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What I really, really want

I usually don’t pay too much attention to viral videos — but this one is pretty spectacular.

As a child of the 90s, the Spice Girls’ song “Wannnabe” was an integral part of my life. I may — or may not — have danced to it during an elementary school talent show (probably to the chagrin of my parents). So, imagine my surprise when I opened up my Twitter and Facebook this morning to see that song plastered everywhere.

The video, which is called “#WhatIReallyReallyWant…” is reclaiming the 1996 song to tackle 21st century problems. It features extraordinary dancers of all ages from around the world, all pointing to signs that talk about what they “really really want.

And what do these girls really want?

  • End violence against girls
  • Quality education for all girls
  • End child marriage
  • Equal pay for equal work

This is what the viral video, produced by Project Everyone, hopes to achieve. It is feminism in one of its truest forms — using a song about what women want in a lover to talk about what women really want; equality. It’s absolutely brilliant in its simplicity.

Project Everyone is an organization that spreads awareness on the U.N.’s Global Sustainability Goals, an ambitious 17-point list of things to achieve by 2030. One of those goals includes the blanket statement of gender equality. The idea is that by ending poverty, climate change, and inequalities, the world would be a better place.

As it says on The Global Goals Youtube page, “Girls and women are disproportionately affected by these challenges and are key to building resilient communities to withstand them. That’s why we need to ensure that World Leaders and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon listen to the voices of girls and women and put them first in policies and plans. 2016 is our chance to use our collective power and tell world leaders what we really really want for girls and women. If you make the noise, we’ll get your message to world leaders at the UN in September.”

The video is encouraging people to share their goals and wishes for women on social media using the hashtag #WhatIReallyReallyWant . These messages will then be shared during the September U.N. Sustainable Development Summit.

So, what do you really, really want? Let us know in the comments below!

How to date more successfully

It’s no secret that most of today’s dating happens in virtual space. One swipe here, one click there, and presto! You’re matched! The problem, however, is that there is a reverse mentality associated with this world. Many women are using these dating apps with the hopes of impressing a man enough to win his approval. She may be wondering things like, “Is my pic good?”, “Did I write too much in my profile?”, “Should I say hi first?” Notice how all these anxieties are based on the idea that the man is the decider, while the woman seeks validation. How often do you try to earn his thumbs-up? This reverse mentality is important because it allows you to recognize your own power and start approaching dating with more confidence.    

Know your Worth

Knowing your worth is an important part of dating the smart way. If you truly believe in your value, he’ll be more likely to invest in your stock. He’ll be seeking your approval instead of the other way around.

How can I do this, you ask? Simple: you just need to know your worth. For example, a guy from an online dating app makes a teasing remark about how you should take him out for dinner. Many men think this is flirtatious and endearing— so instead of playing along, you should assertively say something like, “But we haven’t yet established if you’re even the right one to make me leave this dumb app.” With this approach, you’re creating the understanding that you’re also someone who deserved to be pursued.

Date Around

In the words of Billie Holiday, “A kiss that is never tasted is forever and ever wasted.” In spirit of this mantra, you should treat dating as a sampling buffet. This is not to say that you should gobble down every dessert at the table. Rather, you should select a few delights that interest you, and take the time to learn about the individual flavours you enjoy the most. When you discover a type that you genuinely like, you can then invest your time into nurturing that match.

The bottom line is that you need to see the dating process as your chance to discover your needs and wants, and focus less on becoming what your partner wants. The more you learn about your personal dating goals and desires, the more confident you’ll become later on when choosing the right guy.

Stop Dating Jerks                          

Most women who date jerks secretly hope that they’ll be the one who changes him. The problem with this mentality is that you’re wasting all your valuable time and effort trying to improve someone who’s not fit to date you in the first place. If he needs that much changing, why are you so attracted and invested in him? If he’s not making you feel like the most special woman in the world, why bother? Find someone else who doesn’t need changing because he’s already a great guy.

 Reconsider your Dating Apps

 Finally, you may also want to reconsider the dating apps you’re using. Apps like Tinder and POF are usually just a virtual sex platter. There’s other apps like Match and WhoWinkedMe, which are better suited for quality singles looking for the real deal.

 

Ultimately, if you want to enjoy better dating experiences, you need to start improving yourself first. Make good choices about who you date and, most importantly, how you treat yourself.

One woman’s journey in documentary, “As She Is”

“As She Is” is a documentary about one woman’s journey to discover what is missing in her life, and to recover her feminine identity in our westernized and often patriarchal society.

Director Megan McFeely embarked on a life-changing journey after experiencing the death of her boyfriend and two other family members in the span of three weeks. “My life fell apart 17 years ago and I began really trying to figure out another way. I never felt fully myself in the world and was being pre-constructed to live a certain way,” said McFeely.  “I started working with organizations that were trying to shift consciousness. I had to go to India and make the film.”

Director, Megan McFeely
Director, Megan McFeely

“As She Is” explores how the feminine is absent from many faucets of westernized society and needs to be embraced by both women and men. McFeely says she needed to draw away from the dominant and power hungry ethos of being a business woman, and instead wanted to live differently. “I started looking around for what it meant to live a life. What am I doing here? The question was so fundamental, that I started finding things that helped me understand,” McFeely said. “The question about the feminine came at a later state. It guided my life.”

Previously, McFeely had been working in public relations in San Francisco and had been a successful business woman in the software industry. After her life fell apart, she felt that her career focused on her more dominant traits and she desired to connect with her emotive side more deeply.

“I have been living from the masculine. My father was a federal prosecutor. I was really assertive and direct and I had a really good linear thinking mind. I was completely disconnected from the feminine,” McFeely said. “We were born into a patriarchy, and we have been trained. Our mind is more trained than our heart. The mind is a thing that separates us, breaking things down from the biggest to the smallest. The heart brings us together.”

McFeely quit her job and embarked on her journey to India to discover her feminine side. She decided to make a film, interviewing a variety of spiritual teachers and authors on the subject of the feminine and its import in modern society. Interviewees include Sufi teacher, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, who is the founder of the Golden Sufi Centre in Northern California, and explores spiritual consciousness and the significance of the feminine within.  Co-founder of the Center of Entrepreneurship and Technology at University of California at Berkley, Stacey Lawson, is also a spiritual guide and talks about the strengths of embracing the feminine in the business world in “As She Is”.

“Interestingly, McFeely is interviewed in the film, which is rare in a documentary. She described the experience of being the subject of the film and the director as vulnerable and humbling. “I was very judgmental of myself and I had to trust other people. Imagine watching yourself for eight months, it is really humbling,” McFeely says. “You have to accept yourself in a certain way. It was an amazing learning process for me to be in the film.”

Since the release of “As She Is”, McFeely has met women all over the world that feel similarly. Recently her documentary was screened in the Library of Alexandria in Egypt and was recently presented at the 14th Annual Female Eye Festival in Toronto. The festival showcases female documentaries and includes panels discussing women and the film industry.

Ontario cabinet now consists of 40% women

Monday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a cabinet shuffle that is meant to integrate some fresh perspective into the Liberal government. Seven new cabinet members were added, including five women.

After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a federal cabinet consisting of equal parts women and men, provincial Liberal governments are under pressure to do the same. Ontario is now closer to that goal, with women making up 40 per cent of the cabinet and 50 per cent of the Priorities, Delivery and Growth Committee, which is responsible for steering Ontario’s economic plan.

Some of the highlights of the cabinet shuffle include: Deborah Matthews, who will be remaining Deputy Premier and who was also appointed the new responsibility of Minister for Digital Governance. Laura Albanese is now Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Indira Naidoo-Harris is Associate Minister of Finance.

Luckily, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, was given an opportunity to implement the climate change plan he spent the last year putting together. Other ministers who will be staying in the same position include Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance and Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation.

Strangely enough, Ted McMeekin’s position as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has been taken over by Bill Mauro, former Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. Last week, McMeekin made a statement saying that he would be stepping down from his position to make room for more women in the cabinet. Imagine my surprise when his job was instead given to a man.

There are a lot of qualified women on the roster. Here is a list of the new Ontario cabinet:

  • Kathleen Wynne: Premier and President of the Council Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
  • Deborah Matthews: Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Cabinet Minister Responsible for Digital Government.
  • Michael Gravelle: Minister of Northern Development and Mines.
  • Brad Duguid: Minister of Economic Development and Growth.
  • Jeff Leal: Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • David Orazietti: Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
  • Liz Sandals: President of the Treasury Board.
  • David Zimmer: Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
  • Michael Chan: Minister of International Trade.
  • Reza Moridi: Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.
  • Yasir Naqvi: Attorney General, Government House Leader.
  • Charles Sousa: Minister of Finance.
  • Eric Hoskins: Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
  • Glen Murray: Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
  • Bob Chiarelli: Minister of Infrastructure.
  • Michael Coteau: Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism.
  • Tracy MacCharles: Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, Minister Responsible for Accessibility.
  • Kevin Flynn: Minister of Labour.
  • William Mauro: Minister of Municipal Affairs.
  • Helena Jaczek: Minister of Community and Social Services.
  • Dipika Damerla: Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs.
  • Steven Del Duca: Minister of Transportation.
  • Mitzie Hunter: Minister of Education.
  • Laura Albanese: Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
  • Christopher Ballard: Minister of Housing Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy
  • Marie-France Lalonde: Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs.
  • Kathryn McGarry: Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
  • Eleanor McMahon: Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
  • Indira Naidoo-Harris: Associate Minister of Finance (Ontario Retirement Pension Plan).
  • Glenn Thibeault: Minister of Energy.

What do you think of this new cabinet? Let us know in the comments below!

Minister steps down to help Ontario make gender parity pledge

A cabinet shuffle is on its way, and a certain Ontario MPP is standing aside to make room for a more gender-diverse leadership.

Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced Monday that he will be stepping down from his position to make room for more women in the cabinet.

“I have three daughters, all confident and accomplished young women. With my wonderful wife, they are the joy of my life. Thinking of them, I’ve often dreamed of a day when the question of gender parity wouldn’t even arise, because it would just be taken for granted,” McMeekin wrote on his Facebook.

“But sometimes the best way for a man to advance the equality of women may be to step back and make room at the table. For me, this is such a time.”

While this may seem like a noble gesture, it’s likely that Minister McMeekin already knew there were a number of incredibly talented and well-credentialed women ready to take his place in the upcoming cabinet shuffle. It has long been rumoured that a cabinet shuffle will be announced after the legislature breaks for the summer (which is said to occur on Thursday), and it’s entirely plausible that MPPs were already given their notice. I doubt the Premier would have allowed him to say it if she didn’t know for certain the new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing was going to be a woman.

Despite his good intentions, McMeekin has put himself in a strange position. It’s true that more positions of power should be opened up to women, but it’s a bit condescending for a man to say he stepped down to allow it. By phrasing it this way, it becomes less of an accomplishment for women, and more of a logistical issue to be rectified.

The provincial government has been under pressure to even out their cabinet after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted on a federal cabinet consisting of equal parts women and men. “Because it’s 2016,” he said in a mic-dropping speech after the announcement. This will be a greater challenge for the Ontario cabinet, which currently consists of eight women (including the Premier) and 19 men.

McMeekin’s announcement came the day before the Ontario government announced a target to help reduce the gender gap that exists within government agencies. By 2019, Ontario wants women to make up at least 40 per cent of all appointments to every provincial board and agency. A lofty, but not impossible, goal.

“Ontario is also encouraging businesses to, by the end of 2017, set a target of appointing 30 per cent women to their boards of directors. Once businesses set the target, they should aim to achieve it within three to five years,” a press release stated.

Wynne made the announcement in the presence of representatives from Catalyst Canada and UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality, at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management Tuesday morning.

Is a gender-inclusive national anthem on the way?

Do you think the Canadian national anthem is a bit patriarchal and sexist? Well, so does Liberal MP Mauril Belanger, who back in January introduced a private members bill to change a few of the words to make it gender neutral.

The bill (Bill C-270) has been discussed in the House of Commons over the last few months and is inciting much more controversy than originally expected. If passed, this legislation would change one line in the Canadian anthem from “true patriot love in all thy sons command” to “true patriot love in all of us command.”

The official opposition is arguing that the national anthem is part of Canada’s heritage and shouldn’t be altered. At the same time, the Liberals are arguing that not only will this change more accurately represent the inclusive country Canada has become, but it will also be closer to the original wording of the anthem. The phrase “in all they sons command” was inserted into the anthem in 1913. The original English wording was “thou dost in us command.”

“Many believe the change was related to events leading up to the First World War. It was perhaps assumed that in any major conflict it would only be young men who would carry our national banner and pride into battle, but in fact, both men and women from Canada proudly took part in the First World War. Canadian women served overseas, not as soldiers but in other functions, especially as nurses, and many died doing so. We have commemorated them in Parliament’s Hall of Honour but we have not commemorated them in our anthem,” Belanger said in the House.

This is probably the last bill MP Belanger will be presenting to the House of Commons — he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS). Belanger tried to pass a similar bill during the last Parliament session, but it was defeated. It will now head into its second reading.

As a former history major, I have no problem changing this one particular section of our national anthem. It doesn’t alter the meaning of the phrase. It just removes a religious and patriarchal reference that was commonplace in that time period and is no longer relevant. If the Liberal government suddenly decided to change more symbolic words like “our home and native land”, then that would be a different story. As it is, it’s just a simple attempt at updating our national anthem for this century.

At the same time, I don’t think women are incredibly concerned with the words to the national anthem. I also think there are better ways of making women feel more “included”, like closing the wage gap and lowering the cost of birth control. But, I guess changing the words to the national anthem is a lot easier than the latter.

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Interim conservative leader calls Trudeau…a woman?

This morning I opened my computer to find a really strange news headline in my Twitter feed — “Rona Ambrose takes swipe at Justin Trudeau alludes to him as female prime minister.”

What!?!

Apparently, during a speech at last weekend’s federal conservative convention, interim leader Rose Ambrose made a speech about inclusivity within the political party. In this speech, she makes reference to a number of women who were “firsts” in their field. In this statement, she makes a very strange connection to the sitting Prime Minister of Canada.

“That’s why we’re the trailblazers. We’re the Party of the first female cabinet minister and first woman to serve as acting prime minister, the exceptional Ellen Fairclough.

That’s why we’re the Party of Canada’s first female foreign minister, the irrepressible Flora MacDonald.

That’s why we’re the Party of the first woman to lead the Official Opposition, the redoubtable Deb Grey.

And, of course, that’s why we’re the Party of Canada’s first female, you would think Justin Trudeau was this, but now, we had the first female prime minister, the Right Honourable Kim Campbell!

So I say to Justin Trudeau – who’s the feminist now?”

I’m not sure what the conservative interim leader was trying to do here. And I don’t know why I’m so offended. Was it because she was essentially calling our Prime Minister a woman? Was it because she inferred that, by being a man, Trudeau can’t be a feminist? Was it because I interpreted this statement as demeaning? Was it meant as an insult? If so, isn’t that a bit anti-feminist? If it wasn’t meant to be an insult, why was it even said? My questions continue.

The idea of political feminism has been thrown around a lot lately, by all parties in the federal, provincial, and municipal spheres. But, since when did it become a phrase to hurtle against your opponent with disdain? Since when was it used to de-masculinize someone?

Feminism is something we should all be proud of. All of the accomplishments listed above are not standings that should be overlooked. Each one of these women were amazing in their own way. But, the accomplishments happening right now are equally as important. Let’s not make fun of them by throwing gendered labels where they don’t belong. It just makes us all confused.

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5 must-haves to feel sexy at the beach

Some of my favourite summer memories involve hanging out at the beach, whether it’s swimming in the slightly-too-cold water or lounging in the sunshine.

Though I love the beach, I always dread fitting into my bikini at the beginning of the summer season. I think this is a common fear. Nearly every woman has terrifying nightmares of seeing that person next to you at the beach with the seemingly perfect bod’, making you feel like a lumpy sack of potatoes. But Women’s Post is here to tell you to replace those bad dreams with good ones. Throw that thought out of the window! Every woman deserves to enjoy the beach and feel sexy while soaking in those sunny rays, and you are no exception! Here are five must-haves to create a luscious look that will leave that woman sitting next to you wondering where YOU got your chiffon wrap.

Beach cover up
$125, from Lilylola

Beach cover-ups and wraps

If you are feeling nervous about wearing a bikini this summer, a beach cover-up is a good way to warm up to showing off your curves. Beach cover-ups come in various sizes and styles. Some cover-ups can be a bit warm in the summer heat, so try a long cover-up that is open in the front. These are almost like long shawls and can come in many styles and colours. A shorter see-through cover-up is my personal favourite. It is alluring, but still gives you a sense of privacy over your body. Wraps are a great option too and can be worn around your waist and used as a towel if needed.

$41, from TORRID.
$41, from TORRID.

High-waisted Bikini bottoms

High-waisted bottoms are all the rage this summer. This brilliant bikini style is the best possible option for women who want to feel comfortable while still looking fantastic. These bottoms are perfect for women who feel insecure about showing off too much, and allow you to feel more confident with your curves. The increase in comfortability allows women who wouldn’t wear a two piece the opportunity to invest in one happily. The pin-up 1950s style, which often has bold patterns and high-waisted bottoms, has just recently came into style again and I love it!

$16, from Forever 21.
$16, from Forever 21.

2016 Bikini Tops

Ruffled, off-the-shoulder sleeves was a new style shown at the Swim Fashion Show in Miami this year. The off-the-shoulder ruffled bathing suit top adds an extra flare — flamenco-style element — to a traditional top. Bikini tops can often be boring so these tops add a flounce, which is especially nice if you are just lounging. I am curious to see how the tan lines turn out though.

$125, from etsy.
$125, from etsy.

Sexy Sun Hats

Sun hats are not only a snazzy addition to beachwear, but they also keep your scalp from burning. Every woman needs one wide-brimmed hat, whether it dips down or has a firm brim. Hats come in a variety of colours and sizes, and pair well with sunglasses. I like a classic black wide-brimmed hat that dips down. It adds an air of mystery to your outfit and if you wear a bright bikini or beach cover-up, it would be an sexy combination.

$58, from Michael Kors.
$58, from Michael Kors.

Good Quality Flip-flops

Getting a good quality flip-flop is an investment that could last you several seasons as opposed to just one summer. Black flip flops embossed with a shiny logo helps to make the feet look smaller — something that can be especially appealing if you have larger feet. A nice flip-flop can help you look put-together from head to toe. Flip-flops come in a variety of colours, but neutrals are recommended because colours will wear out quickly on the beach.

Beachwear is a part of summer clothing shopping that can be stressful, but with the right attitude and tools it’s easy. Pick out each of these items and assemble them in different combinations throughout the summer and you will have a fresh look every time you hit the beach. If you are still feeling self-conscious, check out #eachbodysready, an international campaign to support every type of woman enjoying their body at the beach. Every woman’s body is beautiful, so flaunt it proudly and enjoy soaking in the sun at the same time.

Provided by #eachbodysready
Provided by #eachbodysready

What did you think of Jian Ghomeshi’s trial?

The last year has been eye-opening, and not in a good way. The case of CBC radio broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, who was accused of allegedly sexually assaulting and choking four women, really shed light on how messed up our justice system really is. It also demonstrated why so many women (and men) don’t report instances of sexual violence.

At the end of the day, Ghomeshi was found not guilty of four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking. The second round of the trials ended with an apology and a peace bond, which essentially is a contract that stipulates the accused must maintain good behaviour for a year and cannot contact the complainant. It is not an admission of guilt and it will result in no criminal record.

Ghomeshi was asked to apologize to the final complainant, Kathryn Borel. His apology mentions the power he held at the CBC and how, after serious consideration, he misunderstood how his actions could be interpreted: “I was a person in a position of authority and leadership, and I did not show the respect that I should have to Ms. Borel … I failed to understand how my words and actions would put a coworker who was younger than me, and in a junior position to mine, in an uncomfortable place.”

Borel decided to forego the trial after being presented with the option of a peace bond because it seemed “the clearest path to the truth.” In a statement following the trial, she said that “In a perfect world, people who commit sexual assault would be convicted for their crimes. Jian Ghomeshi is guilty of having done the things that I’ve outlined today. So when it was presented to me that the defence would be offering us an apology, I was prepared to forego the trial. It seemed like the clearest path to the truth. A trial would have maintained his lie, and would have further subjected me to the very same pattern of abuse that I am currently trying to stop.”

So, it’s over. After intense investigations by various media outlets, excruciating witness interviews, and hours of court time, the Ghomeshi trials are done.

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Women’s Music Panel at CMW tackles wage gap

Canadian women have fought for generations so that musicians of all genders are able to pursue their dreams and goals in music, but pay gaps and limitations still persist.

“Power Playing: Advice for Top Women In Music for the Emerging Generation” was a panel hosted by Canadian Music Week that focused on female journalists, publicists, and musicians. It featured six women that are in executive positions in the music industry and addressed the successes and issues of working women. The women on the panel did not hold back and I learned the discrepancies continue to persist in the music industry today.

Moderator and founder of Women in Music Canada, Samantha Slattery emphasized that women continue to make less money than men in the music industry. She explained that for every dollar that a male employee makes, a woman in the music industry makes 73 cents. Women continue to be compensated unfairly for their contributions and have a difficult time climbing up to executive roles.

“Women need to do a better job advocating for themselves and each other,” said panelist and senior director of Live Nation, Melissa Bubb-Clarke. “It is important to chalk it up to business objectives. Anytime that you can bring it back to a financial contribution, ask yourself what is my return on my investment and how should I be compensated for that?”

Bubb-Clarke explained that she received a bonus check that was lower than she believed she deserved for her contribution and returned it.  She was uncertain she would be receiving any check at all after making such a bold move, but learned an important lesson when she was given a bonus check with double the amount the next day.  Interestingly, Bubb-Clarke and most of the other women on the panel, began their careers in administration and landed their jobs internally only to climb in the company from there.

A recent initiative was launched by MTV called the 79 percent clock. The clock is a daily reminder for women that because of the wage gap we still experience today, 21 per cent of our workload is free when compared to men’s average salaries in the same job. It is also possible to calculate your workload on the website by plugging into the app when you start and complete work.

“Working for Women in Music Inc., I have a lot of conversations with women about insecurity. They need to realize they are worth more,” said president of Women in Music Inc., Jessica Sobhrai. “If you truly believe you deserve more and they say no, it isn’t the company for you and there is no room for growth. It’s knowing your value.”

A report  published by Canadian Music Week went on to say that women who work in the music industry work five hours more than the average Canadian, with a starting pay of 24,000 per year and 75 per cent of female employees are under 40. A low salary and long working hours create difficult criteria if you have a family. “It is a 47/7 job. It gets tricky for women in their 30’s who want to have a family,” Panelist and Director of Operations from Toronto-based music public relations company known as the Feldman Agency, Olivia Ootes said. “If we want people to stay in the entertainment industry, we need to change standards.”

Though issues of gender equality persist in the music industry, the women on the panel were hopeful and positive about the changes that were underway for the upcoming generation. Bubb-Clarke noted that women in executive positions have worked hard to carve out the path for future women leaders in music.

Though there are still struggles for women in the workplace, if we keep pushing into the executive roles in the industry and demanding fair pay, the standards will change for future generations. As the Spice Girls once said, “Girl Power!”.