People

SUN 03/20/08 dosanjh 3

Raminder Dosanjh

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: 100 YEARS

Raminder Dosanjh’s feminist education began early, in her own home, through the power of observation.
“I was conscious of the classes very early, the status of the poor, and the status of women. You would look at how girls and servants were treated, how some women went from house to house cleaning dishes to earn their living, and you felt in your heart how difficult a life it was.”

Her mother, whose formal education had been ended in Grade 2, was socially conscious and a powerful role model. She carefully taught Dosanjh that every person must be treated equally, with respect, no matter what their gender or class. Her father, who was “very broad-minded,” ensured she had a good education. It became the foundation from which her life evolved.

“I came to this country with $7, which was all you could bring. What helped me was my experience and education.”

Volunteering in schools, and in the Indo-Canadian community in Vancouver, Dosanjh quickly became aware that other women weren’t so lucky: Without education many did not have a voice or a means to take action to improve their own lives.

She began to work for change, becoming an advocate for women, working to educate and end violence and discrimination in the Indo-Canadian and broader community. “I want to see a society which is in a true sense one that provides equal opportunity to women and to men, that is gender neutral and colour blind.”

Dosanjh, who is married to MP and former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh, says she is absolutely a feminist, but to her feminism is not just a female thing: “To me, being a feminist is about everyone being equal and everyone being treated as equal citizens.”

This article first appeared HERE.