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June 2017

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What are you wearing this Canada Day?

Tomorrow’s the big bash — Canada is turning 150 years old and the entire nation is getting ready to party until the wee hours of the morn’.

Unless you are preparing for a family camping trip or a girls weekend out, planning Canada Day events can turn into a last-minute affair. The event is considered a holiday, but in typical Canadian fashion, most people are too modest to make a big to-do out of it.

The unfortunate part is that by now, most of the “Canada 150 gear” is sold out or overly priced. That doesn’t mean you can’t get decked out in traditional Canadian fashion this July 1, it just may take a little bit of creativity. Women’s Post is here to help! Here are some ideas for a kick-ass Canada Day outfit:

Colours: Really, if you own anything red, you are fine. Pair a red t-shirt with a pair of white shorts and it will look like you planned for this holiday months ago! Add a red bandana or hat, or even some luscious red lipstick for extra effect. White shirts work as well, but try to find some sort of red accessory to balance it out. Why not try to get some face paint at the dollar store so you can pain on our favourite maple emblem on your cheek?

Plaid: It’s supposed to be rainy and cloudy all weekend (sigh) so why not just wear the traditional Canadian plaid shirt? It has the added benefit of being warm, but also contains our nation’s colours

Dollar store: Time to be a bit creative. Even the dollar store may be out of their traditional t-shirts and temporary tattoos, but they almost always have beaded necklaces, boas, tutus, and other weird things you can slap together to make an outfit. The key is to go overboard. If you are going with the mashed up outfit full of different textures and goofy headbands, then you might as well go all out!

Non-traditional: If you are like me and red just doesn’t match your skin tone, try a different approach. Canada Day is a great opportunity to celebrate Canadian things — sports teams, bands, and even our individual cities (‘Toronto vs. everybody’). Wear that Justin Trudeau unicorn shirt you bought on e-bay that one time! That blue jays cap is good for more than just keeping the sun out of your eyes at the game. Maybe you have a “drizzy drake” tee you can grab?

Just remember to stay away from indigenous or cultural garb that isn’t your own please! Those are the only things out of bounds this Canada Day.

Want to make a statement? Buy a cheap white t-shirt and write something on the back with a marker or with paint. With all those cameras, this is the perfect time to express concern over an issue that is important to you. Whether it’s the environment, election reform, or disdain for a particular bill being discussed in the house right now — use this opportunity to get your point across. Just avoid offensive language, as no camera will focus on your shirt if it contains profanity.

And of course, you can always use this statement to share messages of love!! Not everything has to be about activism.

 

What will you be wearing this Canada Day? Let us know in the comments below!

Six North Atlantic right whales found dead in St. Lawrence

Over the course of June, six North Atlantic right whales were found dead and floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a substantial loss for a species that is already on the endangered species list.

There are only 500 North Atlantic right whales in the wild, and with six dead so suddenly without apparent cause, it accounts for one per cent of the species wiped out in less than a month. If this was compared to humans, it would mean that over 75 million people would be wiped out. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Marine Animal Response Society, the Canadian Coast Guard, and other groups are working together to figure out how to get the whales ashore to find out what is happening to the species.

The whales were found in the area between New Brunswick’s Miscou Island, Quebec’s Magdalen Islands and Northern P.E.I. They are currently floating a considerable way from shore and the weather has been too severe to try to get the whales onto land to begin a necropsy, a forensic examination that would discover what happened. There is only a limited time to complete the assessment and the whales are already decomposing. It is paramount that marine biologists decipher what is going on with the species to develop a plan and prevent more of the endangered whales from dying unexpectedly.

There are many threats to whales that habituate close to port such as being struck by ships, contracting toxic infections, water contaminants, high levels of noise, and global warming. The North Atlantic right whales also feed on zooplankton, which are lowering in population due to the effects of climate change.  There are many reasons that the whales could be dying off so suddenly, and it is integral to the survival of the species to find out why. Hopefully, there is a chance of survival for this rare and beautiful species, one of many marine animals living under threat in the ocean today.

Giant red ball in Calgary a giant red blimp

Calgary is joining Canada’s 150th celebrations by welcoming a gigantic red ball into the city.

The Red Ball Project is a travelling art installation created by Kurt Perschke that has traveled to 25 cities across the world. The big red ball was spotted on Monday, June 26 on the Peace Bridge, which is a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Calgary. The gigantic red ball was shoved into the bridge and prevented cyclists and pedestrians from passing through, forcing people to contend with the enormous red play toy.

The big red ball has been rolling into different cities around the world for 15 years. The artist created the over-sized ball sculpture so that people could interact with an object that reminded them of their childhood. It is supposed to bring out joy and artistic interaction in key places around the city, and will make its final appearance at Olympic Plaza on July 1.

The giant red ball was brought to Calgary through the city’s public art program and investment from Canadian Heritage. The city has a history of implementing art projects that have zero value or impact (with large price tags), and the red ball seems to be bouncing in that general direction. The blue ring fiasco of 2013, for example, made Calgary the laughing stock of the country when the gigantic-blue-circle-turned-into-streetlights was debuted as the city’s newest piece of art. To put it plainly, the piece of art was widely claimed to lack any sort of artistic interest and caused a panicked city council to revamp Calgary’s art program — or so people thought.

The giant red ball is another example of moving art that is just a little bit goofy and is more of a nuisance than anything. Calgary needs to learn to invest in worthy pieces of art that really celebrate the 150th anniversary of this great nation as more than a playful squishy ball. There is a rich aboriginal history in the city that could be a worthy example of art — or really just choose anything that won’t cause cyclists to crash or pedestrians to turn away in fear of what appears to be a gigantic pimple on the Peace Bridge.

Another artistic win for Calgary ladies and gentlemen, but at least it isn’t worse than Toronto’s imitation rubber duck, another hilarious example of how this country is choosing to celebrate 150 years.

Would you take your picture with a giant red rubber ball? Let us know in the comments below!

WE ARE HIRING!

Women’s Post is looking for someone to work with us part-time, three days a week. This is a paid 6-month internship with the opportunity to move forward as staff. Must be able to write two articles a day on a variety of topics, from transit to profiles to fashion, as well as pitch ideas on a weekly basis. In addition to being a daily news site, Women’s Post provides a platform for women needing exposure and encouragement. We are looking for a journalist with a keen sense of what makes a good story and someone who is willing to learn and adapt in a small office environment.

Please send your resumes and writing samples to kate@womenspost.ca

TV hosts, mompreneurs Vanessa and Melissa share lifestyle tips

Meet Vanessa Rempel and Melissa Shad, television hosts on the Rogers network and self-proclaimed mompreneurs, believe health and fitness are very important aspect in any woman’s life, especially parents.  In our Q&A interview, they share their parenthood and lifestyle tips, as well as their new parenting show/brand Vanessa & Melissa:

Q: As busy TV hosts, mompreneurs. and social media influencers how do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a big priority for both of us, but with six kids and a business it can be challenging. We often workout early mornings when the kids are still sleeping, or late at night. We both actually prefer clean eating, so when it comes to food choices we are always on the same page. That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy some wine and treats here and there, as well, but all in moderation. But, let’s be honest, some weeks we kill it and some weeks we totally fail, but we’re always trying to make good choices when we can.

Tell us how you began working together as a duo and your new Vanessa + Melissa new venture?

We both previously moonlighted as correspondents for an entertainment show on Rogers TV, and simultaneously we were both pitching the idea of a parenting show. A producer set us up on a blind date and we’ve literally been working together ever since.

Our show was originally called Diapers & Lipgloss, which is our business name, but we’ve evolved into solelyVanessa+Melissa on all our platforms, because we also cover lifestyle topics beyond motherhood.

How are you making a difference doing what you do in addressing parenthood to women’s lifestyle?

We’re talking about subjects that people are often too scared or embarrassed to talk about. Topics that have previously been deemed taboo or were just swept under the rug. We want moms, and women, to feel safe, comfortable and accepted no matter what is going on in their lives. To know they’re not alone and we’re all in this together.

You both lead active lifestyles and practice “what you preach”, how does it make you both feel you are inspiring others or making a difference?

To be honest, it’s everything to us. It’s actually the best part of what we do. We get so many messages from women around the world asking us for advice and thanking us for covering a certain topic and almost every message we receive ends with ‘please keep doing what we’re doing’.

What are some tips to work out safely during pregnancy and after post-baby?

 Don’t stop working out!  It is so beneficial to you and babe.

If you are new to working out though, work with a personal trainer to make sure you are using proper and safe form.

Make sure that you do not raise your heart rate over 140.

Stay away from heavy squats and stop running if you experience round ligament pain.

Make sure to have fun, and enjoy your workouts.  Never feel pressure to workout, or workout if your body is telling you to relax!

What is next for you?

We plan to continue to grow our parenting/ lifestyle brand , Vanessa+Melissa globally, in many new ways, through all our social channels. We also have lots of projects & ideas in the works, so stay tuned!! 

 

www.runwithit.ca

Twitter: @christineruns

Run With It on YouTube Channel

Gender parity could add $150 billion to Canada GDP

Pushing for gender equality in Canada could add $150 billion in incremental GDP in 2026, or at least that is what a new report released by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) is saying.

The report, entitled The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in Canada, was released earlier this June and outlines a number of things Canada has to do in order to take advantage of this $150 billion opportunity. This includes being more than just a vocal supporter of gender parity.

Too often, companies outline goals for gender diversity on boards or make promises to consider more women in the hiring process — but there is no follow up or accountability. Seventy-five per cent of companies do not track female recruitment or reward leaders for fostering gender diversity. This means there is less accountability and goals of gender parity may actually never be achieved.

The report also indicates only 14 per cent of businesses have “clearly articulated a business case for change” when it comes to considering gender diversity.

Canada is ranked in the top 10 countries of 95 when it comes to women’s equality, but as the report says, “progress towards gender parity has stalled over the past 20 years, and Canada must find anew ways to keep pace.”

More importantly, women should be hired in “high-productivity sectors” such as mining and STEM-related industries. Currently, women only hold 29 per cent of political seats and hold 65 per cent of unpaid care work.

Canada’s GDP growth has slowed to approximately 2 per cent a year, according to the Canadian government. The report shows that unless Canadian businesses make a significant investment in women and continue to grow this rate will remain stagnate.

“A significant part of the solution is for Canada to tap into the vast unrealized potential of women. Accelerating progress toward gender equality is not only a moral and social imperative; it would also deliver a growth dividend.”

In order to see this GDP growth, businesses will not only have to hire more women (create 650,000 more jobs), but they also will need to raise the number of hours worked by female employees and raise productivity levels. The analysis found that the structure of each province’s economy had little factor into the state of gender inequality. Rather, it was formal policies that mandate quotas for women on boards of Crown corporation and universal child-care programs that determined economic gender inequality.

Women, the report says, are willing to work. Unfortunately, there are a number of barriers that either prevent them from doing so, or prevent them from growing in their role.

“This research highlights best practices in Canadian companies that others can emulate. But initiatives need to be implemented holistically and effectively, and measures to tackle gender imbalance in companies only work if they are considered to be a true business imperative. Changing attitudes takes time, and persistence is vital,” says Sandrine Devillard, a Senior Partner in McKinsey’s Montreal office, in a statement.

Hopefully, it doesn’t take too much time to change. Gender parity within the workplace is vital to both the social and economic success of this country — and yet, there are still gender gaps when it comes to positions of power, both in the private and public sector. How many reports like this are necessary before those with the power to do something actually change?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below! 

Time to tell male friends they are guilty of ‘Mansplaining’

Have you ever had a man interrupt you to explain something you know more about? Or how about being told how you feel from a guy instead of being asked? Or just felt this uneasy feeling of inferiority when talking to a man who appears to be leering at you and not actually listening at all?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, you have been ‘mansplained’ to, which is an annoying experience to say the least.

‘Mansplaining’ is described as an experience when a man with an undeserved air of authority condescendingly explains something to a woman who generally knows more about the topic at hand. Interestingly, I can recount several occurrences of having experienced ‘mansplaining’ and was too naïve to understand it wasn’t respectful. There have been dozens of times when male friends, partners, and family members have explained what my job as a journalist is and how it impacts me as a person in the suffering media industry. Instead of asking me for my opinion on my career as a journalist, I was informed of how I should feel about it. Thanks guys, much appreciated.

In all honesty, I wish I could go back to my younger self and say “Excuse me? Why don’t you ask instead of tell? How did you get to be such a pompous ass?”, but I quite honestly didn’t have the knowledge that I was being talked down to at the time. I have little doubt that I grew up in a city dominated by men. Hailing from Calgary, known as Canada’s oil tycoon capital, I watched big men in suits in various power positions throughout my entire life, and I never quite realized that many of the women by their side seemed to be standing in the background — never acknowledged, or appreciated, somehow smaller or less important.

It makes me wonder, as an adult woman today equipped with words such as ‘mansplaining’ and ‘bropropriating’ and a strong community of feminists around me, how did these women feel being in the back of that room? How did my own mother feel being ‘mansplained’ to without being able to tell these men to screw off without fear of impunity? Even though there are still miles to travel in terms of true gender equality, every young lady today owes a thank you to their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and older women colleagues. They have experienced unadulterated ‘mansplaining’ a hell of a lot longer than I know I have.

Sadly, it still happens today. Toronto is chalk full of entitled young men who want to dominate over women in conversation. The sense of authority these men carry seems to be a character trait that hasn’t ‘left the building’ and most aren’t even aware. If you have a male who has an authoritative ‘holier than thou’ attitude and feels the need to tell you how to feel, but you know they are genuinely a good person and just haven’t been taught better — do them a favour and let them know. Be honest, and straightforward because many men aren’t even aware that they are doing it. It is a learned behaviour and women to nip this bad habit in the bud. Be respectful when doing so, as it’s likely your friend will be embarrassed or offended. But your gentle criticisms will permeate and may even convince said male counterpart to ditch the entitled behaviour all together.

The world is slowly moving towards gender equality, and highlighting the ridiculousness of ‘mansplaining’ will help men understand that what they are doing is wrong, relieving hundreds of thousands of women who are just down with being told things they already know.

Stick up for yourselves ladies! It is never too late and you may be surprised by the response you receive. There are a lot of men out there who are ardent feminists and will ditch the bad attitude to embrace a world where women aren’t interrupted anymore.

What do you think about mansplaining? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrate Canada 150 with these weird things ‘Made in Canada’

Next weekend is Canada’s 150th birthday!!

Sure, you can celebrate by having friends over for a barbecue, or hitting Parliament Hill to watch the fireworks. But, why not go the extra mile by enjoying some of these totally weird things only a Canadian could invent:

Retractable beer carton handle: It used to be difficult to lug a 12-pack over to a friend’s house, that is until Steve Pasjack invented a retractable handle! The invention was dubbed the “Scarborough Suitcase” and is still used by Steam Whistle Brewery.

Caesars: This deliciously red drink made of vodka, tomato juice, clam juice, and Worcestershire sauce sounds disgusting, but it’s actually full of wonderful summer goodness. It was invented in Calgary and is usually served with a salt-rimmed cup, lime, and a stick of celery.

Milk bags: Seriously, the next time you meet someone who isn’t from Canada (or even Ontario), mention milk bags. It will totally freak them out. In most other countries, you get milk in a bottle or a box — that’s it!

Butter tarts: You are welcome world! Within a beautiful pastry shell is a gooey, maple-sugary center, topped with pecans, raisins, or other fun flavours. These delectable treats have a special place in the hearts of all Canadians, so much so that Ontario even has a festival dedicated to the dessert.

Nanaimo bars: Continuing on the sweets trend — did you know Nanaimo bars were named after the city in British Columbia? There is literally nothing like this beautiful melding of chocolate, butter icing, and coconut/wafer. Just don’t eat too many or the sugar rush may cause nausea.

Poutine: Ok, this one is obvious, but it had to be included in this list. Many countries have tried to replicate this great French invention, but any real poutine lover knows there is only one place to get it — Quebec!

Walkie Talkie: This wonderfully fun piece of technology was invented during the Second World War by a Canadian inventor named Donald Hings. It was originally called a “packset” and designed for bush air pilots to help them communicate in remote areas of the country.

Egg carton: A journalist from British Columbia named Joseph Coyle after he became frustrated that all his eggs were breaking in transport. It was patented in both the U.S. and Canada in 1918-19.

Basketball: This is another favourite claim of Canadians, so much so that it is one of the more popular heritage moments advertised on television. The game was invented by a physical education teacher who was working in the U.S. at the time. Dr. James Naismith was challenged to create a game that could be played indoors during the winter — and with the two-week deadline, basketball was what he came up with!

Wonderbra: Invented by a Canadian corset company, the Wonderbra was first released in 1939. The company expanded their brand, creating the first strapless bra in the 1940s and Canada’s first push-up bra in the 1960s. Canadian women really were ahead of their time.

Peanut Butter: A Montrealer was the first person to invent our favourite spreadable snack. It was originally created as a centre for candy, but luckily Mr. Marcellus Gilmore Edson patented the process of milling roasted peanuts, making him the official inventor of this delicious product.

Trivial Pursuit: To all those who love trivia night — be thankful that photo editor Chris Haney and sports journalist Scott Abbott got bored of playing Scrabble. It only took a few hours to come up with the concept, but it took a few years for them to hammer out all the details and find business partners willing to invest in this wonderful game. So brush up on your trivia knowledge Canada, as this is the perfect game to play come July 1st.

Did we miss anything? List your favourite Canadian inventions in the comments below!

Are Smart Cities the future of congestion relief?

The last time Mayor John Tory spoke about roads at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, he announced his intention to propose tolling of the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway.

At Wednesday’s annual meeting, Tory again talked about the state of Toronto’s streets and the need to tackle congestion in the city.

“Am I satisfied with the traffic and congestion we still see? NO, I am not. Is this good for our residents and our economy? No, it is now. We have to do more for our economy, for our residents, for our businesses and productivity and competitiveness,” Tory said at the Board of Trade.

In this speech, Tory announced a new “Smart Streets Plan”. This plan will center around the collection of data. Toronto has completed its first real-time and historical data agreement, which will provide real-time traffic flow data. This data will be used to help manage traffic better.

The city also announced a partnership with Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app. This app will be able to provide alerts about collisions and lane closures so that the city can push updates out to commuters.

Other parts of the Smart Streets Plan include the implementation of smart traffic signals, steps to manage curb space, and more parking blitzs in September.

Tory also praised the city’s King St. Pilot Study, saying it is a necessary project to help move the 65,000 people who use transit to navigate that corridor.

None of these announcements are as daring as that to toll the DVP and Gardiner, but considering the province has refused to allow Toronto to toll its own roadways, they are necessary steps towards trying to relieve congestion. Changing urban or street design to try and increase the flow of traffic will make Toronto a smart-city, but only if the rest of city council approves these innovative projects and studies.

 

What do you think of the Smart Streets Plan and the King St. Pilot Study?