Women around the world still fighting for rights, and Herizons Magazine still covering their stories
If you’re sure that women have reached equality and there’s nothing left to do, you might want to take a look at Penni Mitchell’s life-long work.
As Managing Editor of Canada’s longest-running feminist publication – Herizons Magazine – Penni has been scanning Canada and the world from her Winnipeg office for nearly 20 years searching for examples of women and their efforts to gain equality.
And there’s no shortage of stories all these years later. More than anyone, Penni knows there are amazing women out there still talking, meeting, organizing, rallying, marching and protesting for their rights. “Especially when you look at women in Africa and Asia mobilizing against huge odds – like human trafficking and yet they are completely fearless and are quite inspiring. Women are doing really exciting things. It’s pretty uplifting.”
It is those stories of struggle and fulfillment and Penni’s own persistence and passion to collect and re-tell those stories, that made it possible for Herizons magazine to publish its 75th edition in 2010 - and to remain Canada’s only surviving national feminist magazine. In any given issue of Herizons, readers can see profiles of women artists and writers; reports on health like toxic substances in personal care products; stories of women survivors of the Rwandan genocide; or a regular feature on women in Afghanistan. In any given year, Herizons publishes the work of more than 150 writers, photographers and illustrators from around the world and shares their stories them with subscribers from several countries.
The continued success of Herizons is in part due to Penni’s ability to repeatedly find new ways year after year to publish on a shoestring while adopting new technology. “When Herizons first started publishing, the technology was pre-historic. Circulation files were kept in shoeboxes. The first editions were typeset on long paper galleys and pages were manually pasted up. Nowadays, it’s faster with desktop publishing, data is stored electronically, and of course we have a state-of-the art website.”
A small governing Board of Directors oversees the non-profit operation and part-time staff take on national circulation, accounting and design. Herizons’ revenue is diversified with a fairly even split between subscription sales, advertising, government grants, and fundraising.
As an ACU member, Herizons also benefits from ACU advertising, and, in fact, an old, refurbished ACU computer donated to Herizons over eight years ago is still humming along!
According to Penni, “We share a dream of a more inclusive democracy, where an end to violence, discrimination, and racism are only the beginning. Creating a better world depends, in part, on having our own forms of media. As feminist publishers, we believe that Herizons is helping to create that better world.”