Saturday, April 19

Thanks for Your Support

F-email Fightback will not be posting any more updates but
before we move on.....
we are sending our heartfelt thanks to all of our fans
over 500 per week
from all over the world!!!

It has been fun and we will continue fighting back
for women's equality
at every opportunity!

The Sisters United - Will Never Be Defeated!

Friday, April 4

Thursday, April 3

April 2 was International Day for Mine Awareness

Women in Angola have come up with a unique way of celebrating the UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action while at the same time promoting female and disabled pride and empowerment. Far from your typical North American beauty pageant, Miss Landmine Angola is challenging not only mainstream conceptions of beauty but is also calling on countries to redouble their efforts to eliminate antipersonnel landmines. Canada has an important role to play in this respect, one that up until now has fallen short of our previous commitment to the elimination of landmines.

Thursday Fem-links

Photo Credit: Fanning The Flames of Menopause

  • Menopause - Long a taboo subject that was acknowledged only with humour 20 years ago, open debate about the life stage now rages
  • The Canadian Labour Congress issued a statement on April Fools Day praising the federal government for cutting taxes on women to compensate for the estimated wage gap between women and men.
  • Neighbours, Friends and Families campaign launched in Caledon Ontario to tackle domestic violence
  • Canada's national group Egale is spending a lot of its energy these days working to help Jamaican gays and lesbians (asking for censorship)
  • About a dozen members of a University of Calgary pro-life group defied administration Tuesday by erecting a controversial and graphic anti-abortion display in the heart of the campus.
  • The first principle of ecology -- that everything is connected -- helps us understand why there are links between apparently disconnected things, like the status of women and environmental sustainability.
  • Despite reports of its demise, the gap in wage equality between New York men and women is still very much alive, reports the director of The Howard Samuels Center.

Sunday, March 30

Veil Talk: Examining the Many Facets.

Femilicious attended a talk that was held at the University of Windsor with Dr. Shahnaz Khan entitled: Veil Talk: Examining the Many Facets.

Dr. Khan is the author of Aversion and Desire; Negotiating Muslim Female Identity in the Diaspora where she presents the voices of Muslim women on how they construct and sustain their Islamic identity. Khan interviewed fourteen Muslim women about their sense of power, authenticity and place. Her critical analysis challenges the Western perception of Islam as monolithic and static.

Dr. Khan is also a professor in Global Studies and Women’s Studies at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

Her website on Zina Laws can be found at

National Organization For Men?

Cartoon Credit: Toothpaste for Dinner

A Must See - The Shape of Water - now available on DVD!

In an intimate encounter with five very different women in Brazil, India, Jerusalem, and Senegal (narrated by Susan Sarandon with introductory narration co-written by Edwidge Danticat) THE SHAPE OF WATER offers a close look at the far reaching and vibrant alternatives crafted by women in response to environmental degradation, archaic traditions, lack of economic independence and war.

The documentary weaves together the daily life stories of Khady, Bilkusben, Oraiza, Dona Antonia, and Gila who, through candor and humor, infuse their communities with a passion for change.

The women:

  • spearhead rainforest preservation (women working as rubber-tappers in the Brazilian rainforest);
  • sustain a vast co-operative of rural women (India: SEWA: the largest trades union in the world with 700,000 members);
  • promote an end to female genital cutting (FGC) (Senegal: communities abandoning FGC);
  • strengthen opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestine (Women in Black in Jerusalem);
  • maintain a farm, Navdanya (in the foothills of the Himalayas) to further economic independence and biodiversity by preserving women’s role as seed keepers.

By revealing the women’s revolutionary actions THE SHAPE OF WATER offers a unique view of the complex realities faced by these unsung visionaries creating a more just world.

Saturday, March 29

Weekend Fem-links

Photo Credit: Banksy Bombs

2008 Report Card on Status of Women in New Brunswick

When it comes to the numbers on violence against women, there's plenty to be alarmed about.

Almost four in 10 adult offenders convicted of sexual assault in New Brunswick were given conditional sentences in 2005-2006. The rate for Canada was less than two in 10.

Conditional sentences were not as popular for other violent crimes -- it was given to one in 10 adult offenders in our province, one in 20 nationally.

It is one of the more startling statistics in the 2008 Report Card on the Status of Women in New Brunswick published this month by the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Art: Women, power and humour

Tanya Mars, a senior lecturer and program supervisor in visual and performing arts in the Department of Humanities at U of T Scarborough, is among the six winners of this year’s prestigious Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts given for artistic achievement. The awards were announced by the Canada Council for the Arts March 25.

Cited as one of Canada’s most innovative multidisciplinary artists, Mars has been active in the Canadian alternative art scene since the early 1970s. Her dramatic, humorous and satirical works -- ranging from performance through to sculpture and video -- have influenced an entire generation of artists in a career spanning some 30 years. She is a mentor to many emerging artists as an artist, teacher, curator and editor.

“My main interest is to make narratives that put women at the centre as opposed to the periphery. I’m trying to create images, strong images and positive images, of women,” she said in describing her work. “I feel very strongly about being recognized as a feminist, I’m not ashamed of being a feminist and I’m not buying into the backlash of anti-feminism. I think I’ll beat the feminist drum until the day I die. While some of my work my work may not be directly didactic or directly about feminism, I think it is always about making strong images about women.” But she added, “I like to have a healthy dash of humour. So I like to poke fun at my own political dogma and I think it’s important to laugh at yourself. If there were three words that would summarize my interests they would be women, power and humour.”

Her works include Tyranny of Bliss and In Pursuit of Happiness, which has toured Canada and Hot, a performance piece that reflects on middle age. She also edited art magazine Parallelogramme from 1976 to 1989 and is co-editor of Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women.

Monday, March 24

Water, Sanitation and Eco-feminist Action in the 21st Century

I missed posting about International Water Day on March 22 but it's not too late to take part in an online action to tell PM Harper 'Water is for people, not profit' (in case you haven't heard, the "new government" is quietly negotiating away rights to our water)

This year, World Water Day also coincides with the International Year of Sanitation. There is a gender aspect to the issue of water and sanitation in large part - thanks to Eco-feminist Action in the 21st Century

Why Care About Water and Sanitation?

  • More than one billion people in the world do not have clean drinking water.
  • Lack of sanitation is a crisis affecting more than one out of three people on the planet
  • Every 20 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child dies due to poor sanitation conditions
  • Women suffer most from inadequate sanitation. Journeys to defecate in fields or forests, or even to public latrines, can be dangerous.
"...Women play a central role
in the provision, management, and safeguarding of water ...."

"This is one of the four internationally accepted principles of water management. This principle is especially important for the developing world where millions of women lack access to water for their basic needs. "

Sinapalooza '08 - Vatican adds to list of sins

This just in: If you're an obscenely wealthy drug-dealing pedophile stem-cell researcher who drives a Hummer and doesn't recycle, you are totally going to hell. Oh please, like you didn't already know.

The Big Book o' Deadly Sins apparently has a whole new addendum and it looks like it ain't just gluttony and lust and murder and hot porn and witchcraft .... The pope and his posse - or, rather, the Vatican's second in command on matters of hell and penance, Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti - have announced seven new deadly sins for a brave new world.

We can only applaud the Vatican for its efforts to uphold and reinforce global ethical standards with numbers 4 to 7:

4. Polluting the environment
5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
6. Excessive wealth
7. Creating poverty

I, no doubt, will be found guilty of 4 and 5 above. Especially at points in my life when, in youthful ignorance, I bought into the media messages to "buy and consume". Efforts to reform myself later in life will likely not absolve me from going straight to hell in what will be an increasingly crowded handbasket.

There are some sins that are still missing:

Note to the Vatican: You want more true sins? Here are a few on my list:

  • Lying to women is a sin. So is oppression, repression and exclusion of women
  • Pathological hypocrisy is a sin.
  • Half a billion dollars in pedophilia lawsuit payouts is a sin.
  • Homophobia is a sin.
  • Annihilation of aboriginal cultures is a sin
  • The "makeover" culture is a sin (making over our bodies, our faces, our hair, our wardrobes, our teeth, our outlooks, our homes, our closets, our pets and our spouses.)

No Laughing Matter - Margaret Mitchell

The woman who first brought the issue of spousal abuse to the forefront in Canada presents her memoirs

When Margaret arrived in Ottawa in 1979 she was shocked at the male-dominated culture. Fortunately her leader, Ed Broadbent, was a feminist convert, and most of her caucus members were sensitized to women's rights.

An incident in the spring of 1982 brought spousal abuse to the forefront of Parliament and the nation as a whole. Many male Members of Parliament responded callously to my statement that one in ten Canadian women was subjected to spousal abuse. Television cameras captured their outrageous behaviour and my furious response

As Mitchell tells it,
"On May 12th I rose in the House to raise the urgent need for government action on a serious and widespread issue. 'The parliamentary report on battered wives states that one in ten Canadian husbands beat their wives regularly,' I began. Before I could continue, an uproar of male shouts and laughter erupted, making it impossible for me to be heard. A nearby Tory joked, 'I don't beat my wife. Do you, George?' When the Speaker finally got order, I rose again in fury. 'Madam Speaker, I do not think this is a laughing matter. What action will the Minister responsible for the Status of Women undertake immediately at the federal level to protect battered women?'"

LINK: YouTube - Margaret Mitchell a Champion for Head Tax Families

Friday, March 21

March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racism

Since 1966, the 21st of March has been recognized by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The day was chosen by the General Assembly of the United Nations to commemorate the March 21st, 1960 massacre of 69 young students who were demonstrating peacefully in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws".

A further look at the Harper government’s record on human rights and equality makes it obvious that the Conservatives have no interest in fighting racism and discrimination.
In two years of government under the Conservative Party, it has:
  • eliminated the Court Challenges Program,
  • eliminated the Law Reform Commission,
  • scrapped valuable literacy and equity programming to communities, including Aboriginal communities,
  • reduced social development programs under the Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC),
  • reduced programs that facilitate cultural awareness under Multiculturalism,
  • refused to recognize Aboriginal rights in Canada and in the international forum
  • AND..
  • Refused to sign the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • Refused to sign the Optional protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
  • Refused to implement the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which called for stronger measures to eliminate poverty and fight violence.
  • Adopted policies that promote racial profiling by introducing a no-fly list, security certificates and border controls, and by intensifying the removal of refugee claimants.

Today, workers still see the pernicious face of racism on the job, in their communities and in government policies. Recent polls show that as many as 1 in 5 workers feel their employment rights are violated due to racism

Prejudice is the child of ignorance.

~ William Haslitt

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

~ Nelson Mandela

In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

~ M.L.King

Thursday, March 20

An Open Letter to All Feminists: Support Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Women.

Western feminists talk about honor killings and the misogyny of Islam, but hypocritically ignore the legal violence of military occupation.

As feminists and people of conscience, we call for solidarity with Palestinian women in Gaza suffering due to the escalating military attacks that Israel turned into an open war on civilians. This war has targeted women and children,
and all those who live under Israeli occupation in the West Bank, and are also denied the right to freedom of movement, health, and education.

We stand in solidarity with Iraqi women whose daughters, sisters, brothers, or sons have been abused, tortured, and raped in U.S. prisons such as Abu Ghraib. Women in Iraq continue to live under a U.S. occupation that has devastated families and homes, and are experiencing a rise in religious extremism and restrictions on their freedom that were unheard of before the U.S. invasion, "Operation Iraqi Freedom," in 2003.

At this moment in Afghanistan, women are living with the return of the Taliban and other misogynistic groups such as the Northern Alliance, a U.S. ally, and with the violence of continuing U.S. and NATO attacks on civilians, despite the U.S. war to "liberate" Afghan women in 2001.

Full story: AlterNet

Monday, March 17

Nunavut women's groups outraged by cabinet appointment - Human Resources Minister Levi Barnabas convicted of sexual assault in 2000

Women's groups in Nunavut say they are outraged that Levi Barnabas, an MLA convicted eight years ago of sexual assault, was named to cabinet last week.

Barnabas, who represents the High Arctic riding of Quttiktuq, was acclaimed Thursday to fill a cabinet seat vacated by Baker Lake MLA and former finance minister David Simailak.

Premier Paul Okalik has assigned Barnabas the human resources portfolio, as well as made him minister responsible for the Workers' Compensation Board.

The one-time Speaker of the house resigned in 2000 after he pleaded guilty to sexual assault. He was re-elected in 2004.

"I want to see him stepping down and just be a regular MLA," Mary Akpalialuk, the women's co-ordinator with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, told CBC News on Friday.

"It disgusts me when [an] offender like that becomes a minister."

Akpalialuk said she is tired of seeing some male MLAs out drinking and womanizing in Iqaluit, when they are supposed to be role models.

Okalik defended his newest minister, saying it's a free society and Barnabas deserves another chance.

"Mr. Barnabas has served his time for the crime and also been elected by his constituents, who believe that he had cleaned up his act," Okalik said.


Saturday, March 15

Child Care Loses the Game of Fiscal Choices Again

Canada's children barely got a mention in this year's Conservative budget which was noteworthy for its dearth of recognition that Canadians need and value social programs.

Almost 800,000 children in Canada live in poverty. Canada lags behind its peer nations in early childhood education and child care with fewer than 20% of those 0-12 years old able to access regulated child care services.

OECD Report - Starting Strong II

The 2006 OECD report, entitled Starting Strong II, found Canada spending less on early childhood education and care than its European counterparts, and lacking in national co-ordination.

The study placed Canada last among 14 nations, with total expenditures around 0.25 per cent of GDP on education for 0-6-year-olds. This is far behind Nordic countries like countries like Norway, Denmark and Sweden, who all spent over 1.5 per cent of GDP educating the very young, with excellent results.

The Federal Department of Finance has used OECD comparisons to call for more debt reduction but has not chosen to pay heed to the OECD's warnings about the consequences of ignoring early learning and child care nor to its recommendations to Canada calling for substantial increases in public spending.

Masculinist loses defamation suit against "feminist radicals"

F-email Fightback has written previously about the British Columbia Supreme Court challenge where Fathers Rights Activist Ken Wiebe went to trial in his legal suit against "radical feminists" within Status of Women Canada and the Federal Minister responsible for SWC

Well, he lost his defamation suit over a report he said portrayed him as "hate-monger."

Wiebe's name, along with a link to his website, appeared in a 145-page research paper titled School Success by Gender: A Catalyst for the Masculinist Discourse, Policy Research.

The report, originally printed in French in 2003 and later translated into English, was funded by Status of Women Canada, a federal agency.

In his statement of claim, Wiebe listed various examples from the report which he said identified him "as a hate-monger and a danger to women" associated him "with racists, extremists, pedophiles, pornographers and terrorists" and asserted he had "committed criminal offences."

Wiebe also said he thinks the report likely cost him a government contract.

One of the examples Wiebe cited was a cartoon pulled from his website with a swastika with the bars altered to look like Fs atop a baby gesturing with its middle finger captioned: "We are all tired of feminaziism. So stop it, OK?"

How oil keeps women oppressed and isolated

It's a chain of conditions that goes like this: the larger the country's oil revenues, the greater the influx of foreign currency. The greater the influx of foreign currency, the more imports there are. The more imports, the smaller the domestic manufacturing sector.

And it's those low-level, low-paying manufacturing jobs – in textiles, for example – that give women a way to obtain their own money, independence, networks and, most important, political clout.

It's not unlike what happened here in the late 1800s, when women ran most of the sewing machines in the factories. They started to get into schools, unions, political groups and, eventually, pushed for the vote.

But, without jobs, women are isolated, with no money, and easily cowed by patriarchal ideas of their place in society.

That's all according to a provocative new paper by Michael Ross, chair of the International Development Studies program at UCLA.

His Oil, Islam and Women, published in last month's American Political Science Review, takes a sweeping look at all the political and economic variables in oil-producing nations and comes up with one aha! kind of hypothesis.

Women have made less progress towards gender equality in the Middle East than in any other region. Many observers claim this is due to the region’s Islamic traditions. I present evidence that oil, not Islam, is at fault; and that oil production has caused women to lag behind in many other countries. Oil production reduces the number of women in the labor force, which in turn reduces their political influence. As a result, oil-producing states are left with atypically strong patriarchal norms, laws, and political institutions. I illustrate this argument with global data on oil production, female work patterns, and female political representation, and by comparing oil-rich Algeria to oil-poor Morocco and Tunisia. This argument has implications for the study of the Middle East, Islamic culture, the resource curse, and economic development.

Weekend Fem-links

More Fem-Links

  • One of the chief underlying causes of domestic abuse of women by men remains unaddressed - after years of awareness and continuing social activism. We are referring, of course, to the discrepancy that continues to exist between the wage of the average working man and the average working woman.
  • PSAC to appeal Federal Court pay equity decision......this complaint is at the quarter-century mark
  • The Canadian Museum for Human Rights was brought one step closer to reality yesterday, but a rightwing group is up in arms to stop the museum from "championing" homosexuality. REAL Women of Canada sent an action alert to its members about the museum last month. The group calls on its members to flood the museum's online public consultation process with conservative input.
  • Glenise Levendal is ready to return to South Africa, satisfied she’s made an impact.
    The women’s rights advocate is concluding two weeks of talks, meetings, presentations and handshakes in Atlantic Canada, cheering women and their efforts for gender equality and women’s rights.
  • With spring fast approaching it will soon be time for our farming families to begin another planting season. Unfortunately, on most farms, parents have poor or no access to subsidized, affordable, seasonally available child-care options.
  • Canon Linda Church is now in Canada as part of a pioneering investigation of women in church leadership. Feminist theology is developing new understandings on the role of women in the church.

    Thursday, March 13

    10 of the worst countries in the world to be a woman today:

    • Afghanistan: The average Afghan girl will live to only 45 – one year less than an Afghan male. After three decades of war and religion-based repression, an overwhelming number of women are illiterate. More than half of all brides are under 16, and one woman dies in childbirth every half hour. Domestic violence is so common that 87 per cent of women admit to experiencing it. But more than one million widows are on the streets, often forced into prostitution. Afghanistan is the only country in which the female suicide rate is higher than that of males.
    • Democratic Republic of Congo: In the eastern DRC, a war that claimed more than 3 million lives has ignited again, with women on the front line. Rapes are so brutal and systematic that UN investigators have called them unprecedented. Many victims die; others are infected with HIV and left to look after children alone. Foraging for food and water exposes women to yet more violence. Without money, transport or connections, they have no way of escape.
    • Iraq: The U.S.-led invasion to “liberate” Iraq from Saddam Hussein has imprisoned women in an inferno of sectarian violence that targets women and girls. The literacy rate, once the highest in the Arab world, is now among the lowest as families fear risking kidnapping and rape by sending girls to school. Women who once went out to work stay home. Meanwhile, more than 1 million women have been displaced from their homes, and millions more are unable to earn enough to eat.
    • Nepal: Early marriage and childbirth exhaust the country’s malnourished women, and one in 24 will die in pregnancy or childbirth. Daughters who aren’t married off may be sold to traffickers before they reach their teens. Widows face extreme abuse and discrimination if they’re labelled bokshi, meaning witches. A low-level civil war between government and Maoist rebels has forced rural women into guerrilla groups.
    • Sudan: While Sudanese women have made strides under reformed laws, the plight of those in Darfur, in western Sudan, has worsened. Abduction, rape or forced displacement have destroyed more than 1 million women’s lives since 2003. The janjaweed militias have used systematic rape as a demographic weapon, but access to justice is almost impossible for the female victims of violence.
    • Other countries in which women’s lives are significantly worse than men’s include Guatemala, where an impoverished female underclass faces domestic violence, rape and the second-highest rate of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. An epidemic of gruesome unsolved murders has left hundreds of women dead, some of their bodies left with hate messages.
    • In Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries, few women escape the torture of genital mutilation, many are forced into early marriages, and one in 10 dies in pregnancy or childbirth.
    • In the tribal border areas of Pakistan, women are gang-raped as punishment for men’s crimes. But honour killing is more widespread, and a renewed wave of religious extremism is targeting female politicians, human rights workers and lawyers.
    • In oil-rich Saudi Arabia, women are treated as lifelong dependents, under the guardianship of a male relative. Deprived of the right to drive a car or mix with men publicly, they are confined to strictly segregated lives on pain of severe punishment.
    • In the Somali capital, Mogadishu, a vicious civil war has put women, who were the traditional mainstay of the family, under attack. In a society that has broken down, women are exposed daily to rape, dangerously poor health care for pregnancy, and attack by armed gangs.

    “While the potential of women is recognized at the international level,” says World Health Organization director-general Margaret Chan, “this potential will not be realized until conditions improve – often dramatically – in countries and communities. Too many complex factors, often rooted in social and cultural norms, continue to hinder the ability of women and girls to achieve their potential and benefit from social advances.”

    [ Read the original article at ]

    London (On) anti-abortion billboard branded 'misleading, false'

    The billboard, on the south side of Oxford Street between Tim Hortons and the Thames River bridge, suggests otherwise. Accompanied by a side view of a pregnant woman's abdomen and a superimposed image of a fetus, it says: "9 months. The length of time an abortion is allowed in Canada. Abortion. Have we gone too far?"

    "It's misleading, it's false," said Carolyn McLeod, professor of philosophy and women's studies at the University of Western Ontario.

    "Healthy Canadian women are not having abortions seven, eight or nine months into a pregnancy." Only 27 per cent of Canadian hospitals do abortions and no doctor will do one after 24 weeks except for dire health reasons, she said.

    The ad is part of a national campaign, with local organizations paying for billboards in their communities, he said.

    The organization also signed a contract to run pro-life ads on London Transit buses for a year, but they were pulled by agreement after six weeks before Christmas because of complaints and vandalism.

    Wednesday, March 12

    .....pack up your "bread and roses" party paraphernalia...

    How Sexism Works
    Cartoon Link: xkcd

    International Women's week is now over.....pack up your "bread and roses" party's back to reality sisters.....

    Sunday, March 9

    Three cheers for the Raging Grannies - raising their voices

    The Statue of Liberty is a woman of a certain age who wears a hat and robe and stands on an island to proclaim freedom.

    The Raging Grannies are women of a certain age who wear hats and little-old-lady shawls and stand on a traffic island to proclaim their freedom to protest war.

    The Raging Grannies began in Victoria BC

    The Raging Grannies began in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1987, when members of a street theater group rewrote familiar songs to get people thinking about wrongs and rights. Now the Greater Westerly group is one of about 60 “gaggles” in the United States, Canada and Europe, including one in Providence.

    The U.S. Westerly’s Grannies have urged shoppers at the town’s pre-Christmas luminary stroll not to buy war toys, and have sung modified Christmas songs such as “Don’t rest you wealthy gentlefolk, there’s much cause for dismay.”

    They have brought attention to flaws in the U.S. health-care system by singing “The old gray Granny, she ain’t what she used to be.”

    Stein first heard of the Raging Grannies years ago, when her daughter climbed a tree for a protest in British Columbia and the Grannies sang to block the loggers. Stein was delighted to find a group active in Westerly; she had no idea the group had spread beyond Canada.

    LINK: Raging Grannies International
    LINK: Ottawa Raging Grannies
    LINK: Wikepedia - Raging Grannies
    LINK: Vancouver Raging Grannies

    Toronto - The rising of the women is the rising of us all

    "It was an incredible march in the snow."........About 1,000 protesters march for women's equality along Bloor St. W. in Toronto March 8, 2008, in what is believed to be the largest annual event of its kind in North America.


    Women and men march in Montreal to bring attention to International Women's Day, Saturday.

    In Halifax, a crowd of a couple hundred rallied near city hall before marching through the streets with some people chanting, "Women's rights are under attack."

    A cry for women's equality sounded through the streets of downtown Charlottetown Wednesday as nearly 100 people marked International Women's Day with a march.
    "Women still are not making as much as men, they're not advancing into positions of management and power," said Heidi Rankin of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

    And in Ottawa, the local chapter of Equal Voice - a non-partisan group devoted to increasing the number of women in politics hosted a speech by Ellen Bravo, author of "Taking on the Big Boys: Or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business and the Nation."

    In Vancouver, a rally took place in a park in the Downtown Eastside, notorious for its drug use and prostitution, and rarely for the strong sense of community found within it.
    About 50 people gathered for the International Women's Day protest, most of them from social groups in the area.

    CBC video

    Saturday, March 8

    IWD 2008

    For the people hear us singing; "Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses!"

    Photo montage "borrowed" from Yahoo news pics of IWD 2008

    As we go marching marching.....IWD 2008

    Photo montage "borrowed" from Yahoo news pics of IWD 2008

    On the occasion of the 98th International Women's Day....

    In Canada:

    • Being a woman doesn't pay - labour congress says men still make more
    • Canadian Labour Congress launches new campaign and website
    • Hundreds of people gathered at the Manitoba Legislature to mark International Women's Day
    • Women from Saskatchewan's labour movement will react to a new report from the Canadian Labour Congress about women and wages that contradicts recent and continuing claims from the federal Conservative government that Canadian women have achieved equality.
    • CAW Women's Department publishes: Top 10 Reasons Why Harper is Turning Back the Clock on Women's Equality

    Around the World: a time to think of women everywhere:

    • “A Salute to Women’s Resistance” is the perfect slogan for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD), March 8th. Struggle is what this day signifies and what its traditions are all about. That and solidarity with women in struggle worldwide are at the heart of this special day.
    • A women's group in Russia is celebrating in a most interesting way: playing chess using young men from local univesities as pawns, rooks and other figures . The men will wear specially-designed masks and gowns as the women command them around the chess board.
    • On the occasion of International Women's Day, the General Union of Palestinian Women, in collaboration with Palestinian women's institutions, began a march Saturday morning from the heart of Ramallah City.
    • In South Africa, women marched in miniskirts to protest harassment from taxi drivers, the Johannesburg Star reported March 5.
    • Asia marked International Women's Day from Afghanistan to Australia on Saturday with pleas for greater rights and equality for half the region's population.
    • New Zealand women told to behave like ladies not men......arghhhh!
    • In Japan, a rally was scheduled in Osaka to express solidarity with women in Iraq.
    • 1,500 gathered at the Great Hall of the People Beijing
    • Female unionists held a seminar in Kushiro on the northern island of Hokkaido to address the plight of part-time workers and other employees who work irregular hours.
    • In Thailand, a release of the Report on Thailand Gender-Disaggregated Statistics 2008, released earlier this week, Thai women still suffer inequalities and rights violations, despite their having proved that professionally they are on a par with men.
    • Marking IWD in Zimbabwe this year has not been easy
    • Pratibha Patil, the first female president of India, greeted International Women's Day with a call to her sisters to shape their destinies. "Our women folk inspired by Mahatma Gandhi came out of their homes to take part in the freedom struggle," she said. "Beginning with their determined efforts in the days before our freedom, today our women continue to strive to transform the social order into a more just and equal one.
    • The Pakistan People's Party will pay tribute to its slain chairperson Benazir Bhutto on the International Women's Day.
    • On International Women's Day, experts highlight the difficult situation of women in Pakistan - Almost 20 women raped, killed, or fall to suicide every day
    • The Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq sent a message of solidarity through the Global Fund for Women. Sign their petition to End the Genocide of Women in Iraq.
    • Women's Day protest marchers demand Philippine president's resignation
    • Spain celebrates International Women's Day
    • Also announced yesterday was Amnesty International's new report, "Safe Schools" Every Girl's Right" in which the agency called upon governments and school officials across the globe to take action to end violence against girls, specifically in schools where it's prevalent.

    Tuesday, March 4

    Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough”

    “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” is featured in the Atlantic Monthly March issue (available online)

    A Roguish Chrestomathy , who has cancelled her subscription to the Atlantic Monthly piqued my interest on the article....she wrote:

    " the director of circulation and reader services at The Atlantic Monthly. Because really, if I wanted to read the witless contumely of sexist trolls, I could do so for free on the Web; I don't need to pay to have the stuff delivered to my door.....

    ....the burden of Gottlieb’s article, which seems to be that women should abandon romantic views of marriage in favour of more pragmatic ones, and that they should “settle” for whatever sort of husband they can get."

    Being married to a slob who takes you for granted is fun, we swear! Don’t knock it!

    Alternet asks: Why is a publication as prestigious as The Atlantic regularly publishing pieces that perpetuate the most hackneyed female stereotypes?

    A friend of Leslie Blume puts it crudely:

    "When you opt into a marriage of convenience solely because you want the material support, especially when you admit to being repulsed by the man -- that's low-grade prostitution legitimized by a marriage certificate.........

    And furthermore, Gotlieb's argument is unfair to the rest of us women who don't want to be reduced to Desperate Housewives-in-the-making. It shreds our credibility across the board: Emotionally, professionally, and economically. Gottlieb has created yet another ugly division in a generation of women defined not by solidarity but by Mommy Wars and the Opt-Outs-vs-the-Opts-Ins. It's also selfish and presumptuous to impose this worldview on the next generation of daughters, teaching them by example that marriage is based not on emotional commitment but rather by sheerly "market-driven" forces."

    Another forgotten study finds that husbands less likely to share housework than live-in boyfriends

    "Marriage as an institution seems to have a traditionalizing effect on couples — even couples who see men and women as equal," lead author Shannon Davis, a sociology professor at Virginia's George Mason University,

    In all countries, there was a discrepancy in hours of housework among the sexes, with men reporting a mean of 9.41 hours weekly and women 21.13 hours weekly, the study said.

    Maybe a better answer is : Live with him: The case for getting more of the housework done?

    Census 2006

    The latest census data released Tuesday by Statistics Canada suggests:

    • On the divvying up of household tasks: women still continue to contribute more time to rearing kids, doing housework and caring for aging relatives than do men.
    • Since 1996, the share of men participating in housework increased nationally by 3.5 percentage points to 87.9 per cent from 84.4 per cent. The corresponding rate among women held steady at nearly 93 per cent. Look for headlines like "Men Doing More Housework"
    • When it came to long hours of unpaid housework, the gap widened. Almost one in five women spent 30 or more hours taking care of the home in '06, compared to just 7.7 per cent of men
    • A decade ago, 16.9 per cent of women spent 30 hours or more bathing, feeding and otherwise engaging with their kids, compared to 6.2 per cent of men. By 2006, the proportion of women spending long hours care giving decreased to 13.2 per cent, while the proportion of men jumped to 10.4 per cent.
    • The latest census figures show that the proportion of women in the labour force is indeed increasing over time. In 1996, 58.6 per cent of the labour force in Canada were women, compared to 60.5 per cent in 2001 and 61.6 per cent in 2006. The proportion of men has held relatively steady at about 72 per cent over the same period.
    • And when it comes to elder care, the 2006 census shows an even greater disparity between the sexes: 3.9 per cent of women reported spending at least 10 hours a week on elder care, while only 2.2 per cent of men contributed that much time. That's up from 3.1 per cent of women and 1.7 per cent of men in 1996. (Overall, 20.9 per cent of women spent some time per week on elder care in 2006 compared to 15.7 per cent of men that year.)
    • More women (33 per cent) than men (25 per cent) in the 25-34 age group have a university degree.
    • The census found the most popular field of study for male and female post-secondary students was business, management and marketing with one out of every five students choosing to study these areas. Approximately 1,357,200 women graduated in this field compared to just over 801,600 men.

    The census is conducted every five years by Statistics Canada and is based on information filled out by Canadians on May 16, 2006. The data released Tuesday on work and education follows information released earlier on overall population growth, families, age and sex breakdowns of the population, immigration and a look at the country's aboriginal communities.

    The Women's Court of Canada

    The Women's Court is a group of Canadian lawyers, law professors and activists who have decided it's time to get serious about women's equality.

    Now, what's that huffing I hear?

    Must be the great collective scoff from people who think that
    a) feminism is a nasty and this is clearly part of its conspiracy; or b) the battle for women's equality is over, and women are, like, so totally equal in this country.

    But the scoffing is misplaced.

    Sure, most civilized Canadians have a fundamental philosophical belief in gender equality (even if old-school male-chauvinist sexism seems, depressingly, to be on the rise again in our popular culture. And that's another debate). But gender equality is not a fact in Canada's courts, and the repercussions of that implicit inequality are like shock waves in the daily lives of millions of Canadian women.

    It's all about substantive equality, says lawyer Diana Majury, professor in Carleton University's law department and one of the founding members of the Women's Court of Canada. "It's a more complicated notion of equality, but an exciting one."

    As opposed to "formal" equality, "substantive" equality recognizes the effect on women of their own biology and accumulated social disadvantage, acknowledging that laws and policies can affect them differently than they do men -- and then correcting that imbalance.

    So here's what the Women's Court has done.

    It's rewritten six key decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of Canada -- decisions with powerful impact, in different ways, on the lives of women. It's looked carefully at the Supreme Court's "because I said so," and, in scrupulous legal detail, asked, "But why?"

    It has, in short, honoured the legacy of Nellie McClung and those four other famous women nearly 80 years ago who refused to accept a Supreme Court ruling that women could not be legally recognized as "persons," and fought tooth and nail (and all the way to London) until they were.

    So three cheers....

    • So three cheers for that gutsy bunch of legal-minded Canadian women who have decided to fix what they can in the area they know best.
    • Three cheers for all those open minds, male and female, who are willing to listen to what the Women's Court of Canada has to say.
    • And three cheers for all unabashed subversives who refuse to take "because I said so" for an answer.

    International Women's Week Events Coast to Coast to Coast

    Monia Mazigh spoke to an audience at an International Women's Week event at Nipissing University.

    She shared her experiences as a woman, a Muslim and an immigrant to kick off week-long events for International Women's Week.

    Status of Women Canada estimates that about one in five women and girls in Canada were born outside the country.

    During her speech, Mazigh said immigrants are politically aware when they arrive in Canada, but they're disappointed because they don't feel represented in public service, schools and hospitals.

    Tunisian-born Mazigh emigrated to Canada 17 years ago and recalls how her Montreal neighbourhood had 75 immigrant groups all sharing their hopes and concerns about starting a life in Canada, never having to learn French or English and able to go to a doctor who speaks their language.

    There is no immediate harm in this, Mazigh said, but they're excluded from the mainstream and the opportunity to participate.

    Mazigh's husband was the Syrian-born Canadian who was detained in New York and deported to Syria in 2002 where he was imprisoned and tortured on false allegations of terrorist links.

    She successfully pressured the Canadian government to hold a public inquiry into his deportation.

    Both received honorary doctorates of letters from Nipissing University in June.

    Monday, March 3

    “Patriarchy forces boys into a state of profound emotional disconnection from self and others.”

    Briarpatch writes that Men’s social conditioning takes a tremendous toll on not just their relationships, but also on their health. Those who want this to change, Calvin Sandborn argues, will have to come to terms with the concept of patriarchy-and with their own emotions.

    Patriarchy’s rulebook

    From the time he is about five, a boy is told to repress his feelings if he wants to be a “real boy.” In his 1999 book Real Boys, William Pollack identified the four great imperatives that society presses upon boys:

    • Never show weakness. Men should be stoic and stable.
    • No “sissy stuff.” Don’t express feelings or “feminine” dependence, warmth or empathy. Be cool. If you must show emotion, show anger.
    • Give ‘em hell. Be tough, macho, take risks.
    • Be a Big Wheel. Achieve status, dominance and power. There are only winners and losers-don’t be a loser.
    Indeed, the cost of traditional masculinity is high. It destroys men's health and hearts:

    • The life span of the average man is approximately six years shorter than that of the average woman.
    • Men commit suicide at a rate four times that of women.
    • Two thirds of all alcoholics are men, and 80 per cent of those with alcohol-induced liver disease are men.
    • Virtually all stress-related diseases, from hypertension to heart disease, are more common in men than in women.
    • Men’s heart disease and cardiovascular disease death rates are about twice as high as women’s, prior to old age.
    • Twice as many men die from accidents as women, and three times as many die from homicides-usually at the hands of other men.
    • Being male is the single largest risk factor for early death. Before age 50, for every 10 premature female deaths, 16 men die prematurely. If male death rates dropped to the female rate, one third of all male deaths under age 50 would not take place.

    Read the entire story at Briarpatch

    Link to previous post on F-email Fightback: Male privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks. The Male Privilege Checklist

    Monday Links

    In the March/April 2008 issue of Briarpatch the writers embark on a decidedly anti-essentialist exploration of gender politics, covering everything from feminist homeschooling to feminist porn to partiarchy’s harmful effects on men’s health.

    Nova Scotia Liberals passed a resolution Sunday calling for the province to pay for sex-change operations. The measure, which is non-binding, was the most contentious by far of the 18 resolutions adopted by Liberals during their annual general meeting in Halifax. The motion passed 80-48.

    More on Sharon McIvor’s fight for gender equality in the Indian Act. “any Indian woman marrying any other than an Indian, shall cease to be an Indian”

    The Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Councils on the Status of Women has produced a publication that Canadian Women Should Expect Equality Every Day

    Some historical perspectives on women's equality in P.E.I. is well worth a visit

    The “Unborn Victims of Crime act” (scheduled for a Parliamentary vote on March 5) is not only a foot-in-the-door to recriminalize abortion, it would also endanger the rights of all pregnant women, and violate women’s equality rights in general. Please check out the 14 Talking Points on the dangers of this bill. ...
    Anyone not appalled by this piece of video should NOT be reading this website!

    “Marry Him” was such a reprehensible lapse of editorial judgement, that some folks are revoking their subscriptions to the Atlantic Monthly

    Sunday, March 2

    Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff

    From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.

    The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

    View the GREAT video here

    TEASER #1

    Saturday, March 1

    Weekend reading...Fem-links...

    • Quebec Lesbian couple finally has a family with the adoption of two tots. A film documents their long struggle. Watch a sneak peak of the documentary on YouTube (6 min)

    • ‘Is women-only space conducive to the aims of feminism?’ ........ ‘oh, but what about the men?’

    • Budgets are fundamentally political instruments. They reflect clearly who in society is winning, who is losing, and who is left standing still..... (read child care, pharmacare, women's equality...yadayadayada....)

    • If "A government monitors what it considers important" then whassup with N.B. women's council report that says women are STILL under-represented on government boards?

    • What about the corporate boardroom? They're graduating with MBAs in increasing numbers and working diligently to climb that corporate ladder. But something is going wrong.

    • A prominent organization representing First Nation women is dismayed that the British Columbia Government will not pushing for a second trial involving Robert Pickton for the deaths of 20 women.

    • A recent three-day, Ontario government-funded conference, brought together 850 police, health care and community workers to raise awareness, dialogue and seek solutions to the problem of violence against women.

    • Women must participate in all aspects of climate change debate, in particular decision-making on adaptation, mitigation, say speakers in women's commission

    • Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard the case of Honda v. Kevin Keays, a wrongful dismissal case dealing with the appropriate compensation for discrimination and harassment for employees with disabilities. One of the interveners in the case is Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), which has been kind enough to post its factum on its website. LEAF’s interest in Honda stems from the reality that the decision will have particular importance for women who experience sexual harassment and sex discrimination at work.

    • The Independent reports on the release of a new study by NGO Womankind called "Afghan Women and Girls Seven Years On". (See Womankind's "Five Years On" report here; so far the new report doesn't seem to be online.) The report says that life is just as bad for most, and even worse in some cases...

    • Ottawa quashed safety regulators to restart a potentially risky nuclear reactor, imperilling its citizens for the benefit of a private company, despite the availability of backup isotope supplies from abroad...we're so suprised....Will the Tories admit that they fired Ms. Keen in order to pave the way for the privatization of AECL?"

    • In order to change the lives of women, the world needs to be changed, but also, in order to change the world, the lives of women need to be changed. Both at the same time and right now!

    March 8 - New CLC Campaign!!

    On March 8, International Women's Day, the Canadian Labour Congress is launching a women's economic equality campaign – “Equality! Once and For All!”

    An exciting year-long campaign, the CLC will use every opportunity to raise awareness about the lack of attention paid by politicians, employers and the media to the growing economic inequality of women, through the use of creative and innovative tactics.

    By mobilizing union women to talk with their union sisters and brothers, with their families, the public, media, and politicians at all levels of government, this campaign will focus on important solutions; solutions like belonging to a union, creating an accessible, affordable, public child care system, minimum wage reform, pay equity, improving Employment Insurance, CPP, OAS and GIS. We know that these solutions are key to closing the wage gap between working men and women.

    After twenty-five years of progress, the gap between the average wages of Canadian men and women have stopped narrowing and is now growing. Women workers of colour, Aboriginal women and women with disabilities face even greater economic disadvantages.

    Help our campaign gain momentum throughout the year. Consider how you can incorporate this campaign into your union's or federation's work on equality throughout the year, up to and including March 8, 2009. There are many opportunities and ways to contribute.

    Teach-ins are already have scheduled in over 30 communities across Canada. The number is growing daily. Visit the pages in this section of our website to learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved locally.

    Contact our Women's Economic Equality campaign coordinators at 613-526-7424 or by email at for ways in which your union or federation can contribute to the success of this campaign.

    For more information visit:

    Monday, February 25

    No F-word Blog Award :-(

    It's okay.....we're just having a moment here.....some great blogs didn't even make it to the "runners up" list.....(heavy sigh)

    It's all good (sniff, sniff).....we would like to thank our jenny and godammitkitty........You both ROCK!!

    Keep on bloggin' in the free world!!

    'Most important struggle' is gender equality: Lewis

    War, poverty and even the spread of disease can be traced back to gender inequality, both in Canada and abroad -- and solving the problem starts with teachers.

    That was the message from Stephen Lewis, the speaker, activist and politician who addressed the Waterloo unit of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association during a professional development day at RIM Park yesterday.

    Lewis's talk comes on the heels of a safe schools conference this week in Toronto where school board officials admitted teen girls increasingly see sexual violence as normal.

    A recent report from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that as many as a third of Grade 9 girls in Southwestern Ontario have experienced sexual harassment or assault.

    In some places, like Eastern Congo, rape has become a strategy of war.

    Sunday, February 24

    Pre-2008 Budget - Women Call For New Budget Priorities

    Women across the country are calling for new government priorities that reflect the realities they face, not the Conservative cuts to programs that have characterized government action in the past year.

    "Budgets are all about choices," says Pamela Cross, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for YWCA. "The federal government can choose to continue down the same destructive path that favours cuts to critical programs and funding of questionable wars, or it can choose balanced funding that responds to real needs of Canadian women and their families."

    Women Are Being Left Out In The Cold

    It is clear that Canadian women are being left out in the cold by the federal government's current strategy. Instead of choosing more of the same approach that ignores the well-known realities of women, the Harper government would do well to finally set the kind of budget priorities that would deliver substantial benefits to Canadian women and their families:

    • Affordable housing. With 1.5 million Canadian households (many with children) at risk of homelessness, the time for a National Housing Policy with supporting federal funding is long overdue.
    • High-quality, affordable, accessible child care. Over the last three years, more than $2 billion in federal child-care funding has flowed into a virtual accountability void. Less than 20% of Canada's children and families have access to regulated early learning and child care services. Fees have gone up and families are struggling to find care for their children in the current patchwork system. The government must restore multi-year federal funding for childcare through dedicated capital transfers to community-based, not-for- profit childcare services to assure that child care is available for all children and families that need or want it.
    • Accessible post-secondary education. Unmanageable student debt risks making post-secondary education a luxury that is out of reach for most women. In addition to restoring and increasing federal funding transfers to the provinces, this budget must clearly articulate a plan for moving Canada's expensive and unfair student loan system to a grants-based funding formula.
    • A commitment to women's equality. Increase Status of Women Canada's budget to $50 million and the re-open regional offices and improve training of government departments on gender-based analysis. Increase funding to the Women's Program at Status of Women Canada to provide grants to women's organizations that provide research and advocate for women's interests. Appoint a Gender Equality Commissioner to ensure that Canada fully upholds its equality commitments under domestic and international law.

    This government refuses to acknowledge the heavy costs of tax cuts and military spending. By cutting taxes, bankrolling a war and funneling public funds into debt reduction, the Harper government is choosing family instability, homelessness, student debt, and gender inequality in Canada. It is no wonder that there was a 9.5% "gender gap" in the Conservative vote during January 2006 election - women do not trust Conservative priorities.

    It's time !!

    It's time for women's voices to be heard and for families to become the true priority in government spending - what's good for women is good for everyone.

    Founded in 2006, the Ad-Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality and Human Rights is a group of over 25 regional and national women's organizations that have come together to monitor and advocate for federal government leadership on gender equality in Canada.

    Disponible en francais
    For further information
    : Cathy Tilsley, The Ad-Hoc Coalition for Women's
    Equality and Human Rights, (613) 355-7842