If the inquiry itself starts in the summer, as recently indicated, because the government took the time to get the pre-consultation right, that would be a positive thing. If we don't consult properly now, we've sunk the inquiry before it begins. Let's all remember this.
The human rights landscape has changed dramatically since 1962, when the Ontario Human Rights Commission was created. There are now parallel human right institutions federally and in every province and territory, and numerous international human rights treaties to which Canada is a party. In Ontario, most people are ambivalent or simply don't know about the OHRC, its role, and its work. This is ironic because some of the issues that have captivated Ontarians in recent years clearly fall within the OHRC's jurisdiction and are issues on which the Commission has been actively engaged.
There is nothing intrinsically "Canadian," let alone "conservative," about leveraging insecurity, racism and xenophobia for votes through ethnic scapegoating. That is not a "conservative" strategy; it's a fascist strategy with a long and bloody history, and it has no place in Canada. On October 19th, we have a chance to "take our country back." We have the chance to declare once and for all that who and what we are as Canadians is no longer for sale. We have a chance to steer Canada off its collision course with history, to save it from derailing and crashing beyond our ability to recognize it, let alone repair it.
At college and university frosh weeks across Canada, conversations about consent and rape culture are increasingly being added. Some universities have worked with local women's organizations to create brilliant educational campaigns. But good examples of proactive conversations around consent are still rare and reveal a shockingly patchwork approach to a very serious issue with a very high price.
Would you have children knowing it would leave you with only three per cent of your sight? It sounds like one of those dark "would you rather" games you play when you're getting to know someone. In Victoria Nolan's case, it was a very real decision that left her depressed and feeling like she could not be a strong role model for her children.
A new study from the Canadian Women's Foundation found that while almost all Canadians agree that sexual activity between partners should be consensual, two-thirds do not understand what consent means. If you can't tell if someone is consenting, ask: "Are you okay with this?" Encourage them to answer honestly. Decent people treat others with respect, especially when it comes to something as intimate as sexual activity. Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault. It's all pretty simple.
To call what happened to me "rape" would be dishonest and disrespectful to survivors of rape. I was, however, a prime candidate for rape twice in my life, and escaped by the skin of my teeth both times. Our society seems to think it's rape or bust: minor sexual assaults are tragically unreported, and this is why I'm writing this piece: I want to change that. If every woman who's been a victim tells her story, we can start to stitch together a narrative of sexual violence, the understanding of which is the first step towards eradicating it. I know it's difficult to tell people about experiences where you weren't in control, but think of it this way: by speaking about your experiences, you're giving a voice to other victims, past, present and future.
The children of these women are almost forgotten. Our half-hearted national conversation on the ongoing racialized violence against stolen indigenous women barely acknowledges their existence. If there is even an estimate of the number of children affected, please let me know. And yet, the surviving children's loss is unimaginable. They lost mothers, sisters, aunts and cousins. You don't need to be a psychiatrist to understand that the grotesque violence aboriginal women suffer affects the mental integrity of the children they leave behind.
As a culture, we have a weird obsession with women being "selfish." Mothers especially are prone to accusations of selfishness any time they make a choice that doesn't directly and obviously benefit their children. Even when mothers are encouraged to practice self-care, it's often approached with the idea that feeling happy and rested will make them better partners and parents.
The heart of #meninism might be valid, but it doesn't remotely reflect the kind of struggle that women throughout the ages have gone through. Let's work a little less on spitting on the real issues and work more on making sure that we're making the changes necessary to ensure that we never have the meninist/feminist conversation again.
Theories of why Wikipedia remains a male-based platform also abound. Some correlate it to the combative exclusivity of an old boys' club mentality that is repeatedly evidenced by women contributors submitting articles that are judged to be not substantive enough and immediately expedited for removal. The edit-a-thons came into existence as a counter measure to the aforementioned persisting pattern.
On February 12, Harper vowed to appeal a federal court ruling that would allow Muslim women to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies. Speaking to the press about the matter, Harper said, "That is not the way we do things." He added that, "This is a society that is transparent, open and where people are equal, and I think we find that offensive." This is a classic example of opportunistic feminism, which so many white men like to make use of from time to time.
Much has changed for women. The fact that we have International Women's Day, or that many organizations host Women in Leadership events to empower women, or women feel they can mobilize to effect positive change is testimony to progress.
This year's IWD is themed "Make It Happen." And I think for every woman who is a part of celebrations, this is a goal to which we are ready to commit. For women who cannot just "make it happen" on their own, we must help "make it happen" for them.
It is clear that even in 2015, there is a lot of work to be done both at home and abroad to advance the rights and equality of women. Let's take a peek at what the federal political parties in this country are doing to make a difference.
Wage inequality continues to be an ongoing issue here in Canada, where women, on average, earn only 80 per cent of what their male counterparts earn. The wage gap varies significantly between occupations; the largest gap being in health-related occupations, where women earn just 47 cents for every dollar earned by men--a figure which has not changed since 1986. But determining why this wage gap exists in the first place can garner impassioned appeals from all sides. While some argue the wage gap is symptomatic of society's bias towards women, others say women themselves make concessions in their careers for the sake of their family.