Equity Matters

International Women’s Day 2010: Remembering Four Trailblazing Haitian Feminists

Malinda Smith, Vice-President, Equity

In Haitian Creole there is a proverb that says, “Men anpil, chay pa lau,” which roughly translates as “many hands lighten the load.”  This proverb aptly captures the transnational story of women’s struggles for equity and social justice. It also symbolizes the inclusive approach of four trailblazing Haitian feminists – Myriam Merlet, Myrna Narcisse Theodore, Magalie Marcelin and...

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Status of Women in Canada on International Women’s Day 2010

Judy Rebick, Ryerson University
Guest Contributor

It is International Women’s Day 2010, forty years after the Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.  A generation has passed, my generation.  In some ways, there has been a revolution in the status of women since that time.  When I went to McGill University, just before the hearings of the Royal Commission,  only 30 percent of the undergraduates were women and almost no professors or graduate students.  In four years of study at McGill, I never read a book written...

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Gender gap and beyond: Are women the key to a Conservative majority?

Elisabeth Gidengil, McGill University
Guest Contributor

The term “gender gap” became a staple of political commentary following the 1980 United States presidential election. In that election, women were much less likely than men to vote for Ronald Reagan. The term is now used to refer to any differences in the political preferences and political behaviour of women and men. Gender gaps are one reason why the Conservatives have still not been able to break out of minority territory. In the 2008 federal election, women were less likely than men to vote Conservative and the five-point difference could...

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Unreasonably focusing on reasonable accommodation in Canada?

Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens, Université de Montréal
Guest Contributor

Here we go again.  As I write this entry, a new controversy has erupted following a Quebec government’s decision to allow private Chassidic schools to hold classes on weekends and even during the summer.  The idea underlying this decision is to permit these schools to teach both their religion-heavy curriculum, which they already do, and the compulsory subjects prescribed by the department of education (French,...

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Why gender still matters in politics

Brenda O'Neill, University of Calgary
Guest Contributor

It’s safe to say that the issue of ‘women in politics’ no longer generates the attention that it once did. The 1984 leaders’ debate between John Turner (Liberal), Brian Mulroney (Progressive Conservative) and Ed Broadbent (New Democratic Party) on such issues as pay equity, affirmative action, abortion and child care seems unlikely to be repeated in the near future. Women’s issues simply do not generate this level of attention. An exception can be the appearance of...

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Gender, culture and violence: Toward a "paradigm shift?"

Maneesha Deckha, University of Victoria
Guest Contributor

In analyses of gender equality and violence against women, “tradition” and “culture” frequently are invoked to explain the phenomenon in non-western societies. Specifically, violence against women in non-western societies often is blamed on some lack or deficiency in those cultures, whereas in our society the problem of violence tends to be attributed to a disturbed individual. We see this with the case of, for example, the 1989 Montreal Massacre and Marc Lépine’s...

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Gender gap distribution of Canada Research Chairs and Canada Excellence Research Chairs

Wendy Robbins, University of New Brunswick
Guest Contributor

“Many of us in this room have worked our whole career to make things fairer, and now you are pushing us right back!” My comment was a spontaneous reaction to René Durocher, who was outlining the Government of Canada’s new multimillion-dollar Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program to a meeting of the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada (HSSFC) in 2000. The several hundred HSSFC members on the Chateau’s ballroom...

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The electoral glass ceiling for women: Representation and political equality

Linda Trimble, University of Alberta
Guest Contributor

Seven years ago Jane Arscott and I wrote a book called Still Counting: Women in Politics Across Canada.  We gave stark evidence of the electoral glass ceiling for women. At that point, 85 years after most women won the right to vote and stand for office, women held only 20% of the seats in Canada’s parliament and legislatures. Sure, 20% was better than nothing. It was better...

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