Hart House Global Commons / Session 1

Virtual Cafe

Issues and Opportunities facing Local Community Organizations in the Field of Women’s Rights

The 2018-2019 Hart House Global Commons will connect students in Canada with others in Colombia, the United States, South Africa, and France, along with and a wide range of community partners and civil society actors to explore these and other questions and actions geared towards building better societies that reflect, uphold, and institutionalize the full equality of women.

This event will take place entirely online, by joining participants from all countries in conversation with NGOs from Toronto, Bogotá, and Cape Town. Guests will share challenges in their work, as well as opportunities for change, and greater involvement. To access the event, you will need a laptop or smartphone with a working microphone and camera. 

When: Thurs., Oct. 18, 2018, 10 am-12 pm EST
Where: Online
Cost: Free / Registration required

View and Download the Summary Report from the October 18 Virtual Cafe


Gender Dynamix (Cape Town, South Africa)
Established in 2005, Gender DynamiX (GDX) is the first registered Africa-based public benefit organisation to focus solely on the transgender and broader gender diverse community. GDX has become an institutionalised non-profit organisation (NPO) that is fundamental to the development of the trans and gender diverse movement(s) in South Africa and across Africa. Over the past 13 years GDX has built up a strong track record in understanding the diverse nature of the work and the diverse needs of trans and gender diverse persons both in South Africa and its surrounding regions. Based on its organisational values, GDX aims to work in ways that uphold ideals of self-identification, self-determination, respect for diversity, inclusivity, meaningful participation, transparency and accountability; whilst seeking to position trans and gender diverse persons through the realisation of their (our) autonomy and potential for nation-building.

Learn more about GDX

LEAF – Women’s Legal and Education Action Fund (Toronto, Canada)
LEAF’s founding mothers created LEAF to defend the equality rights enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Over its thirty years, the battles LEAF has fought in the courts have achieved many victories and advanced substantive equality for women and girls in Canada. In 1985 it was against the law in Yukon for a married woman to change her name to her birth name. LEAF’s first case was a challenge to the Yukon Change of Name Act on behalf of Suzanne Bertrand. Suzanne Bertrand’s case was just one of many times LEAF stepped in to protect the rights of women and girls in Canada. LEAF works to ensure Canadian courts do, in fact, provide the equality rights guaranteed to women and girls by Section 15 of the Canadian Charter. Our strength comes from a small staff team in Toronto, member branches in several provinces, scores of active volunteers who serve on committees, a national board and West Coast LEAF, in British Columbia.

Learn more about LEAF

NO es NoRMAL – (Bogotá, Colombia)
NO es NoRMAL is student collective based out of the Gender and Law Committee of the Faculty of Law at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, which strives to create space for discussion and dialogue about issues of gender inequality, sexism, and sexual violence on its campus. The initiative focuses on the following elements: first, to provide a safe space in which survivors of any form of sexual violence or harassment can share their stories, express themselves, and build community. Secondly, it aims to denormalize these instances and situations that are currently being tolerated by students and the univeristy community; the reality is that they deserve its complete rejection. For this reason, the campaign is called “No es NoRmal”: we find that the University presents situations of harassment, discrimination, hostile environments, and others forms of violence, and we tolerate them completely because they have been “normalized”.

Learn more about NO es NoRMAL 

Pares de Acompañamiento Contra el Acoso (PACA) | Peers Against Harassment – (Bogotá, Colombia) 
PACA, Peers Against Harassment, is a support netowrk established for undergraduate and graduate students in all disciplines at the Universidad de Los Andes. Our goal is to provide advice and support to students who believe they are facing or have faced a situation of harassment. The routes of action we offer range from institutional outputs, such as initiating a disciplinary process, to non-institutional measures, such as the formation of support networks.

Learn more about PACA

Learn more about the full Hart House Global Commons 2018/19 program.

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