In October 2000, women and men in 161 countries and territories around the world marched in support of 17 global demands to eliminate poverty and violence against women. A historic display of international solidarity, the Women’s March also reflected the diversity of women’s lives. The global demands were articulated in the form of concrete and specific national demands, carried by hundreds and thousands of supporters as they marched in neighbourhoods, villages and cities to the seats of government. From Vanier College in Ville St. Laurent to the streets of downtown Montreal and on to Ottawa, these photos follow one such World March trajectory.
On October 11, 2000, the women of Ville St. Laurent held a neighbourhood march, depositing a specific demand at seven strategic points along their route. They were welcomed on the steps of Vanier College by students and staff and a trumpet fanfare. A group of students, representing Vanier’s own diverse population, gave voice to the demand for better access to education for women and girls in a multilingual presentation.
The “march of the north” was followed three days later by Quebec’s national rally in Montreal. A group of teachers from Vanier joined thousands of marchers who made their way through streets lined with enthusiastic supporters.
On October 15, a contingent of students and teachers from Vanier College joined the national march on Ottawa. A journalist surprised and delighted the young women from Vanier with an interview as they stepped off the bus at the rallying point in Hull. Then, under a sunny sky, hundreds of Quebecers walked across the bridge and joined 30,000 marchers making their way to the Parliament buildings. Of the experience of being part of the World March of Women 2000, one of Vanier’s students wrote: “You see all these people walking from different ages, different generations, different cultures, but they’re all women…You know it’s not going to end.”
Arlene Steiger, Coordinator, Cégep Vanier College Women’s Studies 2000-2010