10/28/2013 05:11 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Women's Forum 2013: Fighting the Inequality Agenda

Tuesday, October 29, feminists from coast to coast to coast will join together in Ottawa and online to make history.

Women's Forum 2013: Fighting the Inequality Agenda will see 22 feminist activists under 40, from across the country, share a message for social change. They will speak to the challenges that young women are facing, and most importantly how they are fighting back.

The day's discussions will touch on some of the most salient issues facing young women in Canada. From Indigenous resistance, to women's economic marginalization, to the fight for sexual and reproductive rights to the politics of advocacy and women in the media -- we will get a sense not only of what young women are up against, but of the incredible victories that are being gained through creative forms of organizing.

Women have made gains over time. But the last number of years have been grim for Canadian women. Successive governments have eroded women's capacity to organize, advocate, engage in research and provide services. In the last few years the very concept of true equality has been vilified. In many ways, young women are losing ground.

In the face of opposition, it is clear that young women are pushing back! Idle No More is an example of how women, including young women, are at the forefront of social change. Grassroots action like the Radical Handmaids and Take Back the Night have grown in numbers to protest institutional discrimination. Young women are playing leading roles in the labour movement, sexual and reproductive rights networks, disability rights organizations, the trans rights movement and they are using the arts, scholarship, the blogosphere and their voices to fight back.

The Forum will feature inspiring speakers, including sexual and reproductive justice activist Erin Konsmo as our keynote speaker. We will hear from a panel on "Canada's Inequality Action Plan," including Indigenous scholar and Idle No More organizer Janice Makokis. A second panel "The Politics of Advocacy" will involve women speaking out on fundamental rights. There will be presentations from two highly acclaimed media activists and bloggers: Catherine Voyer-Léger and Jarrah Hodge, speaking on "Fighting the Inequality Agenda in the Media." And a Pecha Kucha style presentation will give participants a chance to learn about what feminism on the ground looks like.

The Women's Forum gives us all a chance to listen, learn and build solidarity. Join us in Ottawa or online to bring your voice to the discussion and how we can fight the Inequality Agenda.

To register for the forum, visit my website:

To find out how to connect with Women's Forum des Femmes online, click here.

In solidarity,

Niki Ashton

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