Time for change: Regina women’s march sends a clear message

WATCH ABOVE: Hundreds took to the streets for the first annual YWCA Regina Women's March on the anniversary of the first March on Washington. The message was clear: change needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.

The Doomsday clock for women’s rights is a minute closer to midnight.

Thousands of people took parts in women’s marches across the country; in Regina it was no different.

Hundreds gathered outside the YWCA headquarters on McIntyre Street this morning to take the streets.

“When other women see all of us coming together, and the solidarity, I think they won’t be afraid and think that they’re alone,” said Darcy Debert, one of the women taking part in the march.

READ MORE: Photo Gallery: Across Canada, women march in solidarity

If the #MeToo movement has revealed anything, it’s that women’s issues aren’t a small problem. They don’t discriminate based on age, or race.

It also showcased the power of a united front — as women around the world stand up to support one another.

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“Movements like this show that there’s lots of room for growth,” noted marcher Sasha Shupe. ”We need people who are advocating for it.”

Enter the YWCA of Regina. It’s the first year they’re hosting the march, but it’s certainly not the last.

“I think its past time, I think that we needed to be doing this last year in Regina,” Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, the CEO of YWCA Regina said. “This conversation needs to continue after today as well.”

That conversation is a number of things, and narrowing it down to a single issue, or set of issues, would be a disservice to the activists who attended.

It was evident from the diversity of the group, to the different signs they carried, that there were a myriad of issues being represented.

“I’m marching for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, and for equality. Because it’s time. It’s time for change,” Donna Smith stated bluntly.

For others, it was simply about bringing attention to the suffering of others.

READ MORE: Across the U.S., a march for female power

“I think it’s good for everyone, even if they’re not attending these events to see that it’s happening, that there are people who are willing to support them,” Jenna Haupstein added.

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But the one thing they all agreed on was a need for change, and the sooner the better.

“Right now, I think things are going a little bit backwards,” Smith noted. “But it has encouraged women to get out and speak about what’s going on, and I think that’s made a big difference.

“People are making this an issue, and I think that’s the good that’s come out of it.”

It’s activism that is desperately needed in Saskatchewan. The province has the highest rate of intimate partner violence in Canada and the rates of sexual assault are double the national average.

In 2017, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ranked Regina fifth-worst Canadian city to be a woman in.

The YWCA Regina Women’s March is slated to become an annual event, and organizers hope the attention it draws will bring the necessary changes.