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gender discrimination

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Remembering lives lost due to anti-transgender violence

Transgender Remembrance was marked on Nov 20,  a day in which to reflect on the 325 transgender people around the world who have lost their lives between Oct 2016 and Sept 30 of this year.

Statistics Canada tracks the number of hate crimes based on sexual orientation, and in 2014 there were 155 reported cases and in 2015 there were 141 instances. This number is alarmingly high, as most transgender people suffer in silence when dealing with hate related issues.

From people using the right pronouns to challenges in school and healthcare, transgender youth face a large number of challenges. In a national survey in 2015, over one-third of transgender Canadians between ages 14-25 attempted suicide. Transgender Remembrance Day does not normally count the number of deaths by suicide ,but if it did, the number in remembrance would be even higher.

Transgender Remembrance is all about reflecting on an often bullied and low profile community. During different remembrance ceremonies around the world, the names of those who lost their lives to  anti-transgender violence are marked. Members of the trans community all pay respect and come out to attend this somber occasion.

Transrespect.org issued the full list this year of all the names of people around the world who have lost their lives. The list is a report of all transphobia issues and murders worldwide. There was one Canadian listed, Sisi Thibert, a transgender sex worker who was found stabbed in her apartment in Montreal just a mere two months ago.

Many trans-advocates do not just honour all those who have lost their lives, but as well victims and survivors of transgender targeted violence. Transgender remembrance started in 1999 in the United States by a transgender woman to mark the murder of another victim. During the reading of the names, there is often a moment of silence and a candlelight vigil. In Canada, there was a memorial held at the University of Winnipeg on Monday evening with over 100 people in attendance, and at Toronto Police Headquarters in downtown Toronto, Toronto police raised the transgender flag for the first time to mark Transgender Remembrance Day.

Women in Iceland walk off the job, demand equal pay

Can you imagine if every woman stood up at her desk and left work mid-afternoon to unite against gender discrimination in the workplace?

Women in Iceland are doing just that — and Women’s Post loves them for it.

Thousands of women left work at 2:38 p.m on Oct. 24 because, when comparing their salary to men, after that time their work would be unpaid. Women make 72 per cent of what men are paid to do similar jobs. At the same time, Iceland is the lead ranking country in gender balance worldwide according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), so the fact that they are leading the fight for gender equality is impressive and inspirational.

Canadian women also make 72 per cent of what are male counterparts earn, and yet there are no protests or demonstrations being organized to show that we don’t accept sexism in the workplace. Canada falls in 19th place for gender balance according to the WEF, scoring low points in politics and in economic participation and opportunity. Despite Canada’s attempts to be inclusive, we are significantly behind countries like Iceland that make gender equality a priority.

This is not the first time Iceland has protested the wage gap. Forty years earlier on Oct. 24, 1975, women joined together to march out of the office and make it clear they won’t work for free.  On this commemorated day, 90 per cent of women left their jobs and homes to protest inequality and this left the men to take care of children and work. Ninety per cent! That is an unheard number of participation in any demonstration.

Since then, women have protested twice more about the wage gap in an attempt to get equal pay faster. On October 24, 2005, women left at 2:08 p.m and in 2010, they left at 2:23 p.m. This year, women in Iceland left work at 2:38 p.m, which shows that the wage gap is slowly closing, but not fast enough. If the wage gap trend continues at this rate, women will achieve equal pay in 50 years. Imagine waiting 50 years until a you get paid the same as your male co-workers? This fact is absolutely unacceptable.

Women’s Post would like to commend Iceland for their persistence. In fact, women in Canada should take note of this persistence and do some of their own protesting. What do you think will happen if we all stood up and walked away from our desks at 2:38 p.m.? Would our employers take notice?

The fact that people have to say “Women deserve equal pay” in 2016 is starting and disgusting. If Iceland, a country that is ranked as one of the best in gender equality in the world, is putting in this much effort to close the wage gap, then Canada should be working twice as hard.

Tell us what you think women should do to encourage the government (and large corporations) to put an end to wage discrimination. Leave us a comment below.

Barbie vs. Lottie: the issue of gendered childrens’ toys

Over the holidays, my daughter received many gifts for Christmas. I was grateful for them and honoured to have love surrounding us. On the other hand, the choice of toys given to her did not inspire a great sense of happiness. Almost every present was pink, directed towards my daughter female status and unequivocally sexist. Toys can be great tools for child play; yet, connecting the meaning behind the toys we give our children needs to be seriously considered.

Most of the time we are given two options: girl toys and boy toys. Girl-oriented toys often emphasize beauty over action and caretaker roles. Purses, dolls, barbies, and play dresses are common examples. Boy toys are more focused on active activities such as building, and they promote a rough and tumble ideology. Toy guns, action figures, and building blocks are typical. Both extremes of gendered toys have detrimental effects on how children associate with their gender and create a sense of self that is enforced by societal rather than individualized values.

Baby dolls or pet animals indicate that little girls should focus on caring for the toy they are given, while barbies place emphasis on the importance of beauty and downgrade other skills. Toys targeted towards boys often challenge cognitive abilities by getting young children to create structures or address problem-solving skills using building blocks. The National Association for the Education of Young Children spoke with Judith Elaine Blakemore, a professor of psychology and associate dean of Arts and Sciences for Faculty Development at Indiana University−Purdue University, who said that gender-typed toys might encourage behaviour that parents may not want associated with their children.

“For girls, this would include a focus on attractiveness and appearance, perhaps leading to a message that this is the most important thing—to look pretty. For boys, the emphasis on violence and aggression (weapons, fighting, and aggression) might be less than desirable in the long run,” she said.

5568057827_a50bdc8c94A 2013 study conducted by the University of Derby says that values embedded into children’s toys and play can affect career choices later on in life. Women are directed towards more caretaker roles whereas men fill the role of the engineer or lawyer. These defining gender gaps cause imbalance in society and initialize in values that are presented to humans at childbirth.

The study also indicated that 81 per cent of parents wanted more gender neutral toys in stores; but there were only limited options available. Pink and blue marketing strategies make money and promote an early sense of consumerist desires through specific ad campaigns directed at children. In simple terms, gender sells.

Toys directed specifically at boys are ideologically harmful as well. Limiting young boys to action toys and promoting the rough and tumble lifestyle excludes more creative and sensitive children, which can open doors to bullying. Boy toys also define action as an essential male skill, which can undermine the progress of academics. The lack of caregiving boy-oriented toys also takes away from an emphasis on playing a compassionate role in a family.

downloadThere are initiatives that have been launched to educate people about the effects of gender-oriented toys. Pinkstinks is a popular campaign in the United Kingdom that advocates against toys that marginalize girls. #caringboys is a twitter feed that allows parents to post photos showing young boys playing with dolls. Several innovative toys that promote gender-positive messages have also crept up on the market, including the crowdfunded Lottie Dolls which have garnered over 12
international awards for being a toy with a positive message. Lottie Dolls have a range of designs, from a robot to the animal protector, allowing girls to play with dolls that have empowered career roles in society.

Women and men have fought for equality for generations. We live in a society that claims gender balance and embraces the dual power of having both women and men involved in career and family-building scenarios. It is only sensible that children’s toys should reflect this hard-fought need for gender equality. Dolls are welcome to stick around, but I have a dream that my daughter can play with a mechanic and mobile Barbie with a realistic waist, who doesn’t wear makeup. Let’s create that, shall we?

 

Is there gender discrimination in the publishing industry?

So you want to be a writer?

Well, we have some bad news for you. Ladies, if you’ve ever dreamed about winning a prize for your literary master piece, we’re going to need you to remember something; Don’t write about women. Unless, that is, you’re a man. And that may be a little difficult to do, seeing as if you’re a woman, you can’t really be a man.

A recent study by English-American novelist, Nicole Griffith reveals that books about women don’t win big awards. The results were revealed after analyzing some of the most prestigious literary awards, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award to name a few.

”Either this means that women writers are self-censoring, or those who judge literary worthiness find women frightening, distasteful, or boring. Certainly the results argue for women’s perspectives being considered uninteresting or unworthy. Women seem to have literary cooties” the writer stated on her blog.

The post caused quite an uproar from writers all over the world. Each of them took the opportunity to look through their country’s prize lists and unfortunately found similar results.

Well, what about Canada? You may have heard about two female literary icons by the name of Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood. It must be comforting to know we give women the voice they deserve. However, when Maclean’s looked at Canada’s major prizes (Scotiabank Giller, Governor General’s, Rogers/Writers’ Trust) the results were, well, ”Canadian” as Maclean’s put it. The trends were visible but not as pronounced. 26 men and 20 women were handed awards, meaning the raw male-female ratio was better than in the U.S. (Yay?)

The solution to this problem is simple; change it. ”The best way to get decision makers to start taking some remedial action where required is to figuratively smack them around the head with indisputable detailed and in-depth analysis.” Griffith suggests. It’s important to raise awareness of these issues using data and facts. Once we start realizing that discrimination exists, there will be the urge to make changes.

Ideas have already started circulating on the web. One publisher responded with a pledge to accept no books from male writers for a year. Another argued that is time for everyone, male and female, to sign up to a concerted campaign to redress the inequality.

 

What are some of your ideas? Comment below and let us know!

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