National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women Keynote Address

"For me, this illustrates the lesson I take from the Montreal massacre.  I must speak up if I see harassment of the women with whom I am working.  I like to think that nowadays both women and men recognize this as something we must do as a member of our human community, but it is too easy to look in the other direction and not become involved.

In all the work I have done over more than three decades with WISEST and now with the Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering Trades and Technology, my passion has been that everyone, women and men, have in the words of my friend and mentor, Ursula Franklin, the inalienable right to fulfil our potential.  This can only happen when we respect one another and value our diversity.

The Montreal massacre touched me deeply because it was engineering students who were killed.  But for me today the picture is broader – I am deeply troubled by violence against women wherever it occurs, and at the top of my mind just now is violence against First Nations women.  When terrible events happen, it is always our hope that something good will come out of it.  The fact that December 6th has been designated as Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women gives hope of that positive outcome.  But it depends on all of us not to flee the room when violence against women is occurring, but to speak up and continue to do so until we are heard and action is taken to make change.

We can each do our part within our own communities, and particularly we can make each of our communities ones that embraces and value all the diversity of their members.  We are holding this memorial on the campus of the University of Alberta.  On this day let each of us pledge to continue to take action to make this a model community of respect for all its members and with no tolerance for violence in any form against women.

The above speech was presented by Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour, Associate Dean of Science, Diversity, University of Alberta on December 4, 2015. These remarks were presented as the keynote speech during the National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women event that was held in the Students' Union Building."


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