The last time I breastfed my first child, I bawled. Unbeknownst to my 13-month-old, I was about to disappear for several days, a last-resort measure to terminate a relationship that was marked by inadequate milk supply, sleepless nights, blocked ducts and metabolic chaos. She was frustrated, I was frustrated, I was losing more weight than was healthy and I had a job interview in a week. It was taking a huge toll on everyone. Heaving with sadness and guilt, I finally agreed to go cold-turkey.
I was standing in line at my local McDonald's when the person behind me asked, "Is that a plaid shirt you're wearing?" I was flustered, my face turned a crimson red and I quickly exited the restaurant. It was only when I sat down inside my car in the parking lot that I realized what had happened: I'd been plaid-shamed.
To everyone around me, it looked like our family had it all. The truth was that I lived in a house that was filthy and piled high with debris and animal waste. I was 11years old when my father began to sexually abuse me. I had become accustomed to keeping so many secrets by then that I just added this one to the list. I hoped the abuse would stop. I was terrified and lonely. I am living proof that it takes a community to lift a person up. The day I left my abusive family home was the day I stepped into uncertainty and poverty.
In no way would I suggest that the struggle transgender people face isn't real. But let's face it. She was living as a man, not a woman, until six months ago. A woman in hiding as a man, perhaps, but as far as the universe is concerned, she was a he, and treated with all the benefits that come along with being a rich white man for the better part of 65 years.
We need policies that enable the poorest to benefit most from economic growth. Of the 1.1 billion people living in extreme poverty in 2010, 200 million could have escaped extreme poverty if poor people had simply benefited equally from the proceeds of growth -- particularly women and youth, two groups being left behind.
Eighty-eight women will have their voices heard as they take their seats in Canada's 42nd parliament. That's up from the 76 seats held by women in 2011. On top of that, prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau is set to announce his cabinet on November 4, with a promise of having an equal number of men and women: a first for Canadian history.
Please don't portray the niqab issue as a Muslim issue. The vast majority of Canadian Muslims think that the traditional veil is clearly a mark of separation, and consider it an element of the fanatical side of Islam. A tiny percentage of stubborn members of Muslim community is causing unnecessary tension between the government and Muslim community on one hand, and between the Muslim community and society at large on the other.
Every day we see another poll, another tracker, another analyst examining this or that issue. The latest is the niqab, the face veil some Muslim women wear. But women's issues and politics in Canada encompass more than a face veil. In fact, I'm going to come out and say there are far more pressing issues we have to deal with from a woman's point of view than whether or not some women wear a veil. Stephen Harper's continuing waving of the veil in our faces is nothing more than a distraction and a deflection from what truly matters.
Despite the Black Lives Matter movement focusing media attention on how violence affects black communities, the experiences of women and girls have not received the same sustained media attention and outcry as the experiences of men. Our voices are routinely excluded from political and public discourse. It's critical for us to make an intervention.
Like most women in Canada, I feel issues that affect me are generally ignored by politicians, especially on a federal level. There was some buzz on September 21st over the #UpForDebate, which was a panel featuring video clips from political party leaders and a panel of women discussing these clips about the neglected issues women in Canada face. As a woman I should perhaps feel positive and hopeful with this progress, that finally these issues are being addressed at least in some capacity. But as a trans woman I already know that issues affecting my unique needs and concerns will be ignored.
I had a discussion about the advancement of women with the senior partner of a major law firm. Frustrated with the leaky pipeline of women in his organization, he described hiring equal numbers of men and women but found the turnover rate for female associates to be three to four times that of the males. Rather than throwing up his hands in dismay, there are things he can do to retain women employees.
To all new and expecting mothers Tara encourages you to: "Get connected. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to carry a mother so don't be afraid to reach out to someone walking the same journey. We can walk together because our children need us to be the best mothers that we can possibly be."
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.
A lot of people have the perception that shelter life today is for the junkie, the uneducated, the criminal or the battered wife seeking refuge from her abusive partner. In my experience, most of the people I have met in the shelter system are there for a variety of reasons. In the shelter I have met bank tellers, writers, students and even retirees.
To debate or not to debate -- that is the question? Election fever has begun in Canada well before the election call. So much for the concept of a six-week election blitz. One of the issues floating through all of the talk is a push for a leaders' debate on women's issues similar to the televised one held on August 15, 1984. In 1984 few could imagine that a need would exist for another debate in 2015. Surely all of the issues facing women in Canada would be resolved by then! Sadly this is not the case. Canada, once a leader respecting advancement of women has slipped behind other countries.
I was on the beach, happy to be alone. I was minding my own business, which is not allowed when one is fat. It's everyone's business. A beautiful redhead jogged past me wearing a pink string-thing. In a soft voice, she introduced herself as Melissa, and then said she hoped I wouldn't be offended. I work for a diet company and we have these amazing appetite suppressants..."