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  • welcome to section15.ca

    Thursday April 9

    section15.ca is a feminist website that focuses on economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.

    This site:

    • promotes women’s full rights and freedoms in Canada and around the world;
    • recognizes and celebrates women’s diversity; and
    • features articles and ideas dealing with equality as it relates to gender, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation, age and both mental and physical disability.

    Currently, section15.ca does not assign features, and only occasionally posts new blog entries.

  • call for nominations: first annual Femmys Award

    Thursday February 5 | No comments

    The planning committee of I’m Not a Feminist But invites your submissions for nominations to the First Annual Femmys Award for outstanding feminist achievement in the National Capital Region (that’s Ottawa). Send your nomination no later than February 20, 2009, to coalitionforwomensequality@gmail.com.

    From the Ad Hoc Committee

    This is what you need to know to nominate a woman for this award.

    criteria for the Femmys

    This award is intended to honour women located in the Ottawa region who have made outstanding contributions to the struggle for women’s equality. In order to be considered for the award, a nominee must:

    • identify as a woman — Once women are truly equal to men in Canadian society, we might consider giving Femmys to eligible men. Hear that, Status of Women Canada?
    • identify as a feminist — We realize that some wonderful women and equality activists do not identify as feminists. However, we maintain the F-word has a proud history and we’d like to keep using the word feminism to describe the struggle for women’s equality for now.
    • be located in the National Capital Region — We’d love to honour women located elsewhere, but it is just not possible for us logistically. So we challenge other groups celebrating International Women’s Day to host their own Femmys and honour their own feminists across the country! For any enquiries or assistance with this, please feel free to contact us.
    • have made significant contributions to the struggle for women’s equality — We welcome your detailed ideas about what these contributions might be on the nomination form.
    nomination form for a Femmy

    Please use the following, filling in the information we need. Send your completed nomination as an email to the address coalitionforwomensequality@gmail.com no later than February 20, 2009.

    I, [your name], hereby nominate [name of the person you want to nominate] of [name of the organization or group the nominee belongs to, if applicable] for a Femmy Award. She has made a significant contribution to the struggle for women’s equality as follows:

    [description - no longer than 1,000 words]

    Contact Information for person making the nomination:

    [your email or mailing address, and daytime phone number]

    Contact information for the nominee:

    [nominee’s email address or mailing address, and daytime phone number. We will notify your nominee that she has been nominated]

    One more time: send in your nomination no later than February 20 to coalitionforwomensequality@gmail.com

    The Femmys will be presented on March 4, 2009, in Ottawa.

    Ad Hoc Coalition | I’m Not a Feminist But
    coalitionforwomensequality@gmail.com

  • Canada Post celebrates Black History Month

    Thursday January 29 | No comments

    Stamp featuring Rosemary Brown.

    February is Black History Month. In celebration, Canada Post is issuing two stamps. One of them honours Rosemary Brown, the first Black woman to be elected to public office. She was also the first woman to run for the leadership of a Canadian federal political party.

    On Sunday, February 1, the National Congress of Black Women Foundation hosts the stamp launch, as well as presenting a short play on slavery and two films on Abraham Doras Shadd and Rosemary Brown.

    Abraham Doras Shadd played a major role in the Underground Railroad. He’s reported to be the first Black person to hold a political office in Canada. A stamp has also been issued in his honour.

    when

    Sunday, February 1, 2009
    5 pm — doors open and silent auction
    6 pm — stamp launch followed by refreshments

    where

    Vancouver Playhouse
    649 Cambie Street, Vancouver, British Columbia

    who
    • Joyce Shadd-Middleton, Great Great Grand Daughter of Abraham Doras Shadd
    • Cleta Brown, Daughter of Rosemary Brown
    • Dr. Mary Regester, President, National Congress of Black Women Foundation
    • Nalda Callender, Executive Director, National Congress of Black Women Foundation
    • Constance Barnes, Vancouver Park Board Commissioner
    • Dee Daniels and Leon Bibb, Performers
    • Jack Layton, NDP Leader

    Media will need to RSVP to attend the black tie event for free.
    Tickets will not be sold at the door.

    To order tickets, please contact the National Congress of Black Women Foundation at (604) 605-0124.

    To arrange an interview prior to the event or to RSVP please contact:
    Lillian Au — manager, media and community affairs, Canada Post
    (604) 662-1388
    Lillian.au@canadapost.ca

    related section15.ca feature

    activist: Rosemary Brown, by PENNEY KOME | June 2, 2000

  • section15.ca gets the twitters!

    Tuesday January 20 | No comments

    Would you like to follow what’s happening on section15.ca, and be a part of the site’s growth and change?

    Editor Jude MacDonald is making regular updates on Twitter: http://twitter.com/judemacdonald

    She is also eager to add more people to the network she follows.

    Anyone wanting to make quick suggestions about our Website – from design, to new applications we might want to consider, to story ideas – please add the tag #section15.ca to become part of the conversation here:

    Realtime results for #section15.ca

  • I don’t support racism, I just don’t do anything about it when it happens in front of me

    Friday January 9 | No comments

    A York University professor led a study to find out how white people think they would react to racism, compared to what they actually do when someone is racist. Seems that some folks need to do more homework about the difference between nice thoughts and real actions.

    Kerry Kawakami found that “People do not think of themselves as prejudiced, and they predict that they would be very upset by a racist act and would take action. However, we found that their responses are much more muted than they expect when they are actually faced with an overtly racist comment.”

    Kawakami’s findings have been published in the September 9 issue of Science, in a piece called Mispredicting Affective and Behavioral Responses to Racism.

    According to co-writer Elizabeth Dunn, a professor at the University of British Columbia, “People often make inaccurate forecasts about how they would respond emotionally to negative events. They vastly overestimate how upset they would feel in bad situations such as hearing a racial slur. One of the ways that people may stem the tide of negative emotions related to witnessing a racial slur is to re-construe the comment as a joke or as a harmless remark.”

    Yes, I see. This is what privilege looks like.

    See the links below for more details about the study and how it was conducted.

    sources

    external website iconStudy exposes tolerance of racism, by JOSEPH HALL, Toronto Star | January 9, 2009

    external website iconReactions to racism not as strong as we think: York study, York University | January 8, 2009

    external website iconStudy: Racist Attitudes Are Still Ingrained, by EBEN HARRELL, Time | January 8, 2009

    external website iconSurprisingly High Tolerance For Racism Revealed, ScienceDaily | January 9, 2009

  • happy news from The Miss G__ Project

    Thursday January 8 | No comments

    Some of section15.ca’s favourite agents of change give us an update about what they’ve been doing, and the results of their efforts. Great news! Public schools in the province of Ontario are getting Women and Gender Studies and comprehensive early sex-ed programming. What next? Plenty. Here’s what they write:

    women and gender studies: coming to a school near you!

    Not too long ago (in Miss G__ time), we told you that – after three years of mobilizing, organizing, envelop-licking, ass-kicking, government-pestering and some court-jestering – we convinced the Ontario Ministry of Education to include a WGS course in the provincial curriculum. To seal the deal on an overall more equitable and inclusive curriculum, they’re also drawing up Equity and World Cultures courses, which is mighty fine by us.

    Anyone hungry for more of the dirty details on the actual process and timeline can check out this article outlining what we’ve done so far, and (more importantly) what’s left to do:

    external website iconThe Miss G__ Project, by SARAH GHABRIAL, Education Forum magazine, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation

    Basically, Miss G__’s done everything an advocacy group can, and right now it’s up to education professionals and other dedicated folks to take up the cause in a big way and move on the next steps:

    • a WGS subject council must be created to maintain the standards and relevance of the course, and to make sure it stays true to an intersectional approach that does not reproduce oppressions
    • school boards must approve and/or create professional development days on gender equity and feminist teaching
    • faculties of education must ensure their graduates meet woman-affirming and gender-critical teaching standards
    • women and gender studies departments must reach out both to faculties of education and to local school boards to create cross-disciplinary course work and research

    If any of these important initiatives catch your fancy, please email us and let us know! It’s all on you now, sweet friends – the students of Ontario are depending on you! (No pressure or anything!)

    themissgproject@gmail.com

    because there’s no such thing as too much sex ed

    The Ontario Ministry of Education seems to be on quite the curricular roll these days. It has recently moved to include some comprehensive/early sex-ed programming in the curriculum – starting in grade 6 – which is set to be rolled out by 2011. This coincides perfectly with the new WGS course that will be available province-wide at that time, which we think is downright providential.

    Here’s an editorial written last month about the decision:

    external website iconNew approach to sex ed, editorial, Toronto Star | December 29, 2008

    However, awesome as this news is, there are still downsides that need critiquing, as has been pointed out by Xtra:

    “But the report still recommends allowing parents to withdraw their children from classes teaching subjects they disagree with, such as homosexuality. It also contains no means of forcing teachers to learn about the subject matter.” — external website iconOntario Safe Schools Report calls for change, by KRISHNA RAO, Xtra | December 23, 2008

    Miss G__ is thrilled by the news, but plans on bringing attention to these pitfalls to our contacts at the ministry. and if you have a bit of time, we think it would be a great idea if you all sent an email congratulating Minister Kathleen Wynne on the great stuff she and the ministry are up to, but asking her to reconsider aspects of the plan that are weak on tackling homophobia and transphobia in classrooms.

    email Ontario Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne: kwynne.mpp@liberal.ola.org | info@kathleenwynne.com/

  • call for submissions — autobiographies

    Monday December 29 | No comments

    Feminisms in Canada and Quebec, 1960–2010 | Féminismes au Canada et au Québec, 1960–2010

    Marguerite Andersen is a member of a working group that plans to publish the stories of the second wave feminist movement in Canada in a series of books over the coming years. The diversity of feminism – including the complexities of gender, race, class, geography, culture, dis/ability, language, sexual identity, and age – are central to the project.

    About 30 women met for the first time in February, 2008, at the University of Ottawa.

    At the meeting, they created a working committee on second wave history. The members included:

    • Beth Atcheson (lawyer, Toronto)
    • Constance Backhouse ( professor of law and university research chair, University of Ottawa)
    • Francine Descarries (professor of sociology and l’Institut de recherché et d’études féministes, l’Université du Québec à Montréal)
    • Sylvia D. Hamilton (Filmmaker, University of King’s College, Halifax) and
    • Tracey Lindberg (Associate Professor of Law, University of Ottawa)

    Marguerite Andersen has volunteered to help gather and edit autobiographical texts for a book in English, with plans to publish in 2010. She is looking for autobiographical text of 750–1,200 words. Do you have a story about how you came to feminism?

    • What prompted you to begin living and working as a feminist?
    • Was there a precise turning point in your life?
    • Who inspired you?
    • What joyous, painful, funny or other experiences did you have?
    • What transformations took place?
    • What new skills did you acquire?
    • How were people around you reacting to your new self?

    The following is Marguerit's tentative time line for the work on this volume of the series:

    • 31/08/2008 — first call for submissions
    • 30/09/ 2008 — creation of a committee of three to edit this book
    • second call for submissions
    • 31/10/2008 — define the role of committee members
    • establish criteria for selection of texts to be chosen for publication
    • 15/01/ 2009 — deadline for reception of submissions
    • 28/02/2009 — choice of 40–50 texts to be published and confirmations re permissions
    • 31/03/2009 — request bios and permission forms from contributors
    • 31/10/2009 — texts and bios have been edited
    • 30/11/2009 — preface to be written
    • 30/11/2009 — order of texts has been established
    • 15/01/2010 — the manuscript is ready

    Submissions should be sent to: marguerite.andersen@sympatico.ca. You can also write for further information.

    If you have an interest in organizing a similar volume in French, please let her know.

    more about the project
    Feminisms in Canada and Quebec, 1960–2010

    creating the feminist history book society, section15.ca blog item | October 28, 2008

  • consulting with Canadians

    Thursday December 18 | No comments

    Cover, Fiscal Stimulus, budget 2009 consultations, Government of Canada.

    Do you have an opinion about what should be in the next federal budget? If you want to have your say, now is the time to share your views and priorities with the government.

    The government of Canada says it wants to make sure it has the right balance in its stimulus plan. So, it is consulting “broadly with Canadians, with the provinces and territories, stakeholders and political parties over the coming weeks with a view to introducing a budget on January 27th 2009.” The Department of Finance is asking for people’s priorities and ideas here:

    Consulting with Canadians, Department of Finance Canada

    According to the government’s supporting document Fiscal Stimulus – Budget 2009 Consultations:

    • Economic growth in Canada has slowed.
    • Fiscal and monetary policy can play important roles in supporting a recovery.
    • The key challenge is choosing timely and well-targeted stimulus.

    For more of the government’s point of view about the recession, and some facts and figures, visit:

    Fiscal Stimulus – Budget 2009 Consultations, Department of Finance Canada

    The following gives some sense of how the budget will be shaped. You might want to keep the following in mind with any suggestions you make. You might also want to spell out how important it is to consider who benefits from various measures, and how it will benefit the country to make sure efforts are spread fairly.

    Fiscal stimulus can take the form of tax reductions and government spending. But what is required for an effective fiscal stimulus plan?

    It should boost the economy when needed, not when it has already recovered.

    Each dollar of stimulus should deliver the maximum impact here in Canada.

    If the recession is longer or deeper than anticipated, the stimulus will need to be larger and longer in duration.

    An effective stimulus should also balance our short term needs with our long term economic plan for prosperity.

    Timely fiscal measures stimulate new spending quickly so businesses do not have to cut back as much on production or lay off as many workers due to weak demand.

    This ensures the benefit occurs in the short term, when the economy needs it.

    Although infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges, can take a long time to get started, some projects can be brought ahead in time for the coming construction season.

    Projects that are ready to go can be expedited, while repairs and necessary maintenance can be performed on existing infrastructure.

    Canada is committed to the global effort to provide fiscal economic stimulus. But we should ensure our actions have the maximum impact here in Canada.

    This impact is lost when fiscal stimulus is not spent (i.e. it is saved or used to pay down debt) or is used to buy imported goods and services.

    For example, only about 30 per cent of the U.S. tax rebate cheques mailed out in 2008 were spent by U.S. consumers.

    Canada is a major importer of goods. In total, we import 27 per cent of goods we consume. This rises to 50 per cent for durable goods.

    In contrast, only 20 per cent of investment in residential and non-residential buildings is imported through such inputs as building materials.

    Consequently, stimulus directed at domestic activities, like construction, is more effective in boosting growth here in Canada.

    Given the current uncertainty with respect to the extent and duration of the global slowdown and its impact on Canada, an important consideration is the size and duration of the stimulus.

    While the fiscal actions must stimulate the economy through the coming difficult period, they should not burden Canada with a structural deficit that hampers growth in the years ahead.

    Canada’s long-term economic plan is to improve productivity through education and skill development, investment in new capital and technologies, and innovation.

    An important consideration in designing effective stimulus policies is balancing these long-term goals with our short-term needs.

    Certain policies that boost long-term growth will have a smaller impact in the short run, and vice versa.

    However, some fiscal actions can stimulate growth in the short and long term.

    For example, investments in infrastructure and training will boost economic activity in Canada next year and contribute to long-term growth in productivity and living standards.

    Canada needs a well-designed fiscal stimulus plan that boosts the economy now, but will not burden Canada with a structural deficit that hampers growth in the years ahead.

    To ensure maximum impact, it will be important that all provinces and territories, Canada’s G20 partners and other countries also stimulate their economies.

    The following four criteria are important considerations in designing effective stimulus policies:

    • Timely – stimulus when it’s needed.
    • Maximum impact – stimulus that delivers.
    • Flexible in size and duration – smart stimulus.
    • Consistent with Canada’s long-term economic goals – stimulus that fits the plan.
  • 16 days start now!

    Wednesday November 26 | No comments

    Logo for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

    In 1991, women from around the world gathered to create 16 DAYS of activism against gender violence. They had come together for the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute, a project of Rutgers’ Center for Women’s Global Leadership. According to the university, “The 16 days bracket two milestones: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 and International Human Rights Day on December 10.”

    This year, the theme is Human Rights for Women ‹—› Human Rights for All: UDHR60. That last bit refers to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is being marked on the 10th this year. The Center for Women’s Global Leadership puts it this way: “Human rights cannot be universal without human rights for women.”

    Seems kind of obvious, but here we are!

    In Canada, many see the devastating effects of gender violence continue will little notice, or sense that things can change. As a result, the YWCA has relaunched its Rose Button campaign this year, bringing more of a focus on taking action to stop violence against women. According to the YWCA:

    • Over 31,000 incidents of spousal violence against women were reported to police in 2006, and it’s estimated that over 70% of incidents go unreported.
    • Women are more likely than men to be the victims of the most severe forms of intimate partner abuse, such as homicide, sexual assault and stalking.
    • Almost 40% of women in Canada who reported assault by an intimate partner said their children witnessed the violence. In half of those cases, the woman feared for her life.
    • The devastating count of missing and murdered Aboriginal women points to a deep-seated gendered and racialized violence in our culture that impacts both Aboriginal women and women of colour.

    The high levels of racialized, sexualized violence directed against Aboriginal women in Canada is a national and international shame. We urge governments in Canada to recognize these threats and take concrete action now.

    — Beverley Jacobs, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, United Nations experts on women’s rights call for Canadian action plan to stop violence against Indigenous women | November 26, 2008

    Today, three organizations urged “governments in Canada to recognize these threats and take concrete action now.” Their statement was a response to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women statement that all levels of government in this country should “give priority attention to combating violence against women” and create a comprehensive national plan of action to address the social and economic factors that lead to increased risk for Indigenous women and women from ethnic minorities.

    sources

    United Nations experts on women’s rights call for Canadian action plan to stop violence against Indigenous women, Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, and Amnesty International Canada, section15.ca announcement | November 26, 2008

    external website iconSisters In Spirit - Background, Native Women’s Association of Canada

    external website iconRose Button Campaign, YWCA Canada

    external website icon16 DAYS of activism against gender violence, home page, Center for Women's Global Leadership
    external website icon16 DAYS of activism against gender violence, 2008 theme, “Human Rights for Women ‹—› Human Rights for All: UDHR60”, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University
    external website icon16 DAYS of activism against gender violence campaign discussion list, go here to join the 16 Days listserv
    external website iconRutgers marks 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, by FREDDA SACHAROW, Focus, Rutgers University | November 19, 2008

    external website icon16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

    external website icon16 Days of Activism To End Violence Against Women, United Nations Population Fund
    external website iconSixteen Ways UNFPA Works to End Gender Violence

  • creating the feminist history book society

    Tuesday October 28 | No comments

    A group of women have come together to develop a book collection “that tries to depict accurately the richness and diversity of feminist activity in Canada and Quebec between 1960 and 2010.” Right now, the group is eager to hear from people who want to discuss how this project should be developed, and from possible contributors.

    Here’s more:

    the project

    We intend to publish a multi-volume collection of books that tries to depict accurately the richness and diversity of feminist activity in Canada and Quebec between 1960 and 2010. The books will be written by many different authors, and presented in many different formats: autobiographies, biographies, single- and multi-themed volumes, edited collections, plays, novels, etc. The unifying feature is that the books will be centrally edited and marketed as part of a comprehensive series. The diversity of feminism, including the complexities of gender, race, class, geography, culture, dis/ability, language, sexual identity, and age are central to the project.

    Feminism has a history that predates the 1960s and will continue long after 2010. However, historical documentation has to start and end somewhere.

    The topics we hope to cover will include:

    • the history of feminist organizations (local, regional, national, direct service, topical etc.)
    • autobiographies/memoirs/biographies of individuals who have been involved in the movement
    • feminism in politics and the public service
    • feminists in business, the professions, the workplace, unions
    • feminism in art and sports
    • feminism in social and human sciences
    • feminism in reproductive issues and health
    • feminism in education, religion, science, international affairs
    • feminism and the media, and
    • a host of other issues as suggested by potential contributors
    publication and marketing format

    We anticipate that this series will be widely read and widely accessible, and that it will provide a marvelous opportunity for diverse writers to come together to join in the chronicling of our history for posterity.

    We expect to publish a minimum of one book a year, beginning in 2010. We will try to select feminist publishers, and anticipate using a variety of publication venues in accord with the wishes of our authors. We expect that all books will be published in both hardcover and paperback. The hardcover copies will be bound with uniform covers and spines that mark each one as part of a larger “collection.” The paperbacks can be more diverse, with different covers and formats. We also intend to make some or all of these books available in digital format on the internet.

    The hardcover “collection” will be marketed as a series, much like a “book of the year club.” We hope to sign up thousands of feminists in Canada and Quebec as “members” of Our Feminist History Book Society, a built-in purchasing group for the books we will be publishing. For an annual fee of $75–100, members will receive the selected “book of the year.” Other books published in the series that year can be purchased as “optional extras.” The paperback books will be sold separately in commercial bookstores and outlets.

    who is involved in this project?

    The project is still in its preliminary formation, and has benefited from the input and assistance of a variety of feminists to this point:

    • Marguerite Andersen
    • M. Elizabeth Atcheson (Co-Editor)
    • Constance Backhouse (Co-Editor)
    • Monique Begin
    • Mary Breen
    • Susan G. Cole
    • Margaret Conrad
    • Shelagh Day
    • Francine Descarries
    • Margrit Eichler
    • Ursula Franklin
    • Lorraine Greaves
    • Sylvia D. Hamilton
    • Danielle Juteau
    • Linda Kealey
    • Michele Landsberg
    • Tracey Lindberg
      – Meg Luxton
      – Diana Majury
    • Lorna Marsden
    • Maureen O’Neil
    • Francine Pelletier
    • Judy Steed
    how to participate in this project

    If you would like to be involved in the discussions about how this project should be developed, we would be pleased to hear your comments, suggestions, and ideas. If you would like to discuss writing a book, or part of a book, please contact:

    The steering committee (Francine Descarries, Sylvia Hamilton, Tracey Lindberg, Beth Atcheson and Constance Backhouse)




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