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Women Are Vital to COVID-19 Recovery Plans

healthcare worker looking out window

Most of us have never lived through a time like this. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected lives around the globe, and is arguably the most serious health crisis Canada has ever faced. Beyond the health concerns, this past year has exposed massive cracks in our society. The pandemic has disproportionately affected women, vulnerable people, and those already marginalized. It has exasperated the challenges of people who were already struggling. Stories, studies and research show us that women have been deeply affected in a variety of ways.

 

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Indigenous women’s groups estimate the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls at 4,000 in the last three decades. That’s 133 a year. That’s a staggering one every three days for over 30 years. Certainly, the loss of one is too many and it is impossible to quantify the magnitude of the impact on individuals, families and society as a whole. You have to wonder about the urgency of the response to this kind of carnage if those women were white. More than one year after the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, there has been little noticeable action to make positive change.

Gender, Sexuality & The Importance of Normalization

I didn’t grow up with homophobic parents, and my religious community was not homophobic. I constantly reminded myself of this as I cried my eyes out about not being straight. I used substances to try to not think about it, but the relief was only temporary. Why did I feel so bad about myself? Why did I get depressed about it and continuously associate queerness with suicide? As I later found out, it was the discourse behind it. The way people spoke about queer folks wasn’t discriminatory, but it wasn’t positive or normalized either.

 

2020: The Year We Failed Women

2020 was hard. For many, this is an understatement. Stories, news and studies remind us that worldwide, women and children in particular have suffered greatly since the Covid-19 pandemic began. In various countries around the world, women are working, caring for children and, in many cases, spending their days doing unpaid domestic work and unpaid care for family members. Children have been ripped from their regular routines, daily socialization, and academic studies. For many others, they have lost their one safe place: school.

Women’s Rights are Human Rights

diversity hands

There’s a now famous-saying: “women’s rights are human rights.” Yet, around the world, women and girls are still denied rights, even basic ones, because of their gender. Rights such as the right to be educated; to vote; to earn an equal and livable wage; to own property; to choose if and when they bear children; to live free of slavery, genital mutilation, or forced marriage; and to live free from violence.

Healing Justice Manifesto for December 6th 2020

candle in the darkOn December 6th, 1989 I was a new mother. The murders at l'École Polytechnique shook loose a deep despair that surfaces every December. A fresh wound felt keenly with every woman killed, most often by someone who ‘loved’ her.  The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH) annual femicide report lists 35 women and girls who were killed in 2020. So far. It is hard not to feel like we are losing ground, losing “the war on women”[1].  Women always lose in a war. Always. This year has been especially brutal for all the reasons too exhausting to list. I am tired of fighting. I am traumatized by so many stories of fear and hate. Increasingly I fear that polarization is the endlessly renewable fuel that will burn down the whole house. It has been a brutal year.

Back to Basics to End Violence Against Women and Girls

man and woman talking Violence against women is all around us. It’s engrained in our cultures, often passed down generationally, it’s in the media we consume, in locker room talks and certain jokes, in the way society treats women, in our workplaces, and in some of our homes. The sobering fact that one in three girls or women have been affected by abuse means that it is very likely every one of us knows someone who has been abused.

Rethinking Persons Day

flare voting Persons Day - October 18 - is a day in Canada meant to commemorate the historic decision to include women in the legal definition of “persons”. It marks the time when women were finally granted the right to vote in elections. The problem with celebrating this day? This decision did not include all women - Indigenous women and women of Asian heritage and descent were excluded. It really only reflects gains in voting rights for privileged, white women. While many Canadian women did gain the right to vote during the 1920s, it was not until much later that all women - especially Indigenous and minority women - were allowed to do the same.

Celebrating the International Day of the Girl

dayofthegirllogoMy name is Tanya Marie Lee. Close to four years ago, I created a book club for Teen Girls 13 to 18 years of age entitled “A Room Of Your Own”.  This book club gives young women a Grrrl Positive Space to be themselves without judgement. We honour, respect, love, and celebrate everything about being a young woman growing up in today’s society, standards, and pressures. What makes this book club special is that the girls are given the books for free 4 to 6 weeks in advance, they meet the author and we focus on mental health and wellness. We have terrific discussions with the authors and the young women involved. We choose books that are relevant to young women’s lives, that reflect diversity, and that have great female protagonists of all abilities. Young women relish in the idea of seeing themselves and their friends reflected in the literature they are reading.

International Day of Older Persons – Oct 1 2020

2 old womenr

Every day is a milestone in the life journey. Over the years, I have come to recognize that there is a core part of me that is unchanging, that remains always with ‘being young’ in the sense that I am who I have always been. There is a constant me. At the same time, I am in constant motion, being moved along with time that is never still, in this body that ages around me. Sometimes I catch a glimpse in a mirror and am struck by the distance between how I feel and how I appear. Am I really a ‘senior’? Already?

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