Kavita Dogra ‘s mission to invoke change through dialogue & awareness

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Describing herself as “a citizen of the world”, young fem-leader and activist, Kavita Dogra actively works to shed light on both local and global human rights issues. Connected by sexual, physical and emotional violence, and far too often a silent struggle, awareness serves as the starting point.

Born in Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada), Dogra spent part of her childhood living in India before returning to Canada. Exposed to a culture where rampant poverty, social injustices and human rights violations serve as norms, she identified a parallel between the two countries.

A graduate of York University with an honours BA in Law and Society, there was a time when Dogra considered enrolling in law school. However, after taking part in an engaging human rights course in her final year of study, her goal transitioned to working for a charity. A goal she achieved when landing a job with JHR (Journalists for Human Rights).

Invoking Change Through Dialogue and Awareness

As founder of We Talk Women, Dogra provides a platform to invoke change. Her call to action: The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo. After watching the documentary, she refused to turn her back on the false hope provided to survivors of one of the greatest weapons of war. Looking to become further informed, she reached out to Women for Women International and began sponsoring a woman through a one-year program. With the mission to open up a dialogue and engage with the community, We Talk Women was formed.

Kavita Dogra, Founder of We Talk Women- (Photo courtesy of Kavita Dogra)

Kavita Dogra, Founder of We Talk Women- (Photo courtesy of Kavita Dogra)

Relying primarily on online reach, We Talk Women is a strong educational tool and resource for both sound information and personal stories.

Because violence against women comes in various forms, the website covers diverse topics ranging from the gender pay gap to female genital mutilation. And with just a quick read, you’ll be surprised to learn about the injustices taking place in your very own backyard. By recruiting subject matter experts, We Talk Women generates detailed knowledge on broad topics and projects multiple relatable voices.

Getting Involved

Dogra notes that joining the movement does not require you to take on the issue of violence against women as a cause for your life. Rather choose to support the people and organizations that are already doing the work.

Get involved by simply informing yourself, spreading awareness over social media or calling into question the offensive behavior that perpetuates the existing system of patriarchy.

Choosing only to seek out information of personal interest, gender equality norms are so embedded in our culture that we rarely recognize the root of the problem.

Going beyond using the written word to promote its message, We Talk Women organizes an annual event on March 8, International Women’s Day. When it comes to bringing relevance to global issues Dogra comments,

“People have a hard time connecting to an issue if they don’t connect with the person that represents the statistic.”

We Talk Women will be collaborating with Feminist Canada to arrange a speaker series and screening of the documentary, “I Had an Abortion” at OCAD University. Looking to put a face to the cause, Dogra relies on the power of storytelling as the key to engage with others and create change.

Still an active supporter of Human Rights Watch, Dogra currently volunteers at Interval House. It’s through this organization that she launched a program to connect women with nature, an outlet she describes as a personal solace. Keeping with the outdoor theme, Dogra is also leading the Chase the Chill, Toronto movement, in which she plans to spend time spreading warmth to the city’s street homeless this month.

Measuring Success

A difficult task considering the limits to quantifying advocacy work, Dogra measures her success by how effective she is at informing the public.

By committing to heighten the average level of consciousness, she combats the curse of the activist: the repetitive consumption of a depressing reality. Witnessing women being treated as second-class citizens, witnessing violence prevail, moments of hopelessness do take shape. It’s necessary to find a balance between the good and the bad, the change that is taking place and the change that is yet to come.

And while Dogra understands that change is slow, she points out that it is impossible without the bridging of both genders. Feeling safe is a right deserved by everyone.

For more information please visit: http://www.wetalkwomen.org
Or to join the cause visit:www.womensday2016toronto.eventbrite.ca

Also, connect with We Talk Women on Facebook and Twitter: @WeTalkWomen

Laura is a University of Guelph alumna with an Honors Degree in Theatre Studies. She is interested in attempting to understand and express life through art.

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