The remedy for all ignorance is simple; compassion and education. If you come across a 21st century "alpha" male basking in North American blindness, be kind. They are less-educated in the ways of human behavior, and perhaps it is best to leave them to it. Pick up the torch, speak up, and educate those who are willing to listen. Your voice has power. Never let go of the truth in equal rights.
As an evolved species, we can do better than repeating the same patterns of discrimination that feed into a looping and segregating cycle. Let's lay out all issues on the table, educate, and not stamp prejudice onto those who suffer greatly for various other reasons because they fit in with the white/ straight/ rich categories.
When the headlines fade, the daily, persistent, and pervasive violence against girls and women around the world will continue unabated and generally unreported. And it will persist until people and their governments start connecting the dots between these headline-making atrocities and the everyday, out of the headlines, violence targeted at girls and women on public streets, in the household, in the workplace, and in and around schools and why these incidents happen.
While some women would no doubt make plenty of money by running escort services or choosing a few well-paying clients, the majority of those in prostitution do not have that kind of relative bargaining power. And considering that we share a border with the U.S., not only will decriminalization lead to increased demand from Canadian citizens, but also from our southern neighbours.
I am excited to have the G20 Summit held in Australia this year because I believe this provides Australia with the opportunity to intensely scrutinize its own role in the world. While Australia in many respects is a wonderful country to live in, I believe that as a wealthy, prosperous nation, we still have a lot of work to do.
With kids growing up surrounded by advertising, movies and TV, toys, books, and clothes that tell them that some things are for girls, and others are for boys, we're already fighting an uphill battle if our goal is to raise girls who know that they can solve tough, real world problems, and boys who are interested in collaboration, not just competition.
We applaud the Government of Canada's continued efforts to push women's and children's health to the forefront of the global agenda, as the high-level Summit on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health opens in Toronto this week. In far too many many parts of the world, women still struggle to access the health services they need, at an often deadly price.
At a time when research suggests that the average girl's self-esteem peaks at the age of nine and then plummets, '9 Ways' uncovers the root causes of the self-esteem crisis, the ways we are unknowingly contributing to it, and what we can do to ensure that every girl (and future woman) is empowered to reach her full potential.
There are thoughtful and effective ways to look at all the facets of violence against women and it can certainly be done without promoting bigotry. For example, in March, the Ottawa Police, the Ottawa Rape Crisis, and Algonquin College partnered to put on a full day event on violence in the name of honour.
We are not just expected to put in the same amount of work in the office, and still more at home, we also have to find the time to go to the gym, pull on skin-tight shape wear, prepare gluten-free, carb-free, Paleo, blah, blah, meals, get Botox, gel manicures, and buy expensive serums, lotions, and potions proven to even out our complexion, hide fine lines, and reduce sagging.
"Feminist" is an unavoidably loaded word. If we asked a group of parents if they believe in raising children that are respectful of both men and women, and who believe in equal opportunity, we suspect the answer would be overwhelmingly, "of course." Ask that same group if they believe in raising feminists, and the response may be slightly more hesitant.
The Lean In zeitgeist says individual women can take personal responsibility for failure and act to achieve success. Meanwhile, recent research says there is an unconscious bias in corporate Canada that prevents equally qualified women from attaining the same level of success as men. The Lean In school is decidedly wrong. In short, both men and women need to lean in to create equity in business. It's the only way to achieve balance.
Despite this new ruling, the debate around prostitution is hardly settled. There are those who wish to legalize and normalize the industry, those who wish to criminalize all aspects of the industry, and finally those, like myself, who recognize prostitution as an industry that is inherently harmful to women and girls and therefore must be eliminated.
At first blush, the recent decision of the Canadian government to shift its foreign affairs focus from diplomacy to servicing private industry came as something of a shock to many. We have become just another nation interested in building up its own wealth at the expense of being an effective influence in the larger struggles facing the globe -- poverty, climate change, localized conflicts, and a general breaking down of democracy's legitimacy.
When women engage me in my community, in Ottawa or across the country, they talk to me about the economy, about health care, about child care, about housing, about the environment. Simply put, all issues are "women's issues." But as Status of Women critic, I also ask questions about challenges specifically facing women.
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and construction was my family's mainstay. I have been around it my whole life and truth be told, my happiest place on earth is on a roadbuilding site with machines pushing and swinging dirt and people all working hard. Sure, being a girl in construction came with the standard issue nuisances you would expect -- naked pin-up girl pictures in the tool trailers, having to use disgusting man outhouses, getting hit on steadily, getting tolerated and not taken seriously -- but I just kept my head down and got to work. This got the people who make decisions to know that I was not just a little blonde token strutting around the job site but that I was watching and thinking and had value.
Noting gender, when gender is irrelevant, happens even in the most progressive of milieus. The soundtrack of my current leave of absence has been my beloved CBC, and yet just this week, I heard a newscaster refer to Ontario's Premier Kathleen Wynne and another politician as "the two women." Really? How about "the two politicians," or "the politicians" or even just "the two"?