Tuesday, March 4

International Women's Week Events Coast to Coast to Coast

Monia Mazigh spoke to an audience at an International Women's Week event at Nipissing University.

She shared her experiences as a woman, a Muslim and an immigrant to kick off week-long events for International Women's Week.

Status of Women Canada estimates that about one in five women and girls in Canada were born outside the country.

During her speech, Mazigh said immigrants are politically aware when they arrive in Canada, but they're disappointed because they don't feel represented in public service, schools and hospitals.

Tunisian-born Mazigh emigrated to Canada 17 years ago and recalls how her Montreal neighbourhood had 75 immigrant groups all sharing their hopes and concerns about starting a life in Canada, never having to learn French or English and able to go to a doctor who speaks their language.

There is no immediate harm in this, Mazigh said, but they're excluded from the mainstream and the opportunity to participate.

Mazigh's husband was the Syrian-born Canadian who was detained in New York and deported to Syria in 2002 where he was imprisoned and tortured on false allegations of terrorist links.

She successfully pressured the Canadian government to hold a public inquiry into his deportation.

Both received honorary doctorates of letters from Nipissing University in June.

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