When I first heard about the Women's March on Washington back in November, I felt called to get involved. I've used my words and my voice over the years, but have never physically marched. It was finally the time! I decided to stand with the thousands of other concerned citizens and march in solidarity here in Toronto.
In a corporate setting, it's surprising that gender parity forecasts continue to be so dismal when more studies are finding that diverse companies outperform businesses that aren't as inclusive. So why is this the case? And what does it have to do with changing a couple gender-specific words in the national anthem? The answer has to do with a term called "unconscious or implicit bias."
Over the past year, the Australian community has become uncomfortably aware of the pervasive culture of discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment within the medical profession. To those of us within the profession, it is clear that this deeply embedded culture of sexual harassment is a symptom of a much deeper problem.
Like it or not, we are adults who have grown up into a world which is objectively unfair. We could go into the reasons why -- like the deregulation of corporate shenanigans which crashed our economy and rapes our ecosystem, or the wild inflation of tuition that's buried us in debt. It must be a struggle, having to listen to scary words you don't like from little people you don't respect.
There's been a lot of media attention lately devoted to changing the idea that dads aren't babysitters. That they are equal parenting partners. I'm seeing it more and more and I love it. While previous generations of dads (and even some dads I know today) believe in tough love, see it as their responsibility to "toughen up" their kids, and who have an easier time raising their voice than giving hugs, I hope these kinds of parents are on the way out of fashion.
It's not easy to be a girl here. And it's clear to me that it's not the strangers who are the biggest threat. It's poverty. It's the lack of good options. It's the prevalence of sexual violence, especially for Nepal's Dalit and Indigenous girls. And it's something else, too. It's the lack of programs for men and boys.
When I first met Christy Clark, I remember thinking we had a lot in common. Journalism has changed a lot, but at the time, female reporters and anchors were unusual -- in fact, when I was the first female reporter at CKNW, some listeners complained: how could this woman report the news? Likewise, Christy was also a woman in an untraditional place: cabinet.
I am often reminded of Martin Luther King, who uniquely demonstrated that eloquence trumps bigotry, when researching Canada's earliest LGBT activists. They, like King, were at the forefront of a dramatic civil rights movement, making powerful and persuasive arguments for social justice in the face of sometimes brutal suppression.
Canada continues to make important strides toward more equality. But there are storm clouds on the horizon that endanger the continuing pursuit of true equality. What started as a legitimate change to bring about equality and transformation of how we viewed, treated and spoke about each other has now ossified into a rarely breached wall of silence, a silence reinforced by the onset of the West's indifference to its own good, bad or ugly -- but distinct -- societies, their values and norms. Call it white man's burden or guilt, a guilt for the sins of the past now manifesting itself in the white man's fear.
Women's organizations, governments and United Nations entities celebrated the 15th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325. This landmark resolution stated that women's participation, security and protection were essential in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict. This resolution was much heralded at the time and was followed by seven additional resolutions on women, peace and security. However, civil society organizations have observed again and again that these strong words have not been translated into action.
Nearly 90 per cent of girls tell Plan International that they have more opportunities in life than their mothers did. That's progress. But in developing countries, girls are twice as likely as boys to suffer malnutrition, and 63 million girls (many more than boys) don't attend school. Removing barriers to education, health care and other rights isn't enough. We need to focus on how girls can move beyond merely surviving, to thriving.
The wide-scale entry of women, especially those with young children, into the workplace has been called "one of the most profound changes in Canada in the past quarter century." The impact of this change is widespread and multi-faceted. One major aspect of the change is something researchers call the convergence of gender roles.
G(irls)20 brings together a group of carefully selected young women, "delegates", equips them with leadership and communication skills and gives them the opportunity to meet with leaders from government, business and civil society. This is an excellent way of empowering young women to help them realize their full potential.
This week, I'm celebrating Women's Equality Day and continuing the conversation when we not only talk about the issue of women's equality but how we can reach equality for all. This is also a time when we highlight some amazing women who shine a light on this issue and believe that we can get there.
Last week, a woman travellingon a Porter flight from New York to Toronto was asked to move to another seat to accommodate an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man. The woman was very upset. She said that the man never looked at her nor spoke to her. It may be rare for Porter Airlines, but our public schools, like our airplanes, trains, busses, theatres and other public venues are facing a an increase in such requests.
Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to bring about positive change for women in science. Two recent events involving senior, highly-regarded scientists demonstrate the growing importance of social media as a catalyst for change in science. It is time for the media to pay more attention to those scientists, who happen to be women, and who are woefully under and mis-represented in all media. Women in science all around the world have found a common voice that has never existed before, on this scale or in this form.
I remember so distinctly staring around at the room of Toronto Star editors and the people around me, including my own fellow interns, and I remember the exact moment of realizing that everyone in that room, except me, was white. I often believe its all too easy when you exist as a member of the "other," like a minority community like ours, for someone to cling to the idea of being the "first one," the "only one" and achieve what they can in the world for themselves and then go home with the pride of that recognition and nothing else. What if instead of believing there are limited seats to the table, we all chose to add more chairs?