Tag

women

Browsing

Woman of the Week: Dr. Nadine Wong

Life is certainly not black and white for Dr. Nadine Wong. Ever since she was a little girl growing up on the island of Jamaica, she knew that creativity was a natural aspect of her life. Wong is now she the CEO of the Alabaster Wellness Clinic in Pickering, Ontario and the creator of the Alabaster Beauty Ointment, a job that combines creativity and out-of-the-box thinking with years of study.  But how did a little girl from Jamaica get here?

While other girls were playing with plastic barbies, Wong could make toys out of things she found in her own backyard, including mango seeds. She would meticulously dye each seed and hair a different colour using Kool-Aid and host her own ‘mango beauty pageant.’

Life was never boring as she grew up in a multi-ethnic household with a grandfather from China mixed with her strong Afro-Caribbean heritage. She admired the work of her mother, who was a renowned chef that cooked for the likes of Bob Marley. At a young age, she was fortunate enough to be well-travelled, often taking family vacations to North America where she observed the changes in culture. She knew that eventually one day this place would be her home.

When her family finally moved to Toronto, the transition was difficult— “the saying, come live with me and come stay with me are two different things.” Wong remarked. Travelling on vacation was one thing, but integrating yourself into the culture and school system was a different story, which is an all-too familiar feeling for any immigrant.

While dealing with the differences in the school system, as well as suffering from dyslexia, Wong also experienced her first taste of racism from her community. Many people around her could not understand why a black girl could have the surname Wong and why she understood Mandarin and the intricacies of Chinese food.

“I was a woman of culture walking the hallways of school where I could understand the white rock or the Jamaican classic. People would often ask, where are you from, I’ve never met anyone like you?”

This uniqueness and drive helped Wong to really understand her true self  “I am not going to say I was an ‘A’ student, I struggled, I struggled because the system is only created in black and white and if you’re creative like myself, who sees in green, purple and pink, it’s just going to be a challenge.”

After a negative shift in her life where, under the influence of friends, she didn’t take school as seriously. Her father stepped in and told her she was a young woman of fashion and style, so why not explore something with cosmetology.

Wong enrolled in Marvel Beauty School for hairdressing, but something was still off. Wong saw how things were supposed to be and not what they were. She began to think about the dynamics of the hair and scalp and why exactly black hair was so different from other ethnicities. Eventually, Wong was accepted into Dudley University in North Carolina to understand ethnic hair care and obtained her Doctorate in Cosmetology from Dillard University and another Doctorate in Trichology in Alabama. Once she obtained her doctorate, Dr. Wong came back to Toronto where she was recognized as the first certified trichologist the city.

With her new knowledge and fresh ideas, Dr. Wong shared her thoughts with the black hair community, addressing issues such as alopecia, often caused from braiding. She now understood the science behind the selection of hair treatments and products, and this drive led her to the formation of her own clinic, the Alabaster Wellness Clinic.  There, she could provide a different approach to hair issues, more than a hairdresser can answer. Dr. Wong began to focus on issues dealing with hair loss and thinning, not just in the black community, but for everyone.

“I am a visual person, so I would sometimes sit and watch women, walking into a beauty salon and they would come with one mood and leave in another mood.”

The observation led Wong to consider why women have a change in mindset when it comes to temporary body alterations such as a hair style. Wong returned to school once again, to understand the human body and the dynamic of behaviour. Wong explored natural medicine and her so called “ah-ha” moment came when she realized the importance of minerals and food science affecting the human body.

It dawned on her that human beings have one thing in common. Despite our cultural background, we all use the same cosmetics— shampoos, perfumes and hygienic products. Through the study of food science, Dr. Wong now treats her clients by addressing issues that affect the body internally. The clinic can identify possibly causes or issues that are already affecting patients. Using a hair mineral analysis, where a small sample of your hair is tested, Wong can design a custom beauty program and wellness plan for her clients.

“Even if you have the best medicine and beauty products, if your minerals are low, at the end of the day your body will never be harmonized.”

Dr. Wong has come to the conclusion that every human body is different and that everything stems from the core of your body. The unity of health and wellness is one unit and it doesn’t come in parts. The products that the Alabaster Clinic offers are not cosmetic brands, but they are beauty ointments, infused with minerals made to penetrate the dermis of your skin. The key to health is absorption so products like the Pumpkin Body Butter, Oat Facial Cleanser or the Alabaster Beauty Ointment, all contain natural ingredients based on a patients needs.

Looking back, Dr. Wong has realized that her creative nature as a child continues today as an adult.

“When you look at science, you have to look at things through the lens of a child, because as adults we analyze everything.”

For more information and to keep up with all that Dr. Wong has to offer, visit alabasterwellness.com

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

Hillary Clinton stops in Toronto with praise and a look to the future

“Resist, insist, persist, and enlist.”

That was the message former Democratic presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left with the crowd of over 5,000 people squished into the Encare Centre near Exhibition Place in Toronto.

“I’m here tonight to talk about a book, but more then that to talk about the issues that confront us,” she said. “I don’t want anybody to give up because it’s hard. It’s not going to happen just because we want it to. We have to work for it.”

During the hour-long talk on Sept. 28, Clinton discussed the results of the 2016 election and looked to the future of politics, not just in the United States, but around the world.  With a nod to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his gender-equal cabinet, Clinton reminisced about what happened a year ago. She spoke candidly about the mistakes she made during the campaign, how the FBI director’s investigation directly interfered with the votes, and the continuing influence of Russia in U.S. affairs.

Finally, she spoke with grace and honesty about her experiences as a woman in politics. “I admit that I’ve always felt that I had to be careful in public, to keep my guard up. Well, that’s all gone.”

Her new memoire, What Happened, has been criticized by many current politicians in both parties for staying in the limelight following her loss to now President Donald Trump. But Clinton, as she says, is not letting go of her opinion. Her newest organization, Onward Together, was founded in May to help encourage young people to get involved in the democratic process and to support grassroots organizations that are helping engage youth in the conversation.

“I am not going anywhere except in the middle of the debate about our future!”

Here are four of the most powerful themes Clinton touched during her speech:

Women in politics

“The only way I know of to get sexism out of politics is to get more women in to politics.

For men, professional success and likability go hand in hand. Not for women. In other words, the more successful a man becomes, the more people like him. With women it’s the exact opposite. The more professionally successful we are, the less people like us. Probably a few of you in this room have an inkling as to what I’m talking about. And not only that, women are seen favourably if we advocate for others, but unfavourably if we advocate for ourselves. That struck a cord.

It is eye-rolling to see a picture of a group of white, someone elderly men, sitting around a table deciding what health care women need. So I’d like more women in politics so our politics is more representative and then the voices of families and communities and entire nations are heard. “

On accuracy and truth

“There is no such thing as an alternative fact. Despite the best efforts by some, to wage a war on reason and evidence, we can’t let that happen

We are living through an all-out assault on truth and reason. When leaders deny things we can see with our own eyes, like the size of a crowd at an inauguration, or refuse to accept sound science when it comes to urgent challenges like climate change, it isn’t just frustrating to those of us living in the fact-based universe. It is insidious and deeply subversive to democracy.

Democracy is under assault. We must insist on truth and accuracy and we must hold elected leaders and the press accountable when they do not perform on behalf of truth and accuracy.”

On Trump looming over her during the debate

“I wrote about this because I wanted to take you into my mind about what it’s like to be on a stage in front of probably 60 to 70 million people watching and to have you opponent stalking you, and making faces, and generally drawing attention towards himself in contrast to what we were supposed to be talking about – simple things like how to create jobs and give people better futures by making college affordable – so, I had prepared for the debate and I suspected he might try to do something like that. We actually practiced it. I worked on keeping my composure because I thought you’d kind of want a president who is composed. It’s one thing to practice it, and another to be there in the moment.

Yes, my mind was going, calm, composed, versus ‘whip around and say you like to intimidate women, you are not going to intimidate me, back up you creep.” It might have been more satisfying, but I’m not sure it would have been the best strategy. “

On seeing a woman as president in our lifetime

“Well I certainly hope so. I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen. Our system though is really tough. How come other countries have had at least one woman as a head of government? In our system, literally anyone can run for president. As we have seen. In our system, it comes down to the level of your devotion to the job you want to get and why you think you would make a good president and why you think you will make a difference. And it comes down to your pain threshold and I think we may well have in 2020 maybe 20 to 25 who will run.

Eventually, we will have a woman president and I hope she is someone I can agree with so I can support her!”

 

Featured photo by Gage Skidmore.

Breaking: Saudi Arabia King gives women right to drive

In extremely surprising news, King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a decree allowing women to be given driving licences. According to media reports, this royal decree will lead to the creation of a ministerial body that will provide advice and implement the decree by June 2018.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that does not permit women to drive. Women who disobeyed this law were fined, beaten, or imprisoned.

This decree came out a week after the government launched a reform program that allowed women to enter a sports stadium to celebrate a national festivity and attend a concert. The government has been criticized by those within the clergy for gender-mixing.

 

Nova Scotia joins other provinces in Canada offering free abortion pill

The government of Nova Scotia joins the rest of Canada in offering free abortion pills to women who require it. They will also no longer require a doctor’s referral to book a surgical abortion at the Termination of Pregnancy Unit (TPU), Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. In the next few months, the Nova Scotia Health Authority will also be setting up a phone line so women can call and make appointments.

Nova Scotia was the only province to require a doctor’s referral for a surgical abortion.

Very slowly, provinces throughout Canada have pledge to publicly fund Mifegymiso, an abortion pill that will terminate pregnancy up to 49 days from the start of a woman’s last menstrual period. Mifegymiso is a combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, and is considered an easy and safe alternative to surgery.

A prescription from a doctor will still be required to get Mifegymiso from the pharmacy. The doctor must do an ultrasound to determine if there are any health risks; however, those women will be given “same day and urgent care” access to an ultrasound, meaning they don’t have to wait a few weeks in order to perform the tests.

The drug itself can cost up to $350, making it a significant barrier for women. That’s why universal coverage of the Mifegymiso is such an important development — no longer should women have to wait until they are eight weeks pregnant to get a surgical abortion. They now have much more control over their reproductive rights.

“We’re supporting more choice for women when it comes to their reproductive health,” said Kelly Regan, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, said in a statement. “This will ensure all Nova Scotia women have access to this option.”

The government estimates the cost of covering Mifegymiso will be between $175,000 and $200,000 per year; although women will be encouraged to use private insurance coverage first.

Alberta announced their intention to cover Mifegymiso in July, with Ontario following suit in August.

The last barrier to women’s control over their reproductive rights is free access to birth control.

 

A touch of pink: women-only co-working spaces expanding in Toronto

If you are looking for a chic and modern co-working space, you are in luck. Toronto has added another women’s-only co-working space in the heart of the city. This multi-use space offers female entrepreneurs a place to connect, network, communicate, and help each other build up their brand. This concept is used in other cities like New York, where the offices almost become a retreat for women with the addition of several amenities. The space is supposed to represent the total opposite of a ‘frat-boy’ dominated office space with a fridge full of beer and beer pong.

The hope is that a feminine environment will help women feel comfortable, motivated, and productive. This idea has developed over the last two years, starting with little pop-up spaces at conferences and conventions that were inviting women. Shelley Zells is the founder of The Girls Lounge, a global pop-up space that offers a professional working environment with a chic ambience. The lounges have several pop-up locations in different countries each month.

The Wing in New York City is another popular co-working space that is exclusive to women. A recent study from Indiana University shows that women feel less pressured in a women’s-only environment. The study also concluded that women suffer from higher levels of cortisol in male dominated workspaces and are more likely to socially isolate themselves. The Wing does require membership, which starts at $215/ month. The membership for these places vary and can cost between $100-$700 monthly, although some places offer hourly or day passes.

The Wing New York

These spaces have become a warm and welcoming space for like-minded women to interact and work on their skills while networking. Places like The Wing are popular because of its design layout, which is very chic and clean, with just the perfect touch of millennial pink. There is a special lactation room for mothers and a beauty bar that offers makeup or fresh blowouts.

“The Parlor” The Wing NYC

Some co-working spaces are described as “boutique spaces” and offer various amenities ranging from beauty to wellness. Toronto joins the list of other big US cities/states that have female friendly co-working boutique spaces, including New York, St Louis, Phoenix, Southern California, and Washington D.C.

The most recent Toronto space opened on Sept 18 and is called Make Lemonade on Adelaide St. West. Make Lemonade is all about offering a beautiful office space to help women feel more productive than they would if they were just living out of a coffee shop. The belief behind Make Lemonade is that you can make any situation sweet no matter how sour. The concept of women-only also comes from the saying “empowered women empower women.” by artist and educator, Jenna Kutcher. The aim is to encourage women to get the job done, but to also be empowered along the way with cute and artsy motivational messages that are playful and simply pretty.

Make Lemonade- Toronto

The aesthetic of Make Lemonade is pleasing with tones of pink and yellow, and they offer $25 drop-in passes or full membership rates where you can even get your own office for $500/month, which includes 24/7 access with your own personal key. Women-only co-working spaces are slowly growing in Toronto and Make Lemonade joins other places like Shecosystem on Bloor Street West that offers wellness packages in addition to co-working.

 

What are your thoughts on women-only co-working spaces?

 

Canada ranks number one for civil service gender equality

By Leanne Benn

The Global Government Forum, an organization that measures standards for gender- equality worldwide, ranks Canada as number one out of any G20 country. This ranking places Canada at the top of the civil service sector for having women in leadership positions.

According to the Women Leaders Index, released in September 2017, 46.4 per cent of senior civil servants in Canada are women. There is a 3.3 percentage point difference between Canada and Australia and the gap has been slowly closing over the past few years.

The data was gathered over three years from 2013 to 2016 and measured gender equality in leadership roles in G20 and EU countries. The goal of this forum is to highlight the countries that are leading the way for gender equal roles in federal or national governments, therefore encouraging other countries to do the same.

This is the first year the data has included research from countries outside the G20 with the inclusion of European Union countries. The data collected from the EU shows that these countries are more advanced in terms of gender equality than those included in the G20. Among 28 EU nations the average is 40 per cent high-ranking women.

This data analysis covers a broader base and as a result new fields of analysis were included this year. In addition to civil service leadership and women elected into political office, the forum examined women on private sector boards. It should be noted that in these sub-sector datas collections, Canada ranked low for women in private sector boards.

The discussion of gender inequality for high ranking positions has been long analyzed and female talent should be promoted within government structures. Canada’s most senior civil servant as of January 2016 was Janice Charette. Charette, in response to the index, said public service should represent the population in order to show they are doing the best job possible. The polices and the practices of high ranking countries can have an internal impact on HR management, staff development, recruitment, and the promotion of women.

“If you look at all the research on this, the value proposition for gender equality and diversity in leadership positions, whether in the public sector or the private sector, is very clear,” she said in the report. “And I would say that in the public sector it’s even more important, because if we are to have credible public service structures and institutions that are able to give good, thoughtful, strategic advice to governments, they have to understand and represent the population they are there to serve. That’s absolutely critical.”

However, there must be a political appetite in order to change the public leadership roles for women. For instance, both Canada and France have a cabinet that includes 50 per cent women. A strong political role is required for gender diversity and this is the only way conditions may improve.

How do you feel about Canada’s ranking and what are your thought on gender equality on a global level?

Stick to your knitting Minnan-Wong, Keesmaat is out of your league

“Stick to your knitting.” Reaction to this phrase can be mixed — and it completely depends on the context in which it is used.

For example, using it in a business meeting to indicate that employees should play to their strengths while allowing others to do the same is a commonly acceptable use of the phrase. “Stick to the knitting” when used by a professional colleague to describe an incredibly accomplished woman who has her foot in all aspects of her craft can come across as derogatory, sexist, and downright rude.

Toronto Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong is being accused of sexism for using the phrase in relation to outgoing Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat in an interview with the Toronto Sun last week. Minnan Wong said this in response to Keesmaat’s use of Twitter and how she debates municipal affairs publicly on the platform.

The history of “stick to your knitting” is a bit obscure, but the phrase has been used widespread in the business community since the mid 1800s. Many business professionals use this phrase when giving advice to young entrepreneurs. Stick to what you know and let others stick to what they know. That way you have the benefit of different experience instead of pretending to be an expert in all fields.

And yet, many politicians get in trouble for using this common phrase — and it’s all because of the context. Especially considering most of the time it’s used to describe women.

Despite its history, the phrase in itself is slightly derogatory. The person who uses it is telling their co-worker they don’t value their opinions. As a woman, this is especially offensive because women fight hard to be heard in the first place. In the case of Keesmaat, she has expertise in city building and most of her tweeting revolves around different aspects of this field. To say she shouldn’t have an opinion on how the City of Toronto is run and/or built is a bit farfetched and, frankly, sexist.

There is also the democracy angle that makes the use of this phrase even more strange. Minnan-Wong decided that posting discussion on city affairs on Twitter was not appropriate, but isn’t public discussion a foundation of democracy? Keesmaat has previously told Women’s Post that defending her planning choices and discussing them with the public was a critical step for accountability. In that case, her activity on social media is an extension of her role as city planner and an active citizen.

“If you have planners gone wild you could end up in a totalitarian type of environment, so the due diligence that comes from the vigour of being questioned by councillors and by the public is an essential part of the planning process from my perspective,” she said.

Why shouldn’t Keesmaat, or any person for that matter, use social media as a platform for public discussion? If everyone on Twitter was told to stick to their knitting, then it would be a pretty boring place. The whole purpose of social media is to allow people to share information and opinions.

And then there is the final point — why would Minnan-Wong care about the social media habits of a city staff member who is leaving their position in a month’s time? The only reason to use this phrase is to remind them that once they leave city hall, their opinions shouldn’t matter. Well, what does that mean for the rest of us? I hope Minnan-Wong’s constituents don’t have any opinions they want to share or ideas they want to suggest, because it appears like he won’t be listening to them.

Ultimately, Minnan-Wong made the same mistake many politicians make — trying to create a sound bite using clichés, hyperbole, and commonly used phrases in order to capture the attention of the media and the public.

Looks like he did — just not in the way he expected.

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

When buying lingerie can make the news

Clutch your pearls! Just recently, radio business reporter, Michael Kane was strolling through a shopping mall in Toronto and he noticed something that peaked his interest. He decided to tweet his recount, “ I’m just a reporter: saw two modestly dressed women with religious headgear come out of Victoria’s Secret store in the Eaton Centre.”

It’s 2017, so why is it shocking that women were spotting leaving a lingerie store? Women of all categories are entitled to wear underwear if they choose to do so. Much less, why is it an issue that these women were modest and wearing ‘religious headgear’? Muslim women are women too and it should not be tweet-worthy that they were seen exiting a lingerie store.

Mr Kane’s tweet was not warmly welcomed in such a multicultural city like Toronto. For a society that prides itself on diversity and celebrating various cultural backgrounds, scenarios like this are borderline funny and infuriating. People on social media began grabbing on to the phrase “ I’m just a reporter” and responded to Kane with tweets such as “I’m just a reporter: saw a group of White teenagers, in Lululemon outfits playing basketball in a public park.” Scenarios like this does not open a door for positive discussion, instead it brings up issues of ethnicity, social hierarchy, and stereotypes.

Kane made a poor attempt in claiming his tweet was meant to celebrate diversity and promote positive feedback, saying he wanted to bring “news to some, joyful observation to others,” while responding to one Twitter user. The tweet was unnecessary and though he did not say Muslim women, it is clearly implied. Kane continues to gather angry responses and some people even noted this casting of Muslim women as ‘others’ revealing Kane’s cultural insensitivity and intentional or unintentional views as a white male living in a diverse society.

Kane continued to defend himself against the critics, saying he was just sharing his views and he suggested people not judge him. The problem is that people on social media are hypocritical — people cast judgement, but don’t want want to accept judgment cast upon themselves. The tweet, and the conversation that followed, is entirely prejudice and unmindful. Needless to say, Kane did not win his diversity battle and his poor attempt of celebrating another culture seemed creepy, sexist, racist, and why was this a story worth the attention of others on social media?

Kane has since deactivated his twitter and honestly, I’m just a reporter: but it’s time to end cultural, sexist and ethnic insensitivity, evaluate your thoughts, and own up to your actions.