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Pink hat march for women's rights

By Cheryl Clock, The Standard

The knitted pink hats with the cat ears have a powerful message.

A message about speaking out against misogyny. And about the inequities that still exist in the lives of women around the world.

The hats will be worn, locally at a march in St. Catharines to be held simultaneously with the Women's March on Washington, on Saturday, Jan. 21 -- not so coincidentally the day after president-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office.

The march is about uniting to assert that women's rights are human rights. Giving voice to a message that a diverse community means strength, says Nicki Inch, fund development co-ordinator at the YWCA Niagara Region.

The YWCA is co-ordinating the local march which begins at St. Catharines City Hall at 10 a.m.

The group of women will march to St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle's office, where marchers will listen to a series of speakers, as well as have a chance to speak up themselves, says Inch.

In the days leading up to the march, the hope is to have local women knit or crochet some 200 pink hats.

Local organizers are hoping to draw at least 100 women to the march. They will each wear a pink hat, a symbolic gesture of unity, she says.

The other 100 hats will be sent to Washington, to be worn by women in the march there, as a show of solidarity, says Inch. It's a way for Niagara women to contribute to an objective of the Washington march, to have every woman there wearing a pink hat, says Inch.

Woman are also able to send a note of support with their hats.

The hats will make for a powerful, visual statement. A sea of pink. Together, united, says Inch.

Patterns for the hats are found on the project's website – The Pussyhat Project. And yes, its name is a play on words, reclaiming a derogatory term for female genitalia as a means of empowerment.

Laura Ip, resource development co-ordinator at the YWCA, said the march is a statement of support for all women.

“It's an opportunity for women to take leadership and responsibility and have a voice,” she says.

“We won't be complacent. When we feel our rights are threatened we will stand up for them.”

“It's collaborative and about celebrating sisterhood,” says Inch.

“I'm proud to be living in a country where this sort of behaviour is looked down up,” she says.

“I'm very grateful we live in a community that feels this is wrong.”

Cclock@postmedia.com

Pink hats and women's rights march

For more information on the march, contact Laura Ip, resource development co-ordinator at the YWCA at lip@ywcaniagararegion.ca. Hats need to be collected at the YWCA St. Catharines office, by Wednesday, Jan. 18. More information can be found of Facebook, Women's March on Washington – Niagara.

Hat pattern found at: www.pussyhatproject.com/