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Sophie Grégoire ignites controversy on Women’s Day

Sophie Grégoire ignites controversy on Women’s Day

On Wednesday, March 8, the world celebrated another International Women’s Day. The theme for this year was #BeBoldForChange, calling on the masses to create a more inclusive, gender-equal world for everyone. Controversy arose however, when the Prime Minister of Canada’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, suggested on social media that women celebrate their male allies. The Facebook post read:

Are you ready to ignite change? This week, as we mark International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect, and who aren’t afraid to speak up in front of others. Take a picture holding hands with your male ally & share it on social media using the hashtag #TomorrowInHand. Together, we can create a movement that inspires more men to join the fight to build a better tomorrow with equal rights & opportunities for everyone… because #EqualityMatters.

In response to the backlash she received over the post, Sophie said to media that the post was intended to encourage men, women and boys to “hold hands in the fight for equality”. Read the story here.

I’m not so narrow-minded as to have missed the point Sophie was trying to make but I have to respectfully disagree with her post. I encourage male allies to engage in conversation concerning feminism but as an influential woman, Sophie suggesting a “celebration” of male allies on International Women’s Day, was in bad taste at the very least.

If Sophie wanted to encourage men and women to hold hands in the fight, perhaps a better approach would have been to address the male audience and suggest that they hold their significant other’s hand and celebrate her accomplishments, rather than celebrate that there are men who agree with treating women like human beings.

Tell me what your thoughts are on Sophie’s post.

 

Casey Affleck and the normalization of workplace harassment

Casey Affleck and the normalization of workplace harassment

Casey Affleck, younger brother of A-list star, Ben Affleck, took home the title of Best Actor at the Academy Awards on Sunday for his role in Manchester by the Sea. The win immediately spurred controversy as Affleck is accused of sexually harassing multiple female coworkers while making his 2010 mockumentary, I’m Still Here. One of the unsettled lawsuits involve Affleck climbing into bed with a woman while she was asleep and unaware.

We expect that anyone in violation of workplace harassment rules will be disciplined accordingly, whether that be re-educated or removed from their position. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case and scenarios like Affleck winning an Oscar maintain and enforce the normalization of sexual harassment and violence against women.

In a study conducted by Associates of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), 54 per cent of employees say they have been subject to some type of sexual harassment in the workplace, 79 per cent of those surveyed were women.

These incidents are often unreported and regularly disregarded as being in mere “jest”, the victim being silenced or accused of lacking humour. At any rate, sexual harassment, whether verbal or physical, is ignored in spite of strict legislation put in place to protect workers.

Casey Affleck accepting his Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards.

Affleck’s win affirms some of our greatest fears: sexual harassment is not taken seriously in the workplace and even a man in the spotlight with publicly known lawsuits will still be awarded.

The allegations against Affleck, while not yet proven in court, are indicative of an issue that happens in workplaces worldwide. some are arguing that the allegations should not interfere with his talent as an actor or director.

To be clear, Casey Affleck’s Oscar win is not a story of just a male actor with money getting away with harassment. His win is just one example of a larger issue that happens in grocery stores, office settings, warehouses and arguably any other workplace you can imagine. Casey Affleck should not be given the benefit of “being an actor”. He is a man who sexually harassed coworkers at work, an issue for which there should be zero tolerance in any capacity in any workplace.

 

 

The price of pink: class action lawsuit filed in response to “pink tax”

The price of pink: class action lawsuit filed in response to “pink tax”

The money we spend on everyday hygiene products often goes unnoticed as they’re items we deem necessary to purchase. However, would you think twice about the products you’re buying if others were purchasing the same items for significantly less money?

This is common when comparing the prices of men and women’s hygiene products. Women are often paying higher prices for everyday products like razors, shaving cream, deodorant, hair products and body wash, a phenomenon known as the “pink tax”.

Dove is a product of Unilever, one of the companies named in the pending class action lawsuit against companies and retailers who have gender discriminatory pricing.

A Montreal woman is in the process of filing a class action lawsuit against companies that make these products and the retailers that sell them for their gender discriminating prices. Some of the companies named in the lawsuit include: Unilever Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, Loblaws and Metro. The damages could potentially add to over $100 million. Read the full CBC story here.

A study by Parsehub, revealed that on average, women are paying 43% more for hygiene products than men do. The study looked at 3,191 personal care products from three major Canadian retailers and found this to be consistent among almost all products.

Add to this that men are also receiving more product per bottle of hygiene product or stick of deodorant than women receive yet they are still paying less. HealthSnap.ca compared prices of common men’s and women’s hygiene products, the amount of product per item and the price. For example, Men’s Speed Stick containing 70 g of product, costs $4.89 but Lady Speed Stick for 65 g of product costs $6.89.

I personally have resorted to buying razors marketed toward men instead of purchasing the pink bag from the same brand only feet away on the shelves because of the difference in price, but should women be forced to buy men’s deodorant, men’s body wash or men’s shampoo because spicy, musky scents cost less than the scents of fruits and hibiscus flowers?

 

 

Senator Warren’s Persistence Breaks the Silence

Senator Warren’s Persistence Breaks the Silence

Active users of popular social media platforms will have bore witness to the trending hashtag, #ShePersisted over the last few days. The hashtag is dubbed to be just the most recent feminist rally cry following an incident where Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced by a Republican majority Senate on Feb. 9.

Senator Warren read a letter written by Coretta Scott King during the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, rebuked Warren’s statement and found her in violation of “Rule 19” which bars any senator from impugning the motives of any other or imputing “any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming of a senator,” according to an article in the Globe and Mail. You can watch the incident take place below.

While Senator Warren may well have been in violation of the decorum rule, it is difficult to deny that the GOP Majority Senate was being selective in who they were enforcing the rule upon as the Senate’s historian’s office was unable to say when the rule was last invoked. Even more troubling is that male senators were later reading from the same speech by Mrs. King without interference from opposing party members.

Coretta Scott receiving the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding for the year 1966 on behalf of her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., from Dr. Zakir Hussain, President of India, on January 24, 1969. (Source: US Embassy India)

The incident begs the question: are female politicians respected in positions of power when they threaten the interests of the opposition? In this case, absolutely not.

If a male senator can read from Mrs. King’s letter without being in violation of “proper decorum”, but a female senator cannot, the issue becomes less about the content of the message and more about who it’s coming from. It also questions if the words of Mrs. King are taken more seriously when spoken by a man.

The silencing of Senator Warren has since resulted in an outpouring of Democratic support.

“She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” It’s doubtful that Senator McConnell would have imagined that it would be these eight words that would give rise to silenced voices everywhere and create an even stronger movement of even more persistent women.

 

 

Audi USA Drives Progress for Equal Pay

Audi USA Drives Progress for Equal Pay

Equal pay for equal work should hardly be a novel concept in North America in 2017 but the onslaught of sexism brought on by a presidential campaign and new administration have proven that the movement for equality has been at a standstill for longer than we’ve thought.

Audi USA has responded to gender inequality with the release of their Super Bowl LI commercial “Daughter”, showing their commitment to equal pay and to ending the gender wage gap. Watch the commercial Below.

The ad beautifully addresses the issue in a perfect platform where the audience is predominantly male, however as Mic  points out in a tech article, the advertisement fails to address the even larger gender wage gap that exists for women of colour in North America.

After the release of the commercial, Audi tweeted “Women are still paid 21% less than men. As a brand that believes in progress, we are committed to equal pay for equal work. #DriveProgress.” While it’s noble for the company to acknowledge the wage gap and commit to equal pay, the statistic is not accurate to all groups of women as black women typically make only 65 cents of a man’s dollar and Hispanic women only 58 while white and Asian women are making on average 78 cents on the dollar, according to a Pew Research Centre study.  

Intersectional feminism acknowledges inequalities faced across all races but realizes that these hurdles can bemore difficult to climb for some groups than others. The statistic that women make 21% less than men while unfair, ignores a huge demographic inequality that needs to be given the same importance and agency as the gap for white women is given.

The wage gap has long been a source of contention in North America with many suggesting it’s a lie and inaccurate when factoring in paid time off, weekly hours worked, annual bonuses and child care benefits. Companies like Audi making efforts to represent groups affected by inequality while simultaneously under-representing millions of people in its process shows how it is still a relevant movement that needs adjusting to further inclusion.

Welcome to Women Weekly!

Welcome to Women Weekly!

My name is Celia and I’d like to thank you for visiting my blog.

Proud to identify as a feminist in an age where the word is often villainized and feared, my beliefs lie entirely in equality. My feminism is rooted strongly in legal issues affecting women but just as importantly in the underlying ideology concerning the rights of both men and women of any race and of all cultures.

My mother raised her three daughters largely on her own while maintaining a fulltime career as an ultrasound technologist and has always emphasized that while it is important to have the capacity to love and let people in, it is just as, if not more important as a woman to create a life in which you are not dependent on anyone else. This is the mantra from which I move forward in my personal and professional decisions and with my political beliefs.

A sign at the “Women’s March on Washington” that took place on January 21th, 2017, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Most recently I’ve been inspired by the Women’s March on Washington , an event on January 21st, 2017, that saw millions of people around the world march in opposition to the newly elected President of the United States and his controversial behaviour toward women and minority groups.

Whether you agreed with the march or not, the masses of people that showed up to these marches worldwide from cities all over the United States all the way to Sydney, Australia, made what is arguably one of the largest turnouts in U.S. History in response to a president according to an article in Time Magazine.

Women Weekly aims to look at various women’s and feminist issues as they happen in current events. By outlining basic facts, research and my personal meditation on the topic, I hope to contribute to the movement in a small way that encourages others to understand the importance of these issues.