UBC Sociology Students Cecilia Federizon, Iman Ghosh & Elida Izani in Semi-Finals for the UBC-Western World’s Challenge Challenge 2017

Despite remarkable achievements for gender equality over the past century, it is still a challenge faced throughout the world. The team of three students (Cecilia, Iman and Elida) wanted to recognise that this challenge is not simply relegated to developing countries, but profoundly exists in Western contexts as well, and it is important to understand how Western nations often participate and reinforce gender inequality issues through colonial ideologies. From their academic and personal backgrounds as young cis-women of colour living and studying the social sciences in Canada, they have a vested interest in this goal.
The team took a sociological approach as they engaged with various intersections of race, sexuality, and social justice because all of these are involved when talking about women. Their goal was to expand the UN definition of ‘women’ to include all marginalized genders, including trans and gender non-conforming people. Empowering and creating equal opportunities for all genders is crucial for social progress, and integral to solving other Global Goals, such as the reduction of poverty. Before we can even begin to comprehend gender equality, we need to look internally for answers first. Thus, their solutions are collaborative social policies implemented on multiple levels: the local, national, and global.