In recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, Yafang Shi, in collaboration with Hu Yang, created an exhibit on women’s marches at York University.
Shi is a journalist, media commentator, and photographer. The exhibit features photographs from women’s marches in Toronto, Washington and “Speaking to Power” protest in London, U.K.
In 2012, Shi founded lovingsister.com. She explains her motivation, “I combined my passion for gender equality with my insights and skills gained through my experience working as a journalist for media organizations including Radio Canada International of CBC, Fairchild TV, and Ming Pao Daily News. With an intersectional feminism perspective, lovingsisters.com focuses on issues relating to gender and race and helps immigrants to settle and engage as citizens. It is intended to help build a community, a city and a world that is equal, inclusive, green and peaceful.”
Shi has participated on various panels that address censorship in China and lack of representation of women, especially women of colour, in the media in Canada. She has also promoted the participation of Chinese Canadian women in Canadian politics.
When asked about how the exhibit relates to International Women’s Day she explains, “The theme of this year’s exhibition ‘Women’s Rights are Human Rights” is intended to reveal the fact that women in some parts of the world still do not enjoy basic human rights like the right to assemble, march, speak out and advocate. The current coronavirus pandemic is a metaphor for the harm an authoritarian state could do to its citizens and also people globally when it deprives its citizens of their basic human rights like freedom of speech and freedom of the press and suppresses the voices of whistleblowers. How Chinese citizens have been pushing back against the censorship on social media after the coronavirus breakout is a sober reminder that the political reforms for a democratic government that respects people’s lives and rights are urgently needed in China. Countries such as Canada that have adopted feminist foreign policies should walk the talk and uphold the principle of human rights clearly and steadfastly when they deal with countries like China. It could benefit citizens in China and people globally as well.”