Conversion therapy bill way off target

Conversion therapy bill way off targetParliament needs to find the courage to stand up for Canadians’ fundamental freedoms instead of allowing Bill C-6 to trample them. While the intent of the bill to criminalize harmful practices under the banner of “conversion therapy” is right and good, the effect of the bill would go much further, devastating our fundamental freedoms, like…

Métis PhD student, businesswoman appointed to new federal task force

Raylene Whitford will advise the government on how to provide equitable economic recovery for women

Métis PhD student, businesswoman appointed to new federal task forceMétis Ph.D. student and businesswoman has been appointed to the new federal Task Force on Women in the Economy. She is working alongside 17 other women from across the country to advise the government on a pathway to a national feminist economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic. The task force was announced on March…

Women bear the brunt of COVID-19 shutdowns

Women bear the brunt of COVID-19 shutdownsWomen across the world know a silent truth: they’re bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s economic fallout. These hectic months have placed an extra burden on women’s shoulders and persistent lockdowns threaten to erase decades of gender equality earned in the labour force. Although COVID-19 kills slightly more men than women, the labour market impact…

Spotting and tackling prejudice

Move away from false statements and over-generalizations and recognize everyone as individuals

Spotting and tackling prejudiceRacism exists in Vancouver. How much, how bad and how widespread it is we can debate. That there are other places where the situation is much worse we can agree. But we still have room to improve here. In case there’s any doubt, Fairchild TV has produced two videos (here and here) documenting expressions of…

Women’s and gender studies ideal training for med school: students

Three U of A medical students may have different backgrounds and interests, but they share a passion for reducing inequities in health – and in the health system

Women’s and gender studies ideal training for med school: studentsThe University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry this fall welcomed three students trained in women’s and gender studies (WGS), which they say has given them a unique perspective on their chosen profession. All three say gender studies have made them acutely aware of the social determinants of health – especially for vulnerable populations…

Don’t be too hasty to rename schools

Instead of renaming schools, we should educate students about the legacy behind their current names – good and bad

Don’t be too hasty to rename schoolsIf some petitioners get their way, Cecil Rhodes School will be no more. The Winnipeg school would still exist, but under a new name. No doubt most Canadians who hear about this have one burning question: Who is Cecil Rhodes? Rhodes was a 19th-century British politician who served as prime minister of Cape Colony, a…

Cancel culture equivalent to infamous Hollywood blacklist

Pushing back against emboldened righteousness isn’t a task for the timid. J.K. Rowling is not timid

Cancel culture equivalent to infamous Hollywood blacklistJ.K. Rowling – the British author who created the stunningly successful Harry Potter series – is a political liberal. In 2008, she donated £1 million to the U.K. Labour Party. In 2016, she campaigned for Remain in the Brexit referendum. She’s a professed admirer of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And so on. Despite these…

Making a commitment to common humanity

We may have different opinions, alliances, ideals, languages, skin colours, gender preferences. These are simply characteristics that add variety to life

Making a commitment to common humanityGroundbreaking American anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In many ways, this is a call to action for all of us, regardless of our political or economic perspectives. We have the power to change the…

The jarring collision of transgender sports

How do we level the playing field when male-to-female athletes want to compete against biological females?

The jarring collision of transgender sportsMixed martial arts fighter Tamikka Brents had never felt anyone or anything like the blows that sent her to the hospital in 2014. Fallon Fox hit Brents so hard that she suffered a broken skull. Despite the brutal loss, observers didn’t wonder whether Brents should be in the ring. They wondered about Fox, a male-to-female…

Domestic violence perpetrators, and victims, know no gender

Domestic violence, no matter the gender of the victim, is wrong

Domestic violence perpetrators, and victims, know no genderI remember being 12 years old when my stepfather scarred my face for the first time. He had graduated to his fists from his belt some time before, and while he usually confined himself to battering me between the waist and the shoulder blades, the non-visible portions of my anatomy, occasionally he lost control. This…

Gender wage gap narrowing in Canada

Gender wage gap narrowing in CanadaThe gender wage gap in Canada has narrowed in recent years but it continues to be significant, according to a report released on Monday by Statistics Canada. In 2018, female employees aged 25 to 54 earned $4.13 (or 13.3 per cent) less per hour, on average, than their male counterparts. In other words, these women…

Unearthing the roots of gender inequality in the workplace

Tanya van Biesen of Catalyst talks about how gender diverse teams drive better business results and how we can bring about workplace equality

Unearthing the roots of gender inequality in the workplaceTanya van Biesen is executive director, Canada, of Catalyst. What is Catalyst Canada and what does it do? Tanya: Catalyst is the leading non-profit focused on building workplaces that work for women through inclusion. Since 2000, Catalyst has worked in Canada to address the unique experiences of Canadian working women, through research, education and engagement.…

Diversity in the media safeguards democracy

Diversity in the media safeguards democracyMedia’s role in society is integral for a healthy democracy. However, a lack of diversity within journalism is a significant detriment. Since Sept. 6, social media has been abuzz after an op-ed arguing against ethnic diversity was published by the Vancouver Sun and The Province – two of British Columbia’s largest newspapers. The op-ed sends…

Call for equal pay for women for equal play falls flat

Let's face it: women's sports are second-tier entertainment, which even most women don't support

Call for equal pay for women for equal play falls flatThe men’s final at Wimbledon on Sunday took five immortal sets of tennis over four hours 57 minutes before Novak Djokovic finally outlasted Roger Federer in a stirring contest that ended in a fifth-set tiebreaker at 13-12. Saturday’s women’s final lasted just 56 minutes in two quick sets for Simona Halep to upset Serena Williams.…

The transgender movement needs boundaries

People with gender dysphoria must be treated with respect and acceptance. But privacy and safety should not be sacrificed

The transgender movement needs boundariesThe transgender movement has made great strides in recent years in advancing the cause of a marginalized minority. However, the movement’s claim to the absolute right of people to choose their gender, and have that choice legally enforced, is resulting in unfairness. Gender dysphoria is a condition involving an anatomical male who believes he is…

U.S. women’s soccer team fighting battles on and off the field

After years of being the best team in the world, they continue to fight for equal status and respect at home

U.S. women’s soccer team fighting battles on and off the fieldSexism sucks.    And nobody knows that better than the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The current team members, and their predecessors, have been fighting gender discrimination on the part of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for decades. The U.S. national team has been the best women’s…

U.S. women’s soccer team fighting battles on and off the field

After years of being the best team in the world, they continue to fight for equal status and respect at home

U.S. women’s soccer team fighting battles on and off the fieldSexism sucks.    And nobody knows that better than the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The current team members, and their predecessors, have been fighting gender discrimination on the part of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for decades. The U.S. national team has been the best women’s…

In praise of all that masculinity has accomplished

We don't need to disparage masculinity in order to celebrate the qualities and contributions of women, or to encourage social equality of the genders

In praise of all that masculinity has accomplishedOne of brightest students in my university department was seriously intellectual and widely read, always taking an active and constructive part in seminars. The student was approached by two others who complained that the student took up too much space and time, and should step back. No professor ever advised such a thing to this…

Featuring more female sources should increase audience engagement

From entertainment to business to news media, the evidence is clear: audiences want gender diversity

Featuring more female sources should increase audience engagementWhat would happen if news media struggling to survive applied the productivity mantra “What gets measured gets done” to the sources they quote? Business research, Hollywood sales data and anecdotal evidence from the news industry all suggest it’s worth a try. In many western democracies – the U.S., the U.K. and Canada included – most…

New generation of women find their voices in politics

They have a history of grassroots social activism and community involvement, and it serves us all well

New generation of women find their voices in politicsAngela Merkel has announced that this will be her last term as German chancellor. This has created some concern, as many credit her with navigating her country, the European Union and even the global community through many stormy waters in recent years. When we look around the world, however, we see that there is no…

New generation of women find their voices in politics

They have a history of grassroots social activism and community involvement, and it serves us all well

New generation of women find their voices in politicsAngela Merkel has announced that this will be her last term as German chancellor. This has created some concern, as many credit her with navigating her country, the European Union and even the global community through many stormy waters in recent years. When we look around the world, however, we see that there is no…

Progressive agenda just a form of thought control

Ontario lawyers are being asked to agree to principles that may run counter to their beliefs

Progressive agenda just a form of thought controlThe Law Society of Ontario wants to compel all lawyers who wish to practise in the province to agree to the society’s version of a progressive agenda. It would be a dangerous precedent. The society may also make it mandatory for lawyers to attend sessions on such subjects as “unconscious bias” and apparently any other…

Getting the most out of life by being your best

But despite what some marketing may suggest, that doesn't mean winning at all costs

Getting the most out of life by being your bestFor 30 years, Gillette used “The best a man can get” as its tagline. It sounded good and it appealed to the cultural standard of competition – the idea that to be a real man, you needed to be the best, even if it meant to win at all costs. Gillette advertisements showed how men…

Gender pay gap has little to do with discrimination

Discrepancies are more often the result of different choices men and women make, on and off the job

Gender pay gap has little to do with discriminationFor decades, politicians, pundits and activists have clamoured about a gender pay gap and have cited statistics purporting to show that the economy is unfair to women. Women, after all, get paid only around 70 to 80 cents for every dollar earned by men. However, for just as long, studies have shown that this discrepancy…

Using big data analytics for social good and broader perspectives

Gender Gap Tracker makes big data public to motivate media to achieve gender parity among experts

Using big data analytics for social good and broader perspectivesAn Iranian big data engineer, a Spanish computational linguist and a Canadian social activist walk into a research lab. They don’t miss the drinks they could order if they’d gone to the bar, because they’re on a mission to change the world. We hear a lot about how artificial intelligence is taking away jobs and…

Quoting more female sources can help engage audiences

New online tool gives fitness tracker-style incentive for media to achieve gender parity in their sources

Quoting more female sources can help engage audiencesCould the incentivizing power of a fitness tracker be adapted to help achieve gender equality in the media, enhancing Canadian democracy in the process? After a year of collaboration with a team of big data scientists, we’re about to find out.  Despite the increasing attention paid to the importance of women’s voices, in news media…

A close shave: marketing and politics indistinguishable

Gillette has stepped boldly into the socio-political minefields of #MeToo, bullying, spousal abuse and male self-absorption

A close shave: marketing and politics indistinguishableIt’s tempting to take the recent’s ‘controversy’ over the Gillette shaving company’s new advertising campaign at something less than face value. For starters, controversy itself is no longer the conversational cutting edge it once was. In this era of fake-versus-false news, universal short attention spans and ludicrous overstatement as the entry price for even being…

Legislation to ensure pay equity for work of equal value falls flat

Only a free market will balance out pay inequities. If a company fails to compensate fairly, employees will simply move on

Legislation to ensure pay equity for work of equal value falls flatFrom conception to implementation, pay equity is a sham. It’s obscured in double speak, packaged in seemingly laudable goals and promises great results. However, it can’t deliver them because it’s based on false premises. Any good that comes of it is far outweighed by the harm. That’s why Canadians should be wary of any legislation…

Emotions and politics: the lessons of the Kavanaugh hearings

How are emotions mobilized in politics, for whom and by whom? And what normalizes the expression of these emotions?

Emotions and politics: the lessons of the Kavanaugh hearingsThe fallout from the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, riveted people on both sides of the border and provides ample evidence that feelings can become weaponized in politics to uphold white male privilege. In his blistering, scripted opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh performed the role of…

Left-wing social justice warriors rewriting history

It is important that we understand history as it was, and not how some of us wish it would be

Left-wing social justice warriors rewriting historyThe philosopher George Santayana famously wrote in The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  This statement makes sense, especially in light of our society’s recent trials of history – and the accuracy of history being placed on trial. The first example involves Scott…