Equity Matters

Much ado about mentoring

Malinda Smith, VP Equity

Let’s be audacious and say it: Some of the most innovative – socially innovative – developments in human history have occurred in the social sciences and humanities. I think mentoring is one of them: Mentoring is a social innovation, whose improbable beginnings can be traced to, of all things, a poem. The modern idea of mentoring often is traced back to the figure Mentor who appeared in Homer’s epic poem, Odyssey, over 3,000 years ago.

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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2010: Racism, anti-racism and the academy

Frances Henry, York University
Guest Contributor

Anti-racist scholars across the country are raising critical issues about the dynamics of racial inequity in the Canadian academy. An increasing literature written largely by racialized and Indigenous scholars questions the persistence of hegemonic whiteness of the university by asking questions such as: Who is represented in the academy? Whose voice is heard and who is ignored?  Whose knowledge counts and whose knowledge is discounted?

More and more...

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Mentoring, gendered work and an academic career

Sarah Wolfe, University of Waterloo and Ailsa Craig, Memorial University
Guest Contributors

Every day begins with an email: ‘Here’s my pact. What are you doing today?’  The messages fly back and forth, halfway across the country. Hardly the conventional model for academic mentorship, but it works for us.

We started chatting through an online community for students finishing dissertations. We are not in the same field – though our research has overlapping concerns – nor are we at the same institution. We have no shared...

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Differential equity: Rocks and other hard places

Donna Palmateer Pennee, University of Western Ontario
Guest Contributor

As a dean and as a researcher and teacher, I have a personal commitment to equity that is focused on not losing ground for those whose rights have improved significantly, while also working to change the demographic of faculty and students.  That means working for equity for those federally designated groups in addition to women whose rights to access have been shortchanged in the academy, and most recently...

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Equity and women of colour: Things are slow to change in the academy

Audrey Kobayashi, Queen's University
Guest Contributor

Women of colour remain severely underrepresented in Canadian academia. Notwithstanding employment equity policies that have been in place for at least two decades in most universities, they are still hired at levels way below their availability in the PhD pool in most disciplines. And those who make it into the hallowed halls consistently report that they experience consistent, debilitating,...

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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 by a woman nor had a female professor. Abortion...

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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 well have been enough to deny them a majority....

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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, history, maths, etc.), which they are barely doing...

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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 women running for high political office – Hillary...

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