The Land is a Woman

Choosing to challenge through the art of spoken word.

On March 8, 2021, the Alberta Investment Management Corporation and the Alberta School of Business invited individuals from across corporate, political and academic spectrums to recognize International Women's Day.

People from across Canada tuned in virtually to hear from guest panellists, including Angela Fong, AIMCo’s Chief Corporate Officer, Dr. Michelle Inness, Assistant Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at the Alberta School of Business, and City of Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. Guided by Amy Hepburn, CEO at Investor Leadership Network, the group discussed the current realities and explored how to move the needle, individually and collectively, to further advance women in business, corporate and government settings.

During the event, Edmonton's Poet Laureate and Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion, Nisha Patel (‘15 BCom), delivered a powerful spoken-word piece called “The Land is a Woman.”

Alumna Nisha Patel (‘15 BCom), Edmonton's Poet Laureate and Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion, calls out gender bias and inequality in International Women’s Day-inspired spoken word poem.

Poem Transcription

They told me the land was a woman 
And as planets live and die, so do we 
Will we protect her from collapse and destruction 
Or accept that change is what makes us free?  

Does the earth know what we’ve done in her name? 
The towers we’ve raised, the wetlands we’ve drained? 

Everyday we wake to the whooping crane’s silence 
the footsteps of caribou fade as we struggle under tyrants 

And as the ocean acidifies around us 
The beluga’s call sounds 
Asking us to look for answers 
Deep within ourselves 

Do I have what it takes 
To be a woman in this age 
Watching my sisters burn at the stake 
Of men’s impatience, hate, and rage  

Or is the struggle different still 
The quiet and serpentine whisper in my ears
That despite all we achieve in spirit  
We’ll always be weeping willows, grieving each other in tears  

You see everyday I that I awaken  
I do not choose violence 
But I inherit it all the same 

For every man looking down his nose 
There’s a long line of women
To whom we owe society’s change 

So on a day meant for women’s rights 
The call is not for us to rise and fight the cowards 
The responsibility is on those who fear us 
To put to work and use their power 

The world is not starving for lack 
We know the solutions are being achieved each day 
Hunger and longing, war and politics 
Women are fighting for all of us this way 

but as we head movements and take up the mantle 
Of preserving the world for future’s children 
We are faced with resistance and denialism 
Subjected to the mobs and violence again and again 

In my ancestor’s village there’s a woman who 
Makes three meals stretch to six 
Across continents the imagination of another 
Turns plastic into recycled bricks 

Girls brave gunfire, rape, and greed 
On the long march for education 
An autistic teenager crosses the Atlantic 
Infuriating an entire nation 

Students fly to a cold prairie 
and take up residence amongst the snow
Women leave homes and friends and siblings 
Raising themselves when their fathers grow old 

But I don’t believe that we’re far 
From the future we deserve 
I celebrate the brave and resilient ones  
Wrought in the fires of vision and nerve 

And I am proud to announce that I know only unkind women 
Those who speak of the truth instead of niceties 
The ones who hold anger as fuel for resistance 

So are your ears burning just a little 
Or are you ready to burn the system to the ground? 
If you’re still waiting for the signal in the skyline 
Look first at your daughters and mothers, and make us proud 

Say equity like you mean it 
Bring us more than a seat at the table 
Take your privileges to the bank 
Put money in the hands of the people  

A single woman with resources 
Has the power to transform the world around her 
Get us out of poverty and prejudice 
bet on us and what we have to offer 

Woman are not cures or antidotes for a society that grows sour 
We are resolutions, we are miracles 
We are the first and last hope in the darkest hour 

Dear woman, 
I see you 
Standing in your grief 
And your power 

There are hands reaching out to meet you 
Take them
And together 
We’ll reclaim what’s ours 

Women in Business

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