killed 14 women studying at the technical college before turning the gun on himself. He said that his motives were to fight feminism. It's easy for us to sit back and pretend that women aren't being killed because of their sex nowadays. But the fact of the matter is, it continues to happen.
Twenty-five years ago I was a student at the Université de Montreal. It was December 6, 1989, and it was a cold, frigid Montreal day. At about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I finished my last class before the mid-year exams. Normally I'd go to the library, study and head over to the main cafeteria, the one in the Polytechnique, for a bite to eat. But I didn't go to the library, and I didn't go to the cafeteria. I decided to go straight home. I had a big assignment to submit the next day and was determined to get it done. The next morning, the news of the murders shattered my orderly world.
When the gunman, a rejected engineering student, shot those young women he was enraged that they were pursuing studies in a profession he believed was meant for men. That was a quarter of a century ago. Today, more and more women are flooding into professions, including engineering, once considered male preserves, but there is still so much more progress to be made in changing those attitudes that enable gender-based violence.