Guest blogger: Jess Tomlin
I am dead. Because it’s 2116.
I lived a long life, full of love and activism. I cuddled babies, grandbabies, and great grandbabies. Alongside many brave women and men, I demanded universal human rights, tackling sexism, femicide, child marriage, trafficking, and maddening inequality. We saw women at the grassroots level building new platforms to crowdsource social change.
We cheered as governments prosecuted (albeit slowly) those responsible for raping women as a weapon of war. And we laughed in disbelief at that time in 2016 when women still weren’t allowed to attend sporting events.
But we couldn’t change everything in our lifetime. Despite all our efforts, the rates of female genital mutilation just kept rising. Women risked jail time for having a miscarriage. Women and girls were tortured for wearing pants and for going to school.
People often asked why I fought so hard for change I would never see. But here’s the thing: I did see it. Just not with my own eyes. Just not in my own lifetime.
And I was right to have hope. In 2116, the world is an even better place for women and girls. The number of children forced into marriage has been cut in half (now you’re down to only 7.5 million girls per year.) Canadians giving to international causes has doubled (you’re up to 16 per cent.) And 115 years since the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325, women are routinely invited to the table in peace negotiations.
Your children won’t believe that LGBT folks used to be afraid to leave their homes or to marry the people they love. Your new Canadian Prime Minister — an Indigenous woman — recently increased the number of women on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development by 400 per cent. (When asked why she chose for the committee to be an equal split between men and women, she said, “because it should have happened hundreds of years ago.”)
In 2116, women the world over are driving themselves to work and standing up for their rights without fear of arrest. And, at long last, your generation will close the wage gap — just in time for my great grandson’s daughter to enjoy nearly an entire career where her work is valued just as much as his.
Today, it’s International Women’s Day 2116. The women’s movement has accomplished extraordinary things, and I am proud to have been just a small part it. I’m sure that, some days, the movement must feel to you like its two steps forward, one step backward, and two more steps forward. Because that’s what movements do. Because, just like in my time, you’re still figuring out all the right ways to be inclusive, and exacting, and ruthless in the marathon for women’s rights. And you’re getting there.
I am not alive in 2116 to see what a beautiful place this world is becoming for women and girls. But I am so glad you are. You make it all worth it.
Originally posted in the Huffington Post Impact Canada