Voices from Women’s Spaces
Many universities in Ontario have dedicated prayer spaces for students to use for worship while on campus. Some universities have separate rooms for men and women. Wareesha Nadeem is a frequent visitor to the women’s prayer space at Ryerson University. For her, the space is like a home away from home. “This is the most comfortable space for me on campus,” Nadeem says. “If I think about needing to go anywhere, I come here.”
Whether men and women worship separately in Hindu communities will vary by temple. At ISKON Toronto, there are three altars where members worship. Men are usually on the left, women on the right, and a mix in the middle. “It’s not like there are rules where the women can’t go in the temple, but there tends to be a natural area for people,” says member Keka DasGupta. “Some temples don’t have that at all.”
Women’s co-working spaces have been popping up in Toronto in recent years. Shecosystem is one of them, which opened at the end of 2016.
While the space doesn’t exclude men, its focus is on promoting feminism and holistic values.
“The feminine values speak to me,” says member Jacqueline Lawrence.“I like the community here. I get a sense that people are on very authentic journeys and you don’t find that in every space.
The Relief Society is an organization for women in the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. Women become members once they turn 18 and attend weekly meetings, participate in community service, and take part in an annual conference for members. The Relief Society has “a completely different environment,” says Jo-Anne Miner-Humphrey, a member who attended the conference for the first time. “It really is a sisterhood.”