The Future is Feminist: Femmy Awards to Highlight Local Women’s Rights Defenders on International Women’s Day
March 8, 2017: Six feminist leaders are being recognized with Femmy Awards for their tireless work advancing women’s human rights and gender equality in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Encouraged by the recent groundswell of participation in feminist mobilizations in Canada and abroad, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day event and Femmy Awards ceremony is “The Future is Feminist.”
Since 2009, local feminists have celebrated International Women’s Day with a fun-filled event, including presentation of the Femmy Awards, organized by a coalition of organizations and individual volunteers engaged in women’s rights including Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, Amnesty International Canada, Canadian Federation of University Women, CUSO International, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, Inter Pares, OCTEVAW, Oxfam Canada, Planned Parenthood Ottawa, and Women’s Shelters Canada.
“Feminists of all stripes are mobilizing in great numbers, standing up to fear, hatred, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and racism and making tremendous contributions toward the pursuit of justice and equality for all,” says event co-organizer Stacey Mirowski. “With these awards, we recognize and celebrate the tremendous commitment and contributions made by these six inspirational women who are on the front lines of the fight to ensure that our future is indeed a feminist one.”
The following award winners will be recognized at the ninth annual International Women’s Day event and Femmy Awards ceremony at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa (doors open at 6:00 pm):
- Elaine Kicknosway, a life-long activist and survivor of the sixties scoop, is awarded the Frontline Service award for her work with Minwaashin Lodge, an Ottawa-based organization serving First Nations, Métis and Inuit women and their children.
- Jess Tomlin, Executive Director of the MATCH International Women’s Fund, receives the Advocacy award for her tireless work since assuming her role in 2012 toward growing the organization into a cutting-edge fund offering vitally-needed support to women’s movements around the world.
- Jessica Ruano, Ottawa-based theatre director, receives the Femmy award for Media. Ruano is creator and director of The Ghomeshi Effect, a dance-theatre performance based on more than 40 anonymous interviews with survivors of sexual violence that examines sexual violence and the challenges confronted in the justice system.
- Charlie Lowthian-Rickert, who at eleven years of age has already spoken in Parliament, served as Grand Marshall in the Capital Pride Parade and skillfully handled media scrums and TV interviews, wins a Youth Femmy award for her advocacy on transgender rights.
- Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, an anti-racism and gender equality advocate and graduate student at Carleton University, wins a Youth Femmy award for her grassroots community activism. Owusu-Akyeeah offers sex education at Venus Envy Ottawa, organized Black HERstory Month on campus, and organized a self-care week for graduate students focusing on black women and healing from sexual violence, amongst her many other activist endeavors.
- Natasha Bakht, whose scholarly work as associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa examines discrimination confronted by Muslim women in Canada, wins the Thought Leader award for her cutting-edge research.
The annual Femmy Awards honour local feminist change-makers at the International Women’s Day event, which includes an activist fair, feminist comedy, free food, and a dance party.