Tag Archives: gender equality

Violence Against Women Concerns Us All

28 years ago, Canada was shaken by the violent mass murder of 14 young women at École Polytechnique, generating awareness on the ongoing social issue of gender-based violence and misogyny.

Today, we commemorate and honour the lives of everyone who has died from gender-based violence and the intersection of systemic discrimination such as homophobia, poverty, and racism, including discrimination against Indigenous Peoples. This day is also about asking why acts of violence against women are still happening in 2017.

Violence against women continues to be a major tragedy. There has been no significant reduction of the problem, as rates of sexual assaults continue to remain high. Both police-reported and self-reported data indicate that women represent the majority of victims of specific forms of violence such as sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence, including intimate partner homicide.

#METOO, the recent social media trend, saw many courageous women sharing their stories, shedding light on a widespread culture that promotes acts of violence against women, in particular, sexual harassment and assault. The prevalence of toxic attitudes and violent acts against women is deeply disturbing but not surprising. It calls for a long overdue reflection on the social and institutional structures that promote these acts, as well as on our own actions.

Too many continue to sanction sexist beliefs and attitudes that dehumanize women and paint them as weak and inferior. These beliefs impact women’s rights and the level of respect they are shown. Society’s view of women has normalized the behaviours and attitudes that promote gender-based violence. Behaviours can take the form of jokes about sexual harassment or rape, meeting the act of catcalling a woman on the street with laughter, or the reaction of insistence and a predatory attitude when a woman says “NO”.

Consider a joke about harassment or consent. Even when a person insists they meant nothing by it, it still promotes a culture of violence and discrimination that has serious and real impact on women. The problem is that joking about consent has become so commonplace, it reinforces the perception that disregarding consent is somehow socially acceptable.

Being aware of the collective impact of these attitudes, and discussing ways to address the situation, not only among women, but among all of us, is an honest first step toward transforming our surroundings and confronting the issue. There is no such thing as an innocent bystander. Acts of gender-based violence concern us all and must be challenged, especially by those who think they have the privilege to ignore them.

To create change, it is essential to recognize that the issue of violence against women knows no frontiers. It happens every day, in our country, in our city, and in our neighbourhood.

Because violence against women concerns everyone, let’s raise awareness and step up to reinforce acts of respect to everyone, but particularly to women and girls!

Article prepared by The Canadian Federation of University Women

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The 2013 Highs and Lows for Feminists in Canada

2013 was an eventful year for feminists in Canada, filled with highs, lows and other noteworthy events that fall somewhere in between. Compiling and categorizing such a list becomes a challenging task given that feminists are not a monolithic group that share all the same viewpoints, experiences or locations. None-the-less, below are some of 2013’s noteworthy events.

This is certainly not exhaustive, so please share any additions you may have in the comments section!

Highs

In-Between

Lows

 International

What were some of the big moments for gender equality on an international scale? Check out UN Women’s 2013 Gender Equality Year in Review and a video produced by the Association of Women’s Right’s in Development, Significant Moments for Women’s Right in 2013 .

Popular culture

In Canada we share a lot of a media with our neighbors to the South, so here are some of the highlights from American popular culture in 2013:

Coalition for gender parity on Canadian boards of directors

Women and men must be equally represented on our boards of directors. While the Constitution recognizes gender equality, corporate Canada has clearly not made enough progress in this area.

Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette has put forward a bill that would establish gender parity on the board of directors of certain corporations, financial institutions and parent Crown corporations.  To support this bill sign on to the online petition, found here.