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Girls Night conference and concert will raise money for Canadian Women’s Foundation

Jesse Mellott | Fulcrum Staff

SECOND-YEAR INTERNATIONAL development student Madeleine Orr and the Political, International, and Development Studies Student Association (PIDSSA) have collaborated to host Girls Night, an event that will address the subject of violence against women.

The two-day summit will include a conference, benefit concert, documentary showing, and more. The concert will be held on Feb. 8 at the terminus in the Jock-Turcot University Centre. On Feb. 9, events will include a keynote speaker and six panel discussions at the JunXion Public House on George Street.

The conference will address human trafficking, violence in the domestic sphere, the role of politics and legislation in protecting women against violence, gender stereotypes in the media, violence against Aboriginal women, and violence on Canadian campuses.

Proceeds from  the Girls Night conference and  concert will go toward the Canadian Women’s Foundation, an organization that operates nationally to end violence against women.

“We wanted an organization that works directly with women, not just in our community, [but in] the communities that need it the most,” said Orr, event chair and sponsorship coordinator. “The thing we realized about the Canadian Women’s Foundation is that they have a really good research program there, and they operate throughout Canada.”

Speakers from various women’s organizations will attend the event, including representatives from the Families of Sisters in Spirit, Amnesty International, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and Plan Canada. U of O criminology professor Holly Johnson will also speak.

According to Orr, PIDSSA has helped her and seven other student members of the hosting committee with resources, financing, and promotion of Girls Night.

Orr said the conference was inspired by an event she had planned in high school, which initially attracted the interest of PIDSSA President Simon Larivée.

“We thought it was a powerful political message to talk about women and violence,” said Larivée. “We decided to partner with [Orr] and help her organize this event.”

According to Orr, there has never been a conference of this kind at the student level in the region before. She said she wanted to shine light on a subject that she thinks is often ignored.

“People kind of ignore the fact that within violence against women and gender violence, there are a thousand different branches,” Orr explained. “There are honour killings, violence against Aboriginals, violence in the LGBTQ community—there’s a lot that gets ignored there.”

For more information on how to sign up for the event go to: