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EU proposes 40 % quota for “non executive” women

The European Commission has proposed that companies whose non-executive directors comprise of more than 60 per cent men to prioritize the hiring of women when choosing between candidates of equal merit.

The proposal aims to have a minimum of 40 per cent of non-executive members on company boards to be women. The goal is to have this achieved by 2018 in public-sector companies and 2020 in the private sector. Annual reports on the composition of these boards will be required and sanctions could be imposed if the evaluation is negative. Those companies would then have to explain the measurements they intent to use to achieve the quota.

The quota will apply to companies listed on the stock exchange as of November 2012.

“Company boards in the EU are characterized by persistent gender imbalances, as evidenced by the fact that only 13.7% of corporate seats in the largest listed companies are currently held by women (15% among non-executive directors),” the proposal reads.  “progress in increasing the presence of women on company boards has been very slow, with an average annual increase in the past years of just 0.6 percentage points.”

This proposal has been on the table for years, with previous attempts to pass it blocked by certain European countries. According to the file, it is the issue of state independence is intertwined.

“Although there is a broad consensus across the EU in favour of taking measures to improve the gender balance on company boards, some Member States consider that binding measures at the EU level are not the best way to pursue the objective and would prefer either national measures or non-binding measures at EU level. They take the view that the proposal does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity,” the file reads.

The interesting part of this proposal is that it only applies to “non-executive” roles rather than direct managerial positions. In fact, the proposal actually goes on to say that the reason for this is to minimize interference with “day-to-day management of a company.” While I understand that most companies prefer to hire on a merit system, especially for positions of power and management; the proposal already indicates  the priority of hiring a female candidate should be taken when two candidates have the same qualifications. This focus on “non-executive roles” may actually encourage companies to hire more women, but it also reinforces the idea that top positions are reserved for men.

Why not say boards must be comprised of at least 40 per cent of both sexes. That way, it encompasses all roles and positions within the board? This proposal will be discussed over the next few days; which means there is a possibility for amendments and further specifications.

If the EU is really concerned about gender parity on boards or in positions of powers within big companies, it would step up with a stronger proposal that calls for real equality rather than a piece of paper that placates to the feminist cause without actually creating change.

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

What kind of leader are you?

Being the boss can be hard, especially when you are a woman. You can be considered too authoritative, too compromising, or too emotional. It can be incredibly frustrating, but remember that your leadership style is yours alone – and it doesn’t mean it’s the wrong one.

There are a number of different leadership styles to consider as a manager, and the use of each style depends on the companies goals, vision, and workforce capability. Depending on your goals, it may be prudent to alter your leadership style in order to encourage or inspire progress. Here are a few styles to consider:

The autocratic leader: This is someone who knows what he or she wants, and demands results. This kind of leader can be quite successful in a cutthroat business, and is useful in times of crisis. The business centres around the boss, who has most of the responsibility and all of the authority. Employees are closely supervised.

The authoritative leader: This kind of leader takes charge and mobilizes their team towards a single goal. It’s a step down from autocratic, in which the boss has most of the authority, but is using it to help….. This type of leadership style is useful when the goals of a company change or when employees need guidance.

The coaching leader: In businesses that are choosing to invest in their employees and facilitate growth, the coaching leadership style is ideal. It involves actively teaching and supervising. This style only works if the employees are willing to grow in their role.

The pacesetting leader: Do what I do – this type of leadership style focuses on self-example. The boss has high expectations, and if employees cannot do it, the leader must be prepared to jump in. It is not the most sustainable leadership style.

The affiliative leader: Your team is more important than you are. This type of leader praises his or her employees and fosters a sense of belonging at the company. This kind of leadership can promote loyalty and instil confidence in employees; however experts warn that constant praise can also result in complacently among a team. Use this style in combination with another for efficiency.

The democratic leader: This type of leadership is great for smaller businesses and start-ups. Employees are seen as valuable and contribute equally for the betterment of the company. The team holds ownership and responsibility of the plan or business concept, and the boss simply fuels the discussion.

Above all else – remember that not all leadership styles will work with your role or personality. That’s okay. But, a good mix of two or three of these leadership styles is bound to produce results.

What kind of leader are you? Let us know in the comments below!

What is two minutes of your time worth this Remembrance Day?

No matter what I’m doing on Nov. 11, I always take two minutes around 11 a.m. to stand still in silence, remembering those who fought so that the rest of us could live free of tyranny and oppression. The people who died, who suffered, and who sacrificed their lives

I remember when I worked at Tim Hortons during my university days, I asked my employer if we were going to stop and take part in two minutes of silence for Remembrance Day. He said no. I told him (not asked him) that I would be participating and walked into the back room. I stood for those two minutes, listening to The Last Post, tears welling up in my eyes. I was proud to stand there and, for a short amount of time, dedicate all my thoughts and my love to those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

As I did this, everyone else kept working. Customers ordered their coffee and sandwiches. My colleagues worked overtime to make sure they got their food in a timely manner. The phone was ringing off the hook. No one stopped. No one listened to the bugle ringing out. No one cared.

My heart broke.

This wasn’t the last time I would experience this kind of indifference to Canada’s veterans. At numerous workplaces I’ve had to ask my employer to allow me to participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies, or to keep a livestream of the event running on my computer. Most of the time, the employer will agree. But no one else is interested. No one else feels the need to take initiative and say “we may have a meeting at 11 a.m., but can we make it 11:05 a.m. so that those who want to pay their respects to this country’s veterans can do so without repercussions?” And no employer was volunteering to make that change.

My father instilled in me a strong sense of respect for our veterans. My grandfather was a paratrooper during the Second World War and while I was pretty close with him during the few years he was alive, I never felt closer to him than on Remembrance Day. I would go every year, skipping class if need be, to the war memorial to pay tribute. I would meet up with friends and we would stand there and listen to the speeches and watch as the wreaths were laid by the site. And then we would stand in silence, listening as gunshots were fired. Thousands of people would be crowded on the streets, and yet there was not a pin drop to be heard. It was enough to make you cry.

One day in early 2000, my dad sent me this video. It was Terry Kelly singing a song called “A Pittance of Time,” and it perfectly summed up my feelings towards Remembrance Day. Actually, it impacted me so much that every year I search for the song on Youtube.

The song was based on Kelly’s personal experience. He was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia when an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us. The customers, however, weren’t having it. They wanted to pay for their items and move on with their day.

Sadly, nothing has changed.

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War. There are no veterans from that war still alive. Despite these facts, less and less people show up to these Remembrance Day ceremonies to offer their respect. Less people are wearing the poppy and less people are taking those two minutes to remember.

And that’s a shame.

How to become a blogger, according to Rachel Esco

You can’t just snap your fingers and become an established blogger overnight — well, not unless you’re Trump or a Jenner. For us mere commoners, getting paid to do what you love is no easy venture. In turn, most bloggers will simply write for free, satisfied with the sheer notoriety of getting credit for their published work. But, the burning question on everyone’s minds is how to start raking in some green for your words? How do you start?

Many women dream of being like Miranda Priestly, dominating a business empire while wearing the hottest designer pumps. Realistically, however, being a professional blogger is not all that glamorous. Let’s put the fantasies to rest. Here’s how to become a successful entrepreneur online.  

Be annoyingly persistent

You may have heard it all before, but never underestimate the power of persistence. Before I began getting hired to blog for brands, I probably went six months looking for work with no avail. So, what did I do? I began voluntarily writing for online magazines to build my experience and portfolio. Eventually, I had collected enough impressive work to showcase for potential clients. But, you must be willing to invest this extra time and energy if you’re serious about blogging as a career.

Join popular blogging platforms

What’s better than making your own website? Joining popular blogging platforms!  With established websites like She Knows or Elite Daily, you can submit your work to gain exposure for your blogs. In the early stages, this approach gives you more credibility and authority as a blogger. These platforms also let you link to your personal blog and social media accounts, helping you drive more traffic to your awesome material.

You can even use these sites as your online portfolio if you don’t already have your own website. But if you do decide to create your own, make sure it looks modern and professional. Since it’s essentially a representation of you and your talent, you must make it count! First impressions are everything. And don’t forget to promote your portfolio on social media to further increase its visibility.

Pitch your services

Another promising route to becoming a blogger is learning how to pitch your services. Now, I’ll be honest. This process is very tricky and rarely successful. But at the very least, if you know how to sell your services well, there’s always a chance you’ll get some interested replies.

Next, when you pitch your services, you have to have a niche. Any random schmo with a laptop can pitch themselves as a “blogger”, but if you’ve got a specific area of expertise, you’ll be more desirable to clients. For example, maybe you’re an organic food blogger; you can cater your services to organic grocery stores and related businesses. You’ll get much farther when your present yourself as a specific type of blogger.

Don’t reach out to the biggest businesses right away. Remember that at the beginning, you’re just a tiny entrepreneurial fish in a sea of blogging barracudas — sorry. So instead, reach out to mid-range businesses who are not as heavily swamped with thousands of pitch emails. You’ll have a better chance at getting noticed and hired for your services.

Use LinkedIn like crazy

Pledge your loyalty to LinkedIn and never look back. While most people go gaga for Instagram and Snapchat, focus your energy on LinkedIn as if it’s your main source of social media. Recruiters are constantly scoping LinkedIn to find fresh talent. Plus, there’s always people with startup companies looking to collaborate with bloggers they find on LinkedIn. My first big client actually found me through LinkedIn, so I genuinely can confirm it works!

 

Ready to begin to become Canada’s next top blogger? Best of luck everyone!

Toronto to get a high-tech waterfront neighbourhood

Toronto has grown so much over the last 10 years. All it takes is a quick scan of the city skyline to see the massive influx of construction across the downtown core. The city is definitely still under development and because of this there is an increased cost of living and looming growth challenges.

Google’s sister company, Sidewalk Labs, in collaboration with Waterfront Toronto and the Canadian federal government, announced the development of an innovative city hub in Toronto, coined Quayside. The announcement was made on Tuesday at Corus Quay to a crowd that included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Toronto Mayor John Tory.

There will be 800 acres of land available for revitalization in the eastern waterfront area. This hub will be the first high-tech neighbourhood in the city, and a model of a city that reflects the future.

Quayside will be a neighbourhood that combines people, culture, environment, and technology to help people thrive. Sidewalk Labs, since their launch in 2015, expressed their desire to create a modern community hub in an international city. The aim is to use technology as a tool to address urban living challenges, resulting in a more comfortable space for residents in the city. The ‘smart’ neighbourhood will have an impact on the future of Toronto as it will generate global interest and improve economic growth and development.

“We looked all over the world for the perfect place to bring this vision to life, and we found it here in Toronto.” Said Dan Doctoroff, the CEO of  Sidewalk Labs to a packed audience.

One of the most important aspects that Quayside will provide is an increase in jobs, as well as an increase in tech talent. Creative and innovative minds will have an opportunity to work and even live in a community that matches their skills. In getting this project underway, Sidewalk Labs also reached out to many residents across the GTA to get input and feedback on the community development idea. Now that Quayside will be a reality, starting Nov. 1 , Sidewalk Labs will spend approximately $50 million to have a yearlong discussion, consisting of public meetings, with residents, universities, and the government on how the project should unfold.

 

Sidewalk Labs also says they hope to have a blueprint on what the proposed neighbourhood would look like by the end of the year. Google Canada will also shift its headquarters to this waterfront neighbourhood. This kind of high- tech community will attract innovation and design concepts that should set Toronto apart from other cities in the world.

The Quayside is expected to be a community focused on the overall goal of people thriving. A place to feel comfortable  and grow. While all the specifics of the development remain unclear at this time, Sidewalk Labs gave a few examples of what people can expect, such as smart robots that clean the streets or self- driving transit, which is already being tested in other parts of the world.

How excited are you to see this unfold in our city? Comment below

 

Report indicates little change to workplace gender equality gap

The number one issue for women in business is achieving gender equality. October is Women’s History Month in Canada and as a country, sometimes it’s easier to take note of the progress concerning the roles of women in society then to accept the inequalities still present.

A 2017 study on the status of women in corporate America showed that people are comfortable with the status quo. The report, entitled Women in the Workplace, is the largest of its kind, with data gathered from  over 222 companies, and was established by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company. 

The report shows women at all levels in corporate America are unrepresented, despite achieving more college degrees than men. The percentage of men in positions of power at the corporate level is at equal level at some companies, but higher at most others.

Ignorance about diversity within the workplace is the primary reason for this disparity. Women of colour are generally placed at a disadvantage where they are often overlooked for promotions of job advancements. Overall percentages from the study indicate that, compared to white women, women of colour get the least support from their office managers.

Two major themes were presented in the data:

  • Women continue to be hired and promoted at lower rates than men and the gap is more pronounced for women of colour
  • There is no difference in company level attrition and women and men appear to be leaving their organizations at the same rate.

The distribution of women weakens as you climb up the corporate ladder. Entry-level positions have a higher percentage of women compared to c-list corporate titles like CEO, COO, CFO etc. The percentage of women is also rather uneven depending on the industry. For instance, there is a lower percentage of women working in technology than you would find in the food and beverage industry.

Depending on the industry, the larger percentage of men think their companies are doing a good job at highlighting diversity in the workplace.

The report indicates the bar for gender equality is too low and on average you may only see one in 10 women in leadership roles. Men are also more likely to get what they want, like a promotion or a raise, without having to ask.

Other statistical highlights include:

  • At entry–level positions, women occupy 47 per cent of jobs and only 17 per cent of that figure is represented by women of colour
  • At a managing level, women get promoted at a lower rate (37 per cent) than men in that same position (63 per cent).
  • At a senior C-list role, women of colour make up only three per cent or 1 in 30. At this level, white women occupy a position of 18 per cent.
  • Forty per cent of white women will have their work defended by their managers. That number is 28 per cent for black women, 34 per cent for Latin American women, and 36 per cent for asian women.

The conclusion of this report doesn’t offer much hope for women in business. In order to close the still prevalent gender equality gap, most companies will need to restructure their thought patterns and policies to be more inclusive to women in the workplace.The report recommends some key suggestions such as:

  • investing in more employee training
  • have a compelling case for gender diversity
  • managers should enable change
  • employee flexibility to fit work in their lives
  • hiring, promotions, and reviews are fair and balanced

These steps are not foolproof, but it does present a chance for people to question their company’s accountability and evaluate if they are doing their part to help reduce the gap.

What are your thoughts? Comment below.

Woman of the Week: Kathy Milsom

When asked to use three words to describe herself, Kathy Milsom quipped, “ethical, high-integrity and committed to making a difference. That’s more than three, but these are hyphened words.”

Milsom was elected the new CEO of Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) nearly a month ago, and tries to run her office using the same mantra as mentioned above. Milsom is responsible for managing over 110,000 tenants as well as the maintenance of each building or facility, making her role one of the most challenging jobs in the city.

Toronto Community Housing has a mandate of providing safe homes for vulnerable people throughout the city. Before accepting the job, Milsom, looked at all the challenges the housing board had faced over the years and wanted to be the person who tried to help solve them as well as help make a difference in the community.

Milson has the benefit of international experience. She traveled the world with her parents, who were engineers, and learned a lot about each community and culture.  “I think it enabled me to be more independent when I was growing up and this helped me in my career,”she said.

When it was time for university, Milsom enrolled at the University of Toronto with the initial intent of studying medicine to become a doctor. Life threw her a curve ball when she lost both her parents. She found it hard to concentrate on medicine and therefore switched to civil engineering — just as a temporary change. This change, however, became permanent as Milsom re-discovered a fascination with buildings, design, and maintenance of structures. remembered why she was so fascinated with building, design and maintenance of structures.

“As a child or as a young person, I was always playing around with mechanical things. I was rebuilding engines of cars after I turned 16.” Civil engineering felt natural to Milsom.

 After working both full-time and part-time to put herself through school, Milsom began gaining as much professional experience as she couldMilsom has served as a chair of the advisory board for Direct Construction Company Limited, the Civil and Mineral Engineering Department at the University of Toronto, and was member of the Canadian National Exhibition and on their finance committee. Milsom is also been a member of the board of directors of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority since 2013. In 2016-17 she served as a director of Thermal Energy Inc.

But one of her most memorable shifts was just around five years ago when she stepped down as CEO at the Technical Standards and Safety Authority. Milsom worked for the TSSA for nearly eight years, managing 13 different sectors over Ontario. This experience taught her a lot about responsibility as she ensured the safety of citizens in public spaces.

“I enjoyed it because being a CEO for so many years,”she said. “I really came to value what a well-functioning board can do to constructively challenge you to be the very best CEO that I can be.”

When the opportunity to get involved with Toronto Community Housing came up, Milsom knew she wanted the job. Housing and community building was linked closely to her civil engineering background, and she was also ready to interact with different communities across Toronto.

Milsom was also excited to get er hands dirty. Her experience on boards didn’t allow her as much of an opportunity to interact with employees and customers.  “The higher up you go — the less you do hands-on,”she said. As CEO, she would be active in the organization

In her initial weeks as CEO, Milsom implemented new steps to ensure she was making a difference to all her employees as well as tenants. The first week was all about learning and getting out in the community to speak with tenants directly about some of their concerns. She also took the time in the first two days on the job to meet approximately 600 of her 1600 employees.

“I’m very proud of the people I get to work with,”she said. “I’ve met a good portion of them and I’ve seen some of our re-developments. For example, Regent Park, which I haven’t been by in a long time, as a citizen, but I went out there to see what the community is doing and I am extremely proud of what our team has created in partnership with the private sector, to really bring the community together.

What Milsom heard from her discussion with tenants and employees is that TCHC needs to communicate better and work towards faster processing and improved information systems. This means a better relationship with the tenants and the housing board, where there is a clear flow of information and where concerns are heard.

It is no secret that the TCHC has been plagued with a backlog of repairs. Billions of dollars are needed to help with the daily operations, maintenance, and general upkeep of the buildings. In response to this, Milsom said her main commitment is to provide clean, safe and well–maintained homes for tenants to thrive. It is a key priority and her board recently approved the request to the city for a $160 million budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 to deal with the repairs as well as prevent the permanent closure of any more housing units.  Milsom is hopeful that, if approved, this should help to solve a lot of the repair issues and complaints they have received over the years.

For the future, Milsom hopes the people of Toronto will recognize the Toronto Community Housing as an agency that everyone can be proud of. Milsom is also humbled to be in a position where she can mentor and guide people. She is set to be inducted into the Engineering Hall of Distinction at U of T this year.

 

What’s the buzz with Bumble Bizz?

Bumble, a dating app where women make the first move, is expanding into the business world. Users can now use Bumble Bizz to make connections within their city — the perfect networking tool for introverts (or just people living in the twenty first century).

While people of all sexes and genders are allowed to participate through Bizz, the app follows the same principle as the dating platform. Women must make the initial contact. According to Bizz, this is meant to encourage more women to be active in the business community while still feeling comfortable and safe in their environment. Users will be connected to potential mentors, partners, and business contacts.

“By empowering women to make the first move in Bizz, Bumble expects to see the same significant uptick in positive behaviour and dramatically reduced abuse rates that it has seen in its dating and friendship platforms,” the company said in a statement.

How does it work? Instead of including your likes and dislikes in your profile, Bumble Bizz allows you to include a digital resume and list of skills and accomplishments. Included would be a short description of who you are, what you do, and what you are looking for on the app. All profiles are put through a photo verification process to ensure security.

Similarly to the dating app, you swipe left and right to connect with people. And if you are lucky, maybe Bumble will hire you! The company has said they will hire 10 people they discover on the app.

In this day and age, it’s hard for professionals to connect with like-minded individuals outside of their office environment. It is especially difficult for women, who often have to work harder for their accomplishments to be acknowledged. LinkedIn can sometimes feel a little too formal, and networking events can sometimes be overwhelming — very few connections result in meaningful conversations. The genius of Bumble Bizz is that all you need is a phone. You can work around your schedule, make the first move, and honestly connect with someone else in your industry.

The app is available in Canada now for Apple users and will be available on Android on Oct. 18.

Would you try Bumble Bizz? Let us know in the comments below!

Women’s History Month: How will you claim your place?

October is Women’s History Month in Canada and the theme this year is Claim Your Place — a bold call to action for women across Canada to keep pushing for inclusion and gender equality. It is a time to remember the achievements of other women in history and to support those around us. Women’s History Month is celebrated in March in the United States, Australia and some other countries and often coincides with International Women’s Day on March 8. However, in Canada, the month of October is reserved in recognition of the achievements of Women, coinciding with Person’s Day, which is celebrated on October 18.

Person’s Day is in recognition of the Person’s case of 1927, when five prominent Canadian women took on the Supreme Court of Canada and asked the following question: Does the word “person” in section 24 of the B.N.A Act include women? After five weeks, the Supreme Court said they were not. This answer was not satisfactory to the women who would later be known as the Famous Five. They took their case to the Privy Council of Great Britain, which at the time was the highest court in Canada. On Oct.18 1929, the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain answered the appeal by saying the word person should, in fact, include women.

This ultimately changed the status of women in Canada, giving them the right to be appointed to the Senate of Canada and increased participation in political and public life, including voting rights. The Famous Five were women that actively looked for reform movements in a quest for changing equality. Their names were Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, Nellie McClung, and Henrietta Muir Edwards — they were journalists, magistrates and politicians. As Canada celebrates 150 years, this Person’s Day will also carry the #claimyourplace theme and will recognize women who have helped to shape Canadian democracy. There will be the annual Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Person’s Case that will honour Canadians who advance gender equality.

The awards have been given out since 1979 and include a long list of past recipients from various places across Canada. This year, there are five recipients, including someone from the youth category (age range of 15- 30). These women have made an outstanding impact to the lives of women and girls in meeting the goals of gender equality in Canada.

Over the past 150 years, countless woman have made their mark in history and found their voice. They have fought against inequality, helped reduce the pay wage gap, argued for better health services and for reproductive rights. Throughout all of these struggles, women have lifted each other up, helping one another reach their full potential. One can only hope this continues over the next decade.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-proclaimed feminist responsible for the country’s first gender-equal cabinet, issued a statement for Women’s History Month in which he remarked, “Our government is working hard to advance gender equality and ensure that all people, no matter their gender, have the opportunity to realize their full potential. We are working to strengthen women’s leadership in business and government and to provide young women with the opportunities they need to advance their careers.”

Throughout the month of October, honour those women and girls who inspire you by using the hashtag #ClaimYourPlace . Post inspirational photos, videos or stories on social media and share them with Women’s Post!

Let us know how you will #ClaimYourPlace in the comments below

Tabatha Southey’s quirky and deliciously funny Collected Tarts

Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies is an anthology of witty, thought provoking, and endearing columns by Tabatha Southey, a modest and humble human being with a spirited imagination that lends itself to powerfully funny writing. Each column, from the very first one published in 1999 to the last one in May 2017, will make the reader laugh, reflect, and maybe ponder the meaning of the word underwear.

Southey’s smart wit is what makes her writing so appealing. An avid reader herself, she does not underestimate her readers. No topic is too complicated, and if it is, she throws in a story about a monkey to lighten the load. She tackles each piece all with grace and humour — and perhaps an animal or two.

Southey has written columns for Elle CanadaThe WalrusMaclean’s Magazine, and of course, the Globe and Mail, where she held a long-standing position as a weekly columnist until earlier this month. On Aug. 31, both Southey and another female writer were let go after the newspaper underwent an overhaul.

“It was an honour to have a tiny little voice in a national conversation,” she said of the Globe’s decision. “I will miss my readers and I hope they follow me elsewhere.”

What makes Southey so successful as a columnist isn’t her animal-centric plotlines or her slightly sexual sense of humour (although they do help). It’s her loyal fan base — readers she admires as much as they admire her. “I love hearing from all parts of Canada,” she said. “I hear from guys in the military and people in small towns, and if its one thing that kept me at the column, it was hearing from readers.”

Her new book — to be launched on Sept. 30 — is a nod to those readers. It showcases a number of fan-favourites as well as Southey’s most thought-provoking and fun pieces. The book, Southey said, actually went long. “I thought, let’s put a variety in there. It would be a shame if someone got the book and something they really liked wasn’t in there.”

Every once in a while, Southey will include a few tidbits of information prior to the column, either to provide context or to recite a funny anecdote about how the piece came to be. She is candid about her experience as a writer, but still manages not to make herself the focus of the narrative. Through her columns, she tackles finances, business, politics, and even tells a harrowing story about what it’s like to shop for a bra. There is, as she says, something for everyone to enjoy.

You can purchase a copy of Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies here.

 

After reading her book, Women’s Post spoke with Southey in detail about the future of satire writing, a columnist’s grind, and advice for young female writers:

Q: What was it like to review your work from 1998 to now?

A: It’s good because it forces you to go back and see what you did, and the pieces certainly got longer. I honestly enjoyed doing it. Does that sound vain? That I enjoyed reading my own work?

You’ve mentioned the grind of writing a column every single week. Has there been a time you were stuck?

Every week! Every week I’m like “That’s it. I’m done. I can’t!” Almost every week! I filed with the Globe on Thursday morning, sometimes the afternoon if it’s a story that was still developing. You never stop reading the news and thinking and you are always kind of hoping you will get an idea or a lead. If you don’t have an idea or a clue when you go to bed Tuesday night you don’t really sleep. My mother says “I know not to phone you from Tuesday to Thursday afternoon.” Every week I’m in a panic. There is no dinner cooked on Wednesdays.

Are readers still drawn to satire within news publications? Will we see more or less of it in the future?

I think it’s a golden age. A lot of people are doing great political comedy. I think political humour is cathartic and it motivates. I don’t think it’s going anywhere. In fact, I love seeing the Beaverton, which is doing great work here in Canada. I think they are knocking it out of the park and I’m very glad to see that. It’s so great they have that venue and a clear voice. The Internet makes it all possible.

What advice would you give to young women who want to become column writers?

I would say read a lot. And I think there is a trap that women columnists are easily led in to, which is to constantly write about being a woman…. especially if you are a woman and you have a tragedy to tell. There will always be a market for that. I think that’s a dead end.

My advice is to learn about one thing and learn everything there is about that one thing. It doesn’t really matter what that one thing is. It can be politics, it can be vintage cars, [or] it can be wine. Go and learn it and be the person that people call when there is a controversy. Be that person that people want their opinion. It doesn’t mean you can’t write about other things. That is my advice. Do not Sex in the City it up.

Do you think there is still a gap in terms of gender in the newsroom? Are there enough female writers?

No. There aren’t enough women in almost every profession. I do feel that women are brought in sometimes to bring in a woman’s perspective and not to tread in to other categories. I’m a woman writer and the number of times I’ve heard people say “she needs to go back to writing in the style section” – now there is nothing at all wrong with writing for the style section. Great, do it! But that’s not where I come from and that is the assumption that will be made. So I think there is still ground to be broken.

I think in general what gives you the right to have an opinion is a question that is asked more of women than it is asked of men. I feel that a woman’s opinion, especially if it’s quite surgically spoken, by which I mean well argued, is sometimes met with hostility.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I will read the nerdiest books ever. I read a book about a giant hedge. I like those [books that] take one topic and use it as a thread to go through history to learn something.

What’s next for you?

I am looking into other things. I have to say that people have been great about getting in touch with me and I’m going to make a decision fairly shortly.

I am exploring alternative revenue streams – how’s that?