All Posts Tagged With: "women"
Some say assault response too focused on fear
VANCOUVER – Women at the University of British Columbia are being urged to stay safe, don’t walk alone at night, carry a whistle, ask for a late-night escort.
But some on the campus gripped by worry over the presence of an apparent serial sex attacker are questioning why there isn’t more focus on condemning the crime in the first place.
Despite the good intentions of campus security to inform women of measures to protect themselves, the emphasis seems to be falling on only women, said Anisa Mottahed, manager of the Sexual Assault Support Centre at UBC.
“It’s not speaking to the population in a way that I think it should be,” said Mottahed. “So instead of focusing on the fear piece, looking at the collective responsibility piece is a little more important.”
Billionaire’s comments renew debate on female engineers
Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla, co-founder of PayPal, CEO of SpaceX and Hyperloop dreamer, once told Maclean’s he didn’t attend the University of Waterloo because there were more women at Queen’s, a fact he repeated recently in an interview with Queen’s alumni magazine:
“It was a close call for me between Waterloo and Queen’s. I was going to do physics and engineering at Waterloo, but then I visited the campus… and, you may not want to print this… but there didn’t seem to be any girls there! So, I visited Queen’s, and there were girls there. I didn’t want to spend my undergraduate time with a bunch of dudes.”
It sparked a discussion on the social site Reddit and an unexpected official response from Waterloo. In a YouTube video, a campus recruiter leans in and addresses Musk. “You’re right. In the 1990s, our women were significantly outnumbered by a bunch of dudes, as you put it, and we’re sorry for that. I’ll let you in on a little secret though. We may have had one or two women you missed.” She then adds, “we’ve spruced the place up,” and the camera cuts to a recruiter spritzing promotional materials with perfume. She then tours the campus and happens upon Canadian Federation of Engineering Students president Lisa Belbeck, Canada Research Chair Susan Tighe, Engineering Dean Pearl Sullivan and other notable females. The message: Waterloo is welcoming to women.
But the video has offended some who say it makes light of the fact that there are still relatively few women in engineering. Indeed, the proportion in undergraduate programs has stayed stubbornly low. It was 16.1 per cent in 1991, hit 20.6 per cent in 2001 and fell to 17.7 per cent in 2011. Filzah Nasir, a second-year student, pointed this out in a commentary criticizing Musk and the video that was printed in the Iron Warrior, Waterloo’s engineering newspaper. “Musk made a decision to attend a university where he would have a better chance of meeting women,” she writes, “because, of course, men go to university to learn, and women go to university so men can have something pretty to look at.” It goes on to say Waterloo should be “embarrassed” that their program is 81.5 per cent male and that sexism is prevalent, evidenced by posters that “terrorized” women two years ago. They showed Marie Curie and said women scientists would “nuke the whole Planet.”
The video hasn’t gone over well with some commentators on Reddit or YouTube either, where some suggest it was made by a feminist “who can’t take a joke” and others criticize the quality.
Belbeck thinks the video has been mostly misinterpreted. “It was to poke fun at what Elon said and people are taking it too seriously,” she says, pointing to the scene where recruiters spray perfume on promotional materials. While she won’t speak for other women, she says she hasn’t experienced sexism at Waterloo and wasn’t offended by either Musk’s words or the video. “I thought it was fun.”
“Peeping toms” reported on campuses from coast to coast
Police in Waterloo, Ont. arrested a 31-year-old non-student on Thursday and charged him with voyeurism after he was, “observed using a cell phone to take video of unsuspecting females as they used a staircase on the campus.”
It wasn’t an isolated incident at Waterloo, nor are “peeping toms” rare on Canadian campuses. During the last school year there were at least half-a-dozen media reports of men filming, photographing or otherwise spying on female students from New Brunswick to British Columbia.
Multiple students reported a man lurking in the women’s washroom at Toronto’s York University.
Females dominate in childcare, nursing, admin. assisting
Canada has become a perplexing nation of high education — one in which women have dramatically surpassed men in their schooling, but remain congregated in traditional pink ghettos when it comes to the world of work.
Nearly two-thirds of the adult population reported having post-secondary qualifications in 2011, according to the latest release of data Wednesday from Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey, the replacement for the cancelled long-form census.
That’s up from 60.7 per cent in 2006, and a stunning turnaround from the four per cent of Canadians who had a university education in 1961.
By gender, 64.8 per cent of working-age women now have a post-secondary education, compared with 63.4 per cent of men. It’s the first time females have bypassed males in overall educational attainment. And the gender gap grows by leaps and bounds as the level of education increases.
Far more working-age women than men now hold university degrees — a fact especially true for the younger generation, and even more so in the field of medicine. Females make up 62.2 per cent of the adults aged 25 to 34 with a medical degree — a dramatic shift from previous generations. Among adults aged 55 to 64, only a quarter of doctors are female.
Experts discuss how to improve equality at the top
While the number of women enrolled in higher education and hired as staff in universities is rising worldwide, the pace of this change and shift in attitude toward women leaders of universities is not happening quickly enough.
Five women who want to speed up equality gathered on Thursday at the Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education at the University of Toronto for a panel discussion entitled Majority in enrolment, minority in leadership: expanding the coverage on women.
Zukiswa Kekana, a doctoral student from New York University, told the audience that a greater number of women are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs and are shifting from predominantly studying the social sciences to a more broad array of disciplines like health sciences.
UBC-O student died after taking pills
The popular birth-control pills Yaz and Yasmin have been linked to the deaths of at least 23 Canadian women —the youngest just age 14, Health Canada documents say.
The deaths are among about 600 adverse reactions reported among women taking the contraceptives between 2007 and Feb. 28 of this year, Health Canada confirmed Tuesday.
Doctors and pharmacists who submitted the reports to the Canada Vigilance Program said Yaz and Yasmin are suspected in the 23 deaths. The reports say most of the women died suddenly after developing blood clots, a known risk with the pills.
Since 2007, Health Canada said the program has received reports of adverse reactions among 333 women taking Yasmin and 267 women prescribed Yaz.
What students are talking about today (April 1st)
1. In a letter to the editor of a campus newspaper, a Princeton University alumna whose sons now attend the Ivy Leage school, has told female students, “forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out. Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate.” Susan A. Patton says that Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s suggestion that women “lean in” to advance in their careers is missing the point. Here’s a sample of the controversial letter from the Daily Princetonian:
I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless. Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.
You can imagine the reaction this caused over the weekend. “What an excruciatingly retro understanding of relationships she has,” wrote Susan O’Connor of Nymag.com, to which Patton responded in The Huffington Post, “honestly, it was intended as little more than honest advice from a Jewish mother.” It’s rare that such views make it into print, so I’m certain we’ll hear more on this.
Prof. Pettigrew: Children are a choice after all.
As a progressive man, I see the value in diversity in the academic workforce. I also understand that reasonable employers should take reasonable steps to accommodate the particular needs of those employees. And sometimes that means taking a person’s family situation into account. But more and more, women in academia have lost sight of what’s reasonable when it comes to those kinds of allowances.
A recent article in University Affairs, for instance, reports on a study by Shelley Adamo who argues that women are underrepresented as biologists because they tend to be seeking jobs when they “are in their late 20s and early 30s and more likely to have a partner and young children. ‘That sort of handicaps them,’” according to Dr. Adamo.
Campuses divided on best approach
Up to one in four female students is sexually assaulted during university, according to the University of Alberta Health Centre. While there’s wide support for fighting gender-based violence, campuses are divided over who should provide the support and who should pay for it.
Some university clinicians want help to come from professionals in campus clinics, while some students want universities to also pay for peer-based support networks run by students. Meanwhile, some student unions, funded by mandatory fees, have taken up the prevention and support role at some schools.
The debate is playing out at Concordia University where a group called the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy (named after their main location at 2110 de Maisonneuve Blvd.) argues the university should provide funding for a student-run sexual assault centre to complement its health and counseling services. Bianca Mugyenyi, the 2110′s campaign coordinator, says that peer-based support is a model that’s worked well across Canada.
Women banned, Niki Minaj, “oversharing” and Jack Layton
1. Iran has banned women, who make up 60 per cent of its university students, from 77 subjects including accounting, engineering and pure chemistry. At the University of Tehran, forestry and mathematics are off limits too. Last year, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad considered segregating men and women entirely on campuses. Could this new ban be punishment for all the women who protested his apparent election fraud in 2009?
2. An Oklahoma high school valedictorian was denied her diploma because she said the word “hell” during her commencement speech and then refused to apologize. Kaitlin Nootbaar quoted a commencement speech from the Twilight series film Eclipse. “I quoted, ‘They ask us now what we want be and we say who the hell knows,’” she told The Toronto Star. She meant to say “heck.”
Scaachi Koul: it’s more depressing to hear this girl complain
When I graduated last month, everyone told me that it was the beginning of the rest of my life. This, they told me, was when it would all start becoming really difficult, and it would show what I was made of. I would come into my own.
But why didn’t anyone tell me I wouldn’t get everything I waaaaaaaaaaant?
Taylor Cotter, a 22-year-old American writer and editor, already has a job, an apartment, a 401k and financial autonomy from her parents. But she’s sad. She’s sad because things are working out for her. Cotter, you see, never had to struggle for her success the way others have had to. From her blog post on The Huffington Post:
Female butchers are still rare
With displays filled with duck confit, wild boar and dry-aged beef, Olliffe is one of Toronto’s most drool-worthy butcher shops. The head butcher is usually behind the counter, fearlessly sharpening knives without looking and effortlessly trimming perfectly symmetrical steaks.
Erica Jamieson isn’t just Olliffe’s head butcher, she’s also the only female employee. At 27, she co-manages a staff of 12 men, some of whom have been butchering for nearly as long as she’s been alive. “When people enter a butcher shop, they expect to see the big European man with the cleaver and hairy arms,” she says. “I kind of fell into it.”
Communist League weighs in
The planned men’s centre at Simon Fraser University has a new critic. The Young Communist League of Canada told Nexus student newspaper at Camosun College that while women need a centre on campus because of “systemic barriers,” men should not have their own space.
Jeff McCann, university relations officer of the Simon Fraser Student Society, disagrees: “That attitude is part of the problem in society. I believe that this place should exist, and that it is nobody’s right to deny men of a service that many experts and students believe to be a valuable idea.”
Seed money for a man-only space was included in the April budget of the SFSS. To read Maclean’s columnist Emma Teitel’s take on the fervent opposition to the funding, click here.
Brigette DePape on the Power of Youth
Brigette DePape was a uniformed Senate page when she made herself an instant symbol of youth protest nearly a year ago by silently holding a handmade “Stop Harper” sign on the floor of the upper chamber during the reading of the Conservative government’s Throne Speech. Since then, she’s been travelling the country meeting with activist groups, and this week the 22-year-old launches Power of Youth, a collection of essays she co-edited on activism.
Q: You went from unknown to icon awfully quickly. Did you ever ﬁnd the transition intimidating?
A: To be honest, I was really scared when I took the action. The hardest part was that moment of, “Should I do this?” I could either stand back and watch as the government was eroding our social services and destroying our environment or I could do something. I was scared about my parents’ reaction, my family’s reaction. But then I really thought about the people who are impacted by Harper—women, indigenous people and workers. That really gave me strength and the feeling that I’m part of something bigger.
Q: How did your parents react?
A: My dad was really critical of the action. My parents want what’s best for me and all that, and I respect that. So they were concerned—“How are you going to pay the rent?” and that kind of thing. But then there was a real sense from my sisters that they were proud of me. I do feel a lot of support from my family. That’s huge and really important to me. To be honest, I think my dad is coming around.
Simon Fraser students debate gender-exclusive spaces
Keenan Midgley played basketball, soccer, baseball and football. But it isn’t his athletic skill that has made him well-known on campus in Burnaby, B.C. It’s the budget he’s written as treasurer of the Simon Fraser Student Society.
The fifth-year accounting student added funding that will carve out a special space on campus for guys. The men’s centre, assuming the budget passes a final vote, will get $30,000 next year. That’s the same amount that the women’s centre, started in 1974, will receive.
The pending creation of the men-only space is the source of much discussion at Simon Fraser University. Since the news broke in April, many students have questioned whether the men deserve funding. Along with that, a debate has emerged over whether women—who make up 55 per cent of undergraduate students at SFU—still need their own women-only space.
But perhaps not the way you’d expect
By 1991, women surpassed men to make up the majority of graduating classes in Canada. By 2006, they earned roughly 60 per cent of degrees, reported Statistics Canada.
The shift inspired questions (hand wringing, really) about whether educated women will choose careers over marriage, leading to the smaller families and the end of civilization as we know it.
Well, women can now relax—depending on where they live. Taken together, two new studies suggest that education is related to marriage rates, but differently than you may currently believe.
Regina prof’s revelation highlights students in the sex trade
A University of Regina professor who worked as an escort when she was a master’s student many years ago has shared her story with CBC News.
Jean Hillabold, now an English instructor, says she’s speaking out because she wants to draw attention to the debate over sex trade regulation.
But in doing so, she’s also highlighted the fact that some students and university graduates work in prostitution, erotic dancing and pornography to pay their bills.
Now: Gender Studies
Memorial University’s Department of Women’s Studies will officially become the Department of Gender Studies on Aug. 31. Katherine Side, the department head, told today.mun.ca that the name change, which has been discussed since 2005, better reflects the diverse work the department already does. “We are pleased to join 28 other Canadian universities that include gender in one form or another in their undergraduate and graduate degree program titles,” she added.
University strikes task force after second alleged assault
Boston University has created a task force to study the “culture and climate” of its men’s hockey team after a second player was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a female student.
Max Nicastro, 21, a BU Terriers defenceman and Detroit Red Wings draft pick, was charged on Feb. 19 with two counts of rape.
That came after the Dec. 11 arrest of former teammate and Toronto-bred centre Corey Trivino, 21, who allegedly forced his way into a student’s room and groped her against her will. Trivino has pleaded not guilty.
BU president Robert A. Brown said in a statement Thursday that the task force reflects “a University-level judgment that the two incidents indicate something systemic or habitual may foster a team climate that does not comport with the highest standards of conduct we seek to maintain…”
Follows years of student lobbying
After years of lobbying from students, Carleton University has announced that the school will open a support centre for victims of sexual assault. Advocates began pushing for a crisis support centre in 2007 after an attack in a school lab. But the university resisted the creation of a separate centre, arguing it offered sufficient support through counselling and medical services.
Then, at least three sexual assaults on women were reported on campus last fall, raising the volume on the demands emanating from the Coalition for a Carleton Sexual Assault Support Centre, a group of volunteers who run an unofficial victims’ campus hotline from eight a.m. to midnight.
Linda Capperauld, director of equity services for Carleton, told the Ottawa Citizen Tuesday that the administration will run the new centre in Robertson Hall. It may open as early as September.