More than a century ago, an international conference of some 100 working women meeting in Copenhagen decided to establish an annual Women's Day. As we approach the 104th International Women's Day on March 8, large gender gaps remain both in Canada and globally. This time, however, the annual event may become a catalyst for meaningful action, at least in election-year Canada.
Aboriginal women and girls are at higher risk of becoming victims of human trafficking in Canada than non-aboriginals, according to Canada's National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. This selling and abusing of people -- a modern-day form of slavery -- is one of the pieces that make up the complex puzzle of Canada's more than 1,100 missing and murdered aboriginal women. And another reason we must take action.
Each of us has a story about who we are, the work we do, the people we love, or even why we arrive late to the office. We live each day according to these stories, seeing and believing the information that reinforces them and ignoring the rest. My participation in the reality TV show, "Who Lives Here?," precipitated this a-ha moment for me.
We know from our daily lives that gender-based violence remains rampant. The facts support this conclusion: half of women in Canada have suffered physical or sexual violence. Exactly when did we, as a society, become accustomed to violence? We must ensure access to coordinated services that keep women and children safe.
has always been that messy and exciting hallmark of puberty signifying the possibility of fertility. Today it is but one occurrence in a lifetime of shaming women's bodies, diminishing the natural beauty and power of every female. (Not to mention they want them smelling and looking like daisies in a meadow. Vaginas are not flowers. They are vaginas.)
There are a growing number of people who spurn the words "feminism" and "feminist" even though they support women's rights and equality. It seems there's widespread misunderstanding about what these terms mean. And the message that sends to youth about the ideals of gender equality concerns us deeply
A 30-year-old women came to my office and cried because after a decade of abuse, she had mustered the courage to leave a horrific and impossible situation. She was now being forced out of the shelter, and she had no job, no food, and did not know how she was going to support her children. Her son sat beside her, rolling his eyes.
The report calls for a national plan to address violence against immigrant and refugee women and immigration policies that better support immigrants in precarious circumstances. It calls on the federal government to abolish the two-year conditional status for sponsored spouses, reinstate access to the Interim Federal Health program to all refugee claimants and uphold the privacy of all people who have access to social and health services.
As a therapist I have worked with many successful women who have the "fraud syndrome," where they think they do not deserve the success they are experiencing and that somebody somehow will find out that they are faking it. There are also those who are suspicious of success and power. Here are some of the common blocks and defeating thoughts that women commonly experience.
Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette is proposing a private member's bill that will institute a quota system that will mandate that 40 per cent of all corporate board members must be female. Gender quotas result in good numbers on paper, but that's about all they do for the advancement of women. In reality, gender quotas simply reinforce tokenism and push the sexist belief that women somehow aren't "good enough" to earn power on their own.
Frustrated Canadians living with eating disorders, families and health practitioners also want to have a greater presence at government and the Mental Health Commission discussion tables. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders. Women with anorexia are 12 times more likely to die than women of the same age without the condition.
Paikin offers up another reason women guests are so hard to come by, and this one will floor you. He says "we've also discovered there also seems to be something in women's DNA that makes them harder to book." I think the last time I read something along those lines was in my undergraduate women's studies critical theory course, but it was something written in the 1800's. According to Paikin: "No man will say, "Sorry, can't do your show tonight, my roots are showing." I'm sure these words will find their way in a women's studies course someday too, to be picked apart by clever students who won't believe for a second it was written in 2014.
In honour of this International Women's Day, it seems fitting we turn our attention to our female Olympians, who performed so wonderfully well at Sochi, and made all of us back in Canada exceptionally proud. How well did they do? Very well. If there were an all-female Olympics, Canada would have placed first in the medal count, with six gold, six silver and one bronze.
Canadians may be shocked to learn that there are no long-term, publicly-funded residential care facilities in Canada. Wait times for treatment are so long that many Canadians with eating disorders are forced to go abroad for private health care, and return with little follow-up care. It is time that a national eating disorders awareness and education campaign be launched, and that Canada develop a national strategy to address these serious mental health conditions, including early diagnosis and access to the full range of necessary care, a national registry, and a robust research program.
Canadians should know that early and forced marriage is not just an issue of developing countries. For example, recently there were 100 documented cases in Ontario, involving young girls who left Canada and were forced to marry. We need real action, an area where this government often stumbles badly.
As we gather with family and friends across our great country to celebrate the end of 2013, and as we look forward to a more hopeful 2014, let this be a New Year focused on Canadians, and not on political drama and scandal. And let parliamentarians work to ensure a brighter future for all women in Canada. Women's help and ideas are needed to see what Canada can do better to increase the participation of women in our economy, to ensure their health and safety and that of their children, and to build a better life for all Canadians.