Some Remarkable Women

Resilience and Triumph book cover

Resilience and Triumph: Immigrant Women Tell their Stories (Second Story Press) is a collection of writings by over 45 women from diverse cultural, linguistic, religious and national backgrounds. Edited and compiled collectively by a group of seven women, it is first in the series published by the Feminist History Society to “document and preserve women’s stories and activist history in the time frame of the second-wave feminist movement in Canada (1960s to the present).”

Rashmi Luther, retired academic (Carleton University) and member of the Book Project Collective, writes in her “Introduction:”

“The stories present us with an opportunity to enhance our understanding of feminism, recognizing that it is not a single movement, but plural and varied, informed and shaped by a mixture of gender, culture, religion/faith, and historical context. In many respects, feminisms are shaped and expressed by being grounded in and challenging the ideas beliefs, and values of the culture from which they originate, as well as by exposure to other societies and belief systems.”

Monia Mazigh (author and human rights activist), another member of the Book Project Collective, writes:

“These authors, referred to as ‘brown women,’ ‘South Asian women,’ and more recently ‘racialized women,’ live in an ongoing dilemma as their strong attachment to their roots confronts their discovery and burgeoning love for their new adopted country, Canada. Everywhere they go, they are faced with inner conflict and sometimes guilt: Will they forget their home country? Will they really forget who they are? Can they forge a new identity that melds their home and Canadian cultures?”

Other members of the Collective include Ikram Ahmad Jama (educator and activist), Yumi Kotani (practitioner of equity and inclusion), Lucya Spencer (Executive Director, Immigrant Women Services Ottawa), Dr. Peruvemba S. Jaya (Associate Professor, University of Ottawa), and Dr. Vanaja Dhruvarajan (Adjunct Professor, Carleton University).

The book is divided into the following five themes:

  1. Arrival: Losses and Gains,
  2. Integration or Assimilation
  3. Identity: Women’s Journeys to Becoming and Belonging
  4. Exploring Feminisms
  5. Activism: Shaping Our World.

In many ways, the publication is as much about the development and writing of the book as about the stories themselves from some remarkable women.