The Girlfesto Virtual Exhibition: Female-led Policy Making to Combat Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in South African and Canadian contexts

Abstract

CONTENT WARNING:

This project discusses sexual and gender-based violence, rape, racism, and colonization. 

Please view the virtual exhibition of the Girlfesto via this link: bit.ly/Girlfesto

As a McGill Global Health Scholar, this past summer I worked within the Participatory Cultures Lab (PCL), led by Professor Claudia Mitchell and her team. Under the PCL’s ‘Networks for Change’ initiative, I worked to create the virtual exhibition of The Girlfesto -- a grassroots protest text demanding liberation from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
https://pcleducation.wixsite.com/girlfesto/circles-within-circles.

The Girlfesto was created by the 75 girls who attended the 2018 “Circles within Circles: Transnational Perspectives on Youth-led Approaches to Addressing Gender-Based Violence” conference, and has been translated into 9 different languages.

This initiative presents the work done by these women on a virtual and shareable platform. In a COVID-19 world, occupying digital space in order to codify demands to change to oppressive systems is a near necessity. Through this project, I learned about the value of participatory-arts based methods as a means of safely discussing triggering issues, and bringing together collective ideas on what a world free from SGBV looks like.

To supplement my knowledge, I analysed recent reports, conducted interviews with relevant activists, public health experts, and policy-makers in South Africa and Canada, and read up on the role of media advocacy in lobbying public health policy.



I am currently located on the unceded traditional territories of Indigenous peoples, namely the Anishinabeg Nations and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, who are also known as the Guardians of the Eastern Door.

McGill University is built on territory that has long acted as a site of meeting and exchange amongst the Kanien’kehá:ka peoples, who are the rightful stewards of this land. Our campus is situated in Tiohtià:ke (Montréal), which exists in the larger Turtle Island (North America).

I would like to clarify that I only made the virtual exhibition of the Girlfesto, and that the credits for the Girlfesto itself go out to the 75 young women and girls who came together in the 2018 Circles within Circles conference to create this text. Within my endeavours to support global health and development initiatives, I aim to operate in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. 

I encourage you to find out more about the Native Land that you live on: https://native-land.ca/

If you have the means to do so, I also encourage you to donate to the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal: http://www.nwsm.info

What is International #DayoftheGirl? InfographicWhat is the #Girlfesto?

Languages of the GirlfestoVisit the Girlfesto at bit.ly/Girlfesto

 

    McGill GHP Logo (McGill crest separated by a vertical bar from a purple globe and a partial arc with "McGill Global health Programs" in English & French)

McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which peoples of the world now gather. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

Learn more about Indigenous Initiatives at McGill.

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