Photos by Maria Araujo
On Saturday, Jan 20, over 300 people gathered at City Hall for Fredericton’s second annual Women’s March.
Kate Rogers, the city’s deputy mayor, gave a speech prior to the march’s commencement where she spoke about the differences that exist between men and women in public office.
Rogers reported feelings of aggression and loneliness, which stemmed from gender disparity on city council. Rogers also encouraged women to change the current state of affairs by running for public office.
“Only women in significant numbers are going to make the change and dismantle our current system […] Once we change the system—once it’s no longer designed for just one type of people—all people, regardless of background, would feel welcome in this process,” said Rogers.
The march started at City Hall, went down Queen Street, turned right onto St. John’s Street and passed by the New Brunswick Legislature before heading back to City Hall via King Street.
Due to issues obtaining a permit, the march was limited to the sidewalk—but Devin Rigaux, one of the event’s organizers, said they’ll be applying early next year so that participants can take to the streets to proclaim their message.
“We had liability insurance and a permit to ensure that we can keep this march going. Next year we’ll be applying early to get permission to march on the street.”
According to Rigaux, the organizers felt the march was successful—they had multiple people sign up to volunteer for next year’s event, the feminist fair provided ample opportunity for collaboration and they witnessed a lot of diversity among the attendees.
“We were happy to see so many people show support for the march—many of whom were young women or people who aren’t usually engaged in this type of event, so it was a success,” said Rigaux.
Shoba Gunaseelan, a student in UNB’s faculty of education, was one of the attendees. Gunaseelan said the march was representative of the struggle that many minorities still face—hence her reason for participating.
“As great as Canada is, equality has not been reached across all different classes, races and backgrounds,” said Gunaseelan.
“Feminism is still very much needed, and I will be fighting this battle until equity has been reached.”
The UNB Student Union women’s representative, Lydia MacLeod, shares Gunaseelan’s mindset that minority inequality still exists today—and feels that showing support through events such as the Women’s March is one way to contribute to the equal rights movement.
“Women are disproportionately underrepresented in all levels of government. Women continue to be fearful walking at night. The vast majority of low-income single parents are women,” said MacLeod. “Whether it is sexual harassment/assault, equal pay for equal work or reproductive rights, showing your support at a protest such as the Women’s March is a huge part of the movement.”
“You do not need to be a politician or activist to make a difference. Support in numbers is powerful.”