Prediction #1: Women will go beyond hashtag activism to mobilize IRL like never before. We all know that 2016 was a dumpster fire, and now it’s time to take action. Starting with the Women’s March in Washington on Saturday, January 21—and its sister events across North America, including marches in Edmonton, Toronto, St. John’s and Ottawa—women will show up, show support and demand change for all marginalized women, from sexual assault survivors to Canada’s MMIW.
Prediction #2: Women will say “Troll, bye” and start leaving Twitter in droves—prompting the platform to finally do something to squelch its army of online haters and abusive doxxers. We just witnessed 2017’s first Twitter casualty: hard-as-nails #BOSS Lindy West, who announced on January 2 that she was taking a breather from tweeting due to relentless harassment and promptly deactivated her account before we could screen-grab her final dispatch. (She did write a farewell note for the Guardian, describing the platform as quite possibly unusable “for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators”—and urging other women to leave it as well. Author Ayelet Waldman, for one, is considering doing the same.) Enough with the platitudes, Twitter dudes; we’re are sick of what’s turned out to be just talk (two years ago former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo admitted “we suck at dealing with abuse… and we’ve sucked at it for years”). This year we will insist the platform take action before too many more bright lights like @thelindywest peace out.
Prediction #3: Women will close the gender gap in Canada’s tech and startup scene. Last November, the investment arm of the Business Development Bank of Canada promised $50 million to support female entrepreneurs in female-led tech firms, of which they’ve already begun deploying funds to companies with high potential for success. The BDC says $40 million will be slated to a new program that will bump up venture, growth capital and networking opportunities for women-led tech companies, and $10 million will be earmarked to pre-seed and seed new startups.
Prediction #4: Canada’s next-gen female columnists will matter more than ever. Does anyone under 45 even read Margaret Wente? We know we don’t, but we can’t get enough of Buzzfeed’s Scaachi Koul (who we are also #blessed to have writing for FLARE); Metro’s Vicky Mochama and self-professed “feminist buzzkill” Julie Lalonde. These are the voices you need to bookmark as we enter into this critical year. (Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments.)
Prediction #5: Indigenous women will finally be heard. Starting this spring, we will hear testimony from families as part of the long-anticipated National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, headed by British Columbia’s first female First Nations judge, Marion Buller. (And circling back to prediction #1, women’s rights advocates in Vancouver have already met several times to identify an agenda to “make their concerns clear to officials” involved in the inquiry.) We sincerely hope that 2017 will be the year we honour and support our stolen sisters by actively listening to their stories and then addressing the systemic factors behind the alarmingly high rate of violence against indigenous women.
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