Awarding campus gender equality

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By Tara Deschamps

Wherever he goes, Ryerson White Ribbon Campaign co-chairperson Jeff Perera says he’s always hunting for elephants.

“When you walk into a room there’s always an elephant in the room. Sometimes it’s the violence we face or homophobia — the things we don’t talk about,” said the third-year social work student.

“My work is coming into these spaces and hunting for elephants.”

Perera, alongside co-chair Miranda Hassell and the rest of the White Ribbon team, hosted the Ryerson White Ribbon Year-End Celebration Tuesday to honour campus groups that are dedicated to removing these “elephants” and fostering gender equality.

The event featured an art exhibition that addressed the stereotypical roles associated with both men and women with pieces by second-year early childhood education student Reilly Dow who called the event “extra inspiring.”

“What inspires me to create these pieces is making people’s ideas visible and concrete so they become more permanent,” she said.

Awards were given to TEDxRyersonU, United Black Students at Ryerson, Women in Information Technology Management, Ryerson’s Student Housing Services, Urban Hip Hop Union and Students In Free Enterprise Ryerson — all of which Hassell said “helped to nurture a gender equitable atmosphere on campus” throughout the year.

These groups have participated in initiatives like the White Ribbon Campaign’s What Makes A Man conference last February and have independently ran events like food drives and awareness campaigns to get positive messages out on campus.

“We believe that knowledge is power and power encourages men and women to work together,” Hassell said. “We want people to start thinking about how they use their language and how it is affecting gender equality.”

Photo: Mohammed Omar


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