Taking my seat: 2018 is the year of woman

Women and men need work together to overcome issues of abuse and inequality

Photo illustration by Josh Granovsky

Let’s claim it now – 2018 is the year of the woman.

It’s our turn.

Issues of sexual violence, gender inequality and race inequality are all at the top of our minds and the media is actually taking significant steps to report on it, thanks to the perseverance of a lot of tired advocates who have put in the work for so many years.

2018 is the year of the woman, but this shouldn’t mean we’re pushing men out of the picture. In fact, men are integral to the plight of these issues.

We need now, more than ever, for women and men to join together to overcome issues of abuse and inequality.

Last week at the Golden Globes, many women in attendance came together to make a statement, wearing black to address and condemn the pervasive issue of sexual harassment and abuse in their industry and across the United States. Occurring on Jan. 7 as part of the Time’s Up movement, this act of solidarity marked the first big social movement of 2018.

One of the criticisms of this movement and of the evening was that many of the men at the Golden Globes failed to use their voices in interviews and speeches to condemn the actions of their colleagues in Hollywood. Why did this happen? Should the men who didn’t speak up really be a standout response to Time’s Up and the Golden Globes? The answer is yes and no.

I think it’s clear that some of the male celebrities wearing pins in support of Time’s Up either didn’t understand their role pertaining to the issues of sexual harassment, abuse and gender inequality or simply don’t understand the problem. If this is the case, these men need to make a concerted effort to learn more about the issues while women continue to use their voices to empower and educate others.

But I also think no, because the brave men and women who came forward with #metoo and who wore black and spoke beautifully about the importance of Time’s Up should be the highlight and focus of the Golden Globes. Many celebrities used their platform to make a very important statement and people should use that momentum to continue the conversation.

After delivering an empowering speech at the 2018 event, Oprah Winfrey is now being talked about as a new potential candidate for President of the United States and her gender and her race don’t hold back her ability to lead. 

2018 feels different from other years. Perhaps it’s the looming excitement for Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics Conference next week. Or, maybe, it’s how empowered I still feel when thinking about Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. de Mille award, or the smirk on my face when I think about Natalie Portman pointing out the all-male list of nominations for

Director of the Year. I don’t know exactly what it is.

What I do know is that 2018 is our year.

In light of January being a month of resolutions, growth and, in my mind, a clean chalkboard, I’m setting goals for myself. I promise to keep writing, educating and using my voice.

2018 is the year of the woman but I know that doesn’t come without a concerted effort to keep gender equality and sexual violence at the top of our minds and onto political agendas across the world. I know that if we still have to raise our voices in North America to demand solutions and accountability for these problems, many women and men in our global community are even further behind. The work we have to do to ratify the situation is far from over, it’s just beginning. Even so, I hope the headway that was made last week and continues to be made in North America will have a ripple effect across the globe. 

Women’s suffrage happened because women demanded the right to vote. They talked, marched and wrote. If women successfully demanded what was rightfully theirs once before, we can do it again. We can reclaim our bodies and our right to be treated as equal members of society.

2018 is a year of female empowerment and a year of hope. Let’s strive to maintain hope and work together in the fight for gender equality.


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