Archive for October, 2006

5 Things Feminism Has Done for Me

Things are looking pale for women in Canada. See this excerpt from http://www.statusreport.ca/, the site dedicated to reporting the latest news about funding cuts to Status of Women Canada.

Beverley Oda, Minister of Heritage and Status of Women, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have taken drastic steps away from women’s equality.

On September 25, 2006, the federal government announced a 5 million dollar (40%) cut to SWC’s administrative budget.

On October 3rd, they removed the very word “equality” from SWC’s mandate and changed the rules so that women’s groups cannot use federal funding to do advocacy or lobbying.

To draw awareness to the funding cuts from the Status of Women Canada, Progressive Bloggers are running a campaign, asking bloggers to post 5 things feminism has done for them. Here are mine:

1- I did not have to stay in an abusive marriage. I exist in Canada as an individual, not my husband’s (or father’s) chattel.

2 I was able to return to school while raising my kids – as a child I was taught to read. Not all girls have this opportunity. Because there are feminists I got to go to school.

3 I am able to learn and work in the male-dominated field of technology. Nobody tells me I can’t like computers because I’m a girl. And if they did I wouldn’t listen anyway.

4- I do not have to fear an unwanted pregnancy. I have access to safe birth control. No one can force me to have sex and get away with it.

5 My children know women who are capable, strong, intelligent, creative, and not afraid to stand up for what is right. Feminists are powerful role models. For all of us.

Now I tag:

Alexandra A
Sue Richards
Alexandra Samuels
Windchine Walker
Mir

What my awesome kid did today

Between meeting his schoolbus, eating dinner and taking my daughter to aikido, my youngest son (5 years old) came up to me for a hug and noticed I was wearing the bead necklace/hairband he’d made me last week. He was so happy to see it on me – to know that I really and truly liked it enough to wear it. He said, “I love you so much mama and all the things you do for me.” I was thrilled – I don’t think I’ve made the request for help and cooperation for at least a few weeks so this was really coming from the heart.

Later when he emptied his lunch bag he showed me that he’d saved me the chocolate chips from his cookie. He likes the dough but not the chocolate so – I win! Love and chocolate, who could ask for more?

Racism in the bathwater

Background: Canada funds two school systems: the public and the separate (Catholic) in both official languages, French and English. Incidentally, there are private Fundamentalist Christian schools, a Mennonite school, and an Islamic school in the local community that receive no government support. Parents whose children attend these schools are still required to pay taxes to support either the public or the separate school system.

A friend’s (former) employer revealed to her that he sends his kids to separate school (Catholic) because the students there are all white children. He doesn’t want his kids around people of colour and so even though they are not Catholic they’ll go to Catholic school to get away from “those people”.

This should be reason enough to cease funding to separate schools – something I’ve never supported. The last thing the school systems should be doing is facilitating racism! Because there are multiple choices, parents can choose to segregate their kids. On the surface we can say that Canada is diverse and multi-cultural but the reality is that we are pockets of isolated communities. Individuals do not have to encounter, accept, understand or empathize with anyone who is not the same as them.

I have heard all kinds of reasons for why people send their kids to Catholic school: to be taught immersed in their religion (if they are Catholic), to learn morals and values (if the family is not Catholic), because the special needs programs are superior, because the school is closer than the public, because we want to access insert special program offered at the separate school nearby – French immersion for example. I’d argue that none of these are enough to warrant public spending either but I digress.

I hate that this man is filling his children with these ideas of hate. No matter what teaching happens in the classroom, these kids are growing up with a racist father. I would hope that nothing in the school or the teaching would further the seeds that the father is planting, but I know back when I was a kid in small town Ontario, the only people of colour I ever saw were on the collection boxes for Unicef. I certainly needed my brain stretched to realize the racism surrounding me and that I was complicit in as I grew up. This happened when I left small town Ontario and entered the larger world and even more so when I entered the Women’s Studies program. I hope the teaching in elementary school is better these days. Given my kids’ experiences so far I really really doubt it.

Lancet says girls are expendable

In speaking about the new HPV vaccine:

“The Lancet editorial says that ideally boys should also be immunised against the virus. But it says that, until more data on use of the vaccine in boys is available, EU states “should lead by making the vaccinations mandatory for all girls aged 11 to 12 years”.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5411038.stm

So the boys can wait. Boys carry the disease and spread it to girls via heterosexual sex but it’s too risky to give to boys at this time? Thanks. Not sure how common it is for girls to pass HPV to girls but best immunize them all. Unless – - wait – - do they suppose unimmunized girls might pass it to boys? Hmmmmmm.

Also left out of the article is the fact that infected boys can pass HPV to other boys via gay sex — but I guess no one cares if gay men get HPV. Maybe they won’t die of cervical cancer, but if it’s that great a vaccine shouldn’t it be offered to everyone? Hmmmmm.