Saturday, June 26, 2010

This Week...

Gloria Steinem and Jessica Valenti continue to eloquently clarify feminism's tenets to those confused by recent politically-motivated appropriation.

The construction of virginity erases queer experience.

Into Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size? Check out these two podcasts. Or you could just enjoy some writing on the matter.

Sexism got you down? Don't know where to turn? Feminist Hulk is sure to inspire!

*Bonus: this ain't recent but it sure is funny.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Poll says a majority of Canadians disagree with Harper's anti-abortion stance on the International Maternal Health Initiative

Less than 2 months after the largest pro-life rally Ottawa has ever seen (according to the Toronto Star), a poll conducted by Ipsos Reid shows that approximately 56% of Canadians are against Harper's anti-abortion stance concerning the international maternal health initiative. The results were published just two days before Canada's initiative is to be presented at the G8 summit in Toronto.

Without more information it's a little hard to say what exactly this means. However, one thing that comes through loud and clear is that more than half of those surveyed realize that abortion is a necessary component of a comprehensive approach to improving maternal health. The WHO said as part of its Global Strategy on Reproductive Health in 2004,

As a preventable cause of maternal mortality and morbidity, unsafe abortion must be dealt with as part of the MDG on improving maternal health and other international development goals and targets.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Welcome to the Women's Independence Network Blog!

Welcome! We are the Women's Independence Network, an Ottawa-based, non-profit organization dedicated to raising women's rights issues to the public consciousness in and around the National Capital Region - and hopefully across Canada one day. We were initially inspired by the American organization the Younger Women's Task Force, and decided that we wanted to create a Canadian equivalent. Thus, the Women's Independence Network (WIN) was born.

Now, to get a few things out of the way. First: we are a feminist organization and we wear that label proudly. Before you go thinking that we hate men and want women to rule the world, we'd like to clear that up. Contrary to popular belief, feminists do not hate men. We are not seeking to create a new world order where women are all-powerful and men are our slaves. The purpose of our organization is to promote gender equality, create dialogue, and to change society's attitudes towards the contemporary women's movement.

One of the most often-heard arguments against modern feminism is that it isn't needed. However, gender equality is still surprisingly lacking, even in 21st Century Canada. This shouldn't be the case. It's been 91 years since all women in Canada were granted the vote (70 years in Quebec). It's been 41 years since life-saving abortion was legalized across Canada, and 22 years since the historic R. v. Morgentaler case, in which the provision that the pregnancy must be a threat to the woman's life or health was necessary in order for an abortion to be approved. Despite all this progress, we still have a mess of pay equality laws, which are not enforced universally across Canada; women are still seen as second-class citizens in the eyes of many; and Ottawa women's shelters are overcrowded and have to turn away a number of women every day. This is not to mention the pressure placed on women to be perfect, whether that refers to how they act, how they look, or even how they think, or that disordered eating is a widespread, serious issue for Canadian women. Women make up less than 20% of our federally elected politicians, despite making up slightly more than half the population in Canada, and too many media representations of women are, to say the least, unfavourable.

This isn't a pity party. This is a wake-up call to women and men in Ottawa that feminism is, in fact, still relevant and necessary. In Canada and around the world, a new generation of feminists is working to inspire change in the law and in the global consciousness. We're ready to take on Ottawa, and we hope you are, too.