Equity Matters

Making it Work: Disabled women shaping spaces in education and employment

Nancy E. Hansen, University of Manitoba
Guest Contributor

As a human geographer studying disability I am always aware of surroundings, how spaces and places are organized – and as a disabled female academic, even more so. As disabled people we are often perceived as aliens on the scene. That is, we are not expected to be “here” (wherever that is).

Until very recently, disabled people have be trapped in a parallel universe built on lack of expectation of ability and limitation of opportunity. Hence, our arrival within the academy is often unexpected. Social policy and...

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The right to be safe: Bullying is a human rights issue

Wendy Craig (Queen’s University), Joanne Cummings (York University), and Debra Pepler (York University)
Guest Contributors

Recent highly profiled cases in the media of bullying leading to suicide have highlighted a significant public health problem, one with tragic consequences. Our research shows that at its core, bullying is a relationship problem where the rights of children are violated.

Bullying is a problem that arises from complex interpersonal dynamics.  Within the relationship...

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Reflections on culture, identity and human dignity

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University
Guest Contributor

I never much liked ‘multiculturalism.’ The word, I mean, not everything that was ever done in its name. Multiculturalism, in the United States, was offered as a solution to tensions between blacks and whites, Christians and Muslims, Anglos and Latinos. Learning each other’s cultures was supposed to help. But those tensions never seemed to have a lot to do with differences in culture.

African-Americans, for instance, are not particularly culturally homogeneous. The music, the sports, the literature, the movies they care about, they care about not as blacks but as individuals, or...

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Making schools better for LGBT: Homophobia and transphobia lessons

Rebecca Haskell, BC Society of Transition Houses and Brian Burtch, Simon Fraser University
Guest Contributors

In recent weeks there has been increasing media attention given to the suicides of young lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth in Canada and the United States. What has been framed as a recent rash of suicides is not really recent at all – a decade ago researchers at the McCreary Centre Society in British Columbia found that nearly half of the LGB youth they sampled had attempted to take their own lives and the average age at the time of attempt was only thirteen. As Kris Wells articulately stated in...

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Redeveloping balance: Women after workplace bullying

Elsie Hambrook
Guest Contributor

Recently, researchers at the University of New Brunswick interviewed 36 women from Atlantic Canada who had been bullied in the workplace. What they learned is surprising. The researchers’ main conclusions, published last month in an academic journal, was that women could not continue working in a business-as-usual way after experiencing bullying because it interfered with their health and work practices.

“Their approach to work, energy while at work, and ability to accomplish work are affected.” Their thoughts were consumed...

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'Failing boys' 1990s conversation continues into the 21st century

Kathy Sanford, University of Victoria
Guest Contributor

As I read the recent Globe and Mail series of articles, I am amazed that we are still circling around the same discussions, discussions that serve to continue the moral panic about how the boys are not doing well, how education is not paying attention to boys’ needs and concerns, and how boys are falling behind the girls.  These very same headlines appeared in the 1990s newspapers, but continue to surface. On one hand, it is gratifying to see the ongoing concerns with gender issues in our society, and a desire...

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Beyond Homophobia: We Need to Make it Better

Kris Wells, University of Alberta
Guest Contributor

Within the past several weeks, seven young men in the United States and two young women in Canada have tragically committed suicide due to homophobic bullying, harassment, and societal prejudice. Research indicates that suicide is the number one cause of death amongst gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth in North America. However, it is not the number one cause of death for heterosexual youth. What explains this difference?

Important risk factors for adolescent suicide include experiences of substance abuse, feelings of hopelessness, sexual abuse, a history of family dysfunction, and the recent...

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Queering In/Equality: LGBT and Two-Spirited Youth ‘It Gets Better’

Malinda S. Smith, Vice-President, Equity

"The increase in lesbian, gay and bisexual characters on primetime television not only reflects the shift in … culture toward greater awareness and understanding of our community but also a new industry standard that a growing number of creators and networks are adopting.”

This is, at least, the hope of Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Yet there is a disjuncture between visual and virtual equality and the everyday lived experiences of many LGBT and...

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Immigrant Women, Equality and Diversity in Canada

Alexandra Dobrowolsky, Saint Mary’s University
Guest Contributor

This blog post is part of the Federation Equity Portfolio’s ‘Equality Then and Now’ series, marking 40 years since the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.

The drafters of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women (RCSW) deliberately chose to write about the inequalities facing Canadian women in general, strategically focusing on the major social, economic and political struggles women in Canada experienced as a whole.  By doing so,...

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EnGendering Changes in Unpaid Work in Canada

Kathleen Lahey, Queen's University
Guest Contributor

As discussions about reasonable ‘compromises’ around census issues coalesce, the government actually may end up ‘winning’ on its drive to exclude all non-business-related unpaid work from the 2011 census. Only unpaid activities relating to travel, to work and helping in someone else’s business will be counted.

With the removal of just one question (33) – pertaining to unpaid activities with seniors, children, and for self and household – Canadian policymakers and the Canadian public are losing valuable knowledge about how Canadian society...

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