International Women’s Day event in Vancouver to focus on aging challenges

An upcoming event in Vancouver aims to highlight solutions to problems older women face with issues like violence, poverty, and housing.

Hosted by the Vancouver-based, nonprofit Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL), the event is being held to mark International Women’s Day on Friday (March 8).

“The purpose of this event is to raise awareness about the barriers to the wellbeing of older women in our communities,” CCEL national director Krista James told the Straight by phone. “I think there’s been a lot of attention in the media lately about aging, but very little recognition that things can be different and more difficult for older women.”

The event, titled Women and Aging: Stories About the Widening Gender Gap, will feature a series of monologues based on the experiences of older women living in Metro Vancouver. They will tackle the topics of domestic violence, living on a low income, and being an immigrant caregiver. The monologues, delivered by actors, will be coupled with commentary from a group of policy and academic experts, as well as open discussion.

“In each case we’re trying to move from a specific story to what are the bigger issues we can think about as a community that point to law reform, policy changes, [or] just general changes we could make in our communities so that women wouldn’t experience these problems,” James said.

The Friday event is related to the CCEL’s ongoing Older Women’s Dialogue Project, which is examining the experiences of women from across Metro Vancouver.

The project, launched in July 2012 and funded by the United Way of the Lower Mainland, has involved consultations with around 350 women. Those group discussions are being used as inspiration for the monologues being presented on Friday, James said, and will inform a report expected to be released this fall.

The free, public event takes place at UBC Robson Square Theatre on Friday at 9:30 a.m.