Understanding Gender Neutral Pronouns

There is no doubt that I am very passionate about addressing issues related to equity and social justice, especially any work related to anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-sexism and anti-homophobia. For me to fully understand and advocate for social justice and equity, it is important that I am aware of current challenges, barriers and inclusionary practices. However, I would be the first to admit that my knowledge of gender neutral pronouns requires further learning and understanding to ensure I am respectfully honouring the identities of staff and students (in fact, all people) in my community. So, I did some research for my own professional growth and I found out some interesting facts that I would like to share with you. 

It is understood that people who identify outside of a gender binary most often use nonbinary pronouns that are not gender specific. These include: they/them/their use in the singular form. However, I learned that there are other pronouns that are used, such as: ze (pronounced “zee”) in place of she/he and hir (pronounced “here”) in place of his/him/her. This was new learning for me that opened my eyes to the ways in which I address individuals and the assumptions I often make about their identities.

Assuming one’s identity and choice of pronouns based on how they look and/or how they dress can be false and disrespectful to one’s gender identity and gender expression. I learned that pronouns may or may not match one’s gender expression, such as how the person dresses, looks, behaves or what their name is.

In recognition and commitment to equity and inclusionary practices, as well as the Human Rights policies in Canada, it is encouraging to see more people, including workplaces and organizations, supporting individual’s use of self-identified pronouns, in place of assumed pronouns based one’s sex assigned at birth or other’s perceptions of physical appearance. It might seem a simple gesture to some, but it’s an important recognition for others. It’s about letting someone know that you accept their identity as they are. 

The response to the following questions might help you better understand gender pronouns and how you can affirm someone’s gender identity:

What’s the right way to find out a person’s pronouns?

If I was introducing myself to someone new, I would say, “Hi. My name is Gary. I use he/him pronouns. What about you?” However, do keep in mind that for many people who don’t identify as cisgender, it could be more difficult for them to share their pronouns, especially in spaces where they don’t know people and/or they don’t feel comfortable or accepted.

How is “they/them” used as a singular pronoun?

“They” is already commonly used as a singular pronoun when you are talking about someone and you don’t know who they are. Using they/them pronouns for someone you do know simply represents a slightly different way of thinking. In this case, you’re asking someone to not act as if they don’t know you, but to use non-binary vocabulary when they’re communicating with/about you.

What if I make a mistake and ‘misgender’ someone, or use the wrong words?

I would simply apologize for my error. It’s perfectly natural to not know the right words to use, especially when meeting someone for the first time. Consider addressing groups of people as “everyone”, “colleagues”, “friends”, “class” or “students” instead of “boys and girls.” The important thing is making that non-assuming connection with the person and being open to learning new things and new ways of understanding one’s identity. 

What does it mean if a person uses the pronouns “he/they” or “she/they”?

That means that the person uses both pronouns, and you can alternate between those when referring to them. So, either pronoun would be fine. However, be mindful that some people don’t mind those pronouns being interchanged for them, but for others, they might use one specific pronoun in one context and another set of pronouns in another context/space, dependent on maybe safety or comfortability in the space they occupy. The best approach is to listen to how people refer to themselves.

ETFO has a wealth of resources to support your teaching and learning of gender neutral pronouns. I found their Social Justice website very helpful in my research and understanding of gender neutral pronouns. In fact, ETFO has plenty of ETFO 2SLGBTQ+ Resources for students of all ages.

“Pink is a Girl Colour.”

If you teach young children, you may often hear their opinions about what is meant for ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ voiced on a daily basis:

 

“Pink is for girls” 

“Boys don’t wear pink”

 

Analyzing this through a feminist lens, this ideology and the socially constructed roles and responsibilities associated with gender are forced upon children from birth – and arguably even before birth. If you don’t believe me, think about the colour of blankets given to swaddle infants in hospitals. 

This is not just about pink. It’s about creating a learning space for students to be themselves, feel empowered and continuing to challenge injustices they encounter now and every day.

How can we challenge gender stereotypes in education?

  1. In a previous post, celebrating International Women’s Day – I stated that “You cannot have feminism without intersectionality”. In order for growth to occur, we must represent all people in our pedagogy -students who are part of the ​​2SLGBTQ+  community, students who are Black, FNMI students, students who belong to racialized and marginalized groups and students who have disabilities. Not only should students see themselves reflected, but their families, their friends, their neighbours, their community members, and other humans that walk this earth with them. We cannot dismantle one single stereotype without teaching from an ant-racist, anti-oppressive framework. 
  2. We can be mindful of the learning materials we use in our classrooms. From toys to textbooks, there are hidden messages about gender everywhere. One of my favourite (but really least favourite) examples to think about is kitchen centres for young children. Kitchen centres are wonderful learning spaces in Kindergarten classrooms and provide many opportunities for developing social and emotional skills, practicing math concepts and promoting oral language. Now, think about why many of these sets are pink? 
  3. We can include critical literacy and books that challenge social norms in our program on a regular basis.
  4. We can critically reflect on our own understandings of gender as a social construct, amplify the voices marginalized people and commit to continuous learning and growth by actively listening to our students needs. 

 

Pink is for everyone. 

 

 

On Being a Queer Educator in Ontario Schools

If you read Part 1, you’ll know by now that my experience as a student sucked. By the time I went to teacher’s college, I had fully embraced my queerness. I had a reasonably good handle on my identity. As I took my first baby steps into the world of teaching, I had decided that I was going to do better for my students than any of my teachers did for me.

Oh, to have that same youthful optimism and fire.

After ten years, so much of it has been chipped away by constant reminders that the school system and almost everyone in it are still perpetuating the idea that there is a “default” and then there are aberrant identities that are outside of that norm.

Think about your experience as an educator and whether any of these moments have happened at your school:

  • Being asked to “balance” the distribution of boys and girls when creating class lists.
  • Playing “boys vs. girls” in Phys Ed.
  • Having a “boys team” and a “girls team” for intramurals.
  • Creating groups of desks to intentionally mix genders.
  • Having “boys” and “girls” washroom passes.
  • Splitting the class based on gender for health class.
  • Saying “boys and girls” to address your class.

Do those feel innocent to you? No big deal? Look, it’s okay if you have done these things and never thought twice about them. Most of us have. But we have to acknowledge that those types of small actions contribute to the sense that we have a specific set of expectations around what it means to be a “boy” or a “girl.” That we expect all students to even fit into that binary. We have to be better than this.

Students notice these things. Some of them are obvious, like the Phys Ed example, while others you may think are more “behind the scenes” like class lists, but students notice. And when students notice those things, they draw conclusions about what the Institution of Education thinks about who is attending their schools.

And then, there’s how educators approach students who don’t fit those expectations.

I can’t tell you how much it hurts every single time I hear these things:

They’re too young to know they’re trans.

They just want attention.

I think they’re lying.

The other kids won’t get it and will all want to use the all-gender washroom.

I have to inform their parents. 

Fine, but I’m not going to change how I teach.

I can’t talk about this in class because parents will get upset.

I don’t know enough about this to teach any of it.

I don’t have time to do anything that isn’t in the curriculum.

Why do we need a neutral washroom if we don’t have any trans or NB students?

You think you’re commiserating with a colleague. You think you’re just expressing your frustration and stress with a colleague. What you’re doing, when you’re saying these things to a queer colleague, is often retraumatizing them. You’re reminding them of their otherness. You’re showing them that you consider their existence extracurricular and optional.

You’re showing not only your students but your colleagues, too, that you do not think their existence is worth the time to learn about, integrate into your teaching, and normalize.

But wait! There’s more!

Remember back in Part 1, when I talked about fear? And how it kept coming up at the PD day a few weeks back when we were discussing how to use a 2SLGBTQ+ resource in the classroom?

I want to talk about that fear.

When you say you’re scared of parent backlash, what exactly is it about that idea that scares you? What do you think will happen?

Will a parent post about you on social media?

Will a parent complain about you to the board?

Will a parent remove their child from your class?

Or are you scared that a parent will make an assumption that you are queer?

Are you scared that a parent will decide that you are unfit to teach their child?

 

Most importantly, why is it that you think that your fear is more important than your responsibility to your students to support them, validate them, see them, and show them a world where they are not something other and are, instead, just… normal?

 

Do you realize that your 2SLGBTQ+ colleagues and students have lived with fear their entire life? That we hesitate before putting our family photos up in our classrooms, the way that some of you do without thinking twice, because we are worried about the reaction?

 

And we notice, Reader, when you turn equity lessons into events instead of building it into your everyday teaching. We notice when you inform (let’s call it what it is: warn) families before discussing equity in the classroom. We notice when you give families the chance to opt their child out of lessons on equity.

As a queer parent, when I get a letter home “informing me” about an upcoming lesson where the class will be talking about a “challenging topic,” it signals to me that the educator and the school behind this letter consider this topic to be controversial. That there will be different points of view and that those have to be “respected.”

But my life is not a point of view. I have an absolute, inalienable, unassailable RIGHT to exist. 2SLGBTQ+ people are not a matter of debate, we are not an opinion – our existence is objectively right and we have an obligation, as educators, to promote and defend that existence just as fervently as we do all others.

When you leave space for debate, when you “respect all points of view” in your classroom, you’re telling your queer students and colleagues that you think it’s okay that some people believe that their existence is wrong.

And we notice that.

We notice when you refer to teaching about 2SLGBTQ+ as a challenging topic. Why is it challenging? 

Does it make you uncomfortable? Examine that, because that’s some problematic nonsense right there. 

Do you feel like you don’t know enough? Then educate yourself, just like you probably look up half of the Science curriculum every time you change grades. Or maybe that’s just me.

Are you scared of having to defend your teaching? Your board and union have both taken public stances in defense of 2SLGBTQ+ rights and they’re protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, so settle down.

Do you think you’re going to face a lot of questions from students that you may not know how to answer? Isn’t that… pretty much a daily experience in teaching, no matter what subject? Embrace learning WITH your students.

I’m glad that it’s becoming more commonplace to talk about 2SLGBTQ+ experiences, identities, and perspectives in class, but if you feel like you need to or even can warn your students’ families before discussing equity in the classroom, quite frankly, you aren’t talking about equity often enough.

 

Finally, I want you to know all the good things I notice, too.

I notice when you introduce yourself with your pronouns.

I notice when you don’t say “moms and dads” to your students.

I notice when you teach with books showing queer experiences – both as the lesson itself and without making the character’s queerness be THE POINT, because hey, we’re also just regular people doing regular things and it doesn’t all have to be about being queer.

I notice when you tell your students about the gender neutral washroom on their First Day of School tour.

I notice when you don’t say “boys and girls” to get your students’ attention.

I notice when you embrace inclusive intramural teams.

I notice when I can’t find any of the 2SLGBTQ+ picture books because they’re all out in colleagues’ classrooms being used.

I notice when I walk by your students and overhear them talking about what they’re learning in class.

I notice when students feel safe to explore their identity in your classroom.

I notice when students feel safe to come out in your classroom.

I notice when you don’t whisper “gay” like it’s a bad word.

I notice when you don’t wait for me to be the one to say, “This long standing practice is problematic and rooted in homophobia. Can we change it?”

 

There’s a long road ahead of us. When educators are more scared of community backlash than they are of harming their students, we have to call that out.

Your inaction is causing harm.

Your fear is causing harm.

Your students deserve better than that.

Boys vs Girls

A friendly competition?

No. 

No. 

No no no no no. 

 

Boys vs girls in sports? Boys vs girls in games? Boys vs girls in math? 

No again. 

 

Here’s why:

  1. Boys vs girls contests assume there are only two genders and reinforces this idea to children. 
  2. This competition forces children to ‘choose’ which side they are on. For those cisgender students, the choice is simple. For students who are transgender, or identify with genders outside of the two given choices, this is much more complicated. Not necessarily because they are unsure of their gender, but because self-identifying in front of the entire class can be detrimental. Students may not be ready to discuss their gender identity, do not feel comfortable, fear being outed, or they may be working on discovering and understanding who they are. 
  3. Gender roles and societal expectations associated with those roles need to be demolished. Gone are the days where we should teach little girls exclusively to be caregivers while leaving the science, technology and math to the boys. Pinning ‘boys’ against ‘girls’ presents to students the idea that there should be some sort of contest, some sort of competition, rather than collaboration amongst all.

Educators who are seeking to make groups may use alternative approaches to divide their class in order to empower students and create a positive classroom environment. Here’s some ways I like to divide students into groups:

  1. By their birth month
  2. The amount of letters in their name 
  3. ‘This or That’ – ask students to decide, for example, “Do you like blue or green?”
  4. Good old fashioned randomization! Use popsicle sticks with student names, random name generators from the internet, student pictures, the list goes on. Use whatever works best for your classroom.

If you have any more thoughts or ideas on how to make non-gendered groups in the classroom, I’d love to hear from you!

Creating a Safe Space for 2SLGBTQ+ Students and Families

Growing up as a queer kid in a small town, my experience in school wasn’t always very welcoming. Everything felt like it was designed in a way that assumed that I – and everyone – was cis and straight, from the books we read to the forms we took home and the way everyone spoke in class. Because I didn’t fit into the world they were presenting me, it felt like there was something wrong with me.

When I became a teacher, I made a promise to myself that I would do everything I could to avoid doing the things that made me so uncomfortable as a student. I don’t want any of my students to feel like they or their families aren’t seen, valued, and most of all, completely normal. 

There are many simple ways that you can make your classroom more welcoming to queer students, families, and colleagues. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are some things I would like you to consider for your own practice:

Drop the words “Mother” and “Father” from your communication home. I still see educators doing things like sending home student information forms with a ‘Mother’ field and a ‘Father’ field. This only serves to ‘other’ students whose families don’t fit this image. While you’re at it, why not make sure you have more than two fields for parents/guardians?

Stop playing “boys versus girls” or using gender as a way to split up students in class. Not only does it reinforce archaic notions of some imaginary divide between genders, but it also puts some of your queer students in an awkward and difficult position. You should never be creating a situation where a student has to out themselves or mis-gender themselves just to participate.

Include 2SLGBTQ+ content in your class without always making being queer “the point” of the lesson. While it’s important to openly discuss queer issues and perspectives in your classroom, it’s also important to make sure that you are including queer content without feeling like you need to justify it in some way. Your students need to see themselves in your teaching, but they also need to believe that you see them as a normal part of the world that doesn’t always need to be pointed out, discussed, and defended.

Schitt’s Creek did that very well, if you are familiar with the show. The writers included queer storylines without making them about trauma. They presented the world how it should be, how it can be, and it was beautiful.

Don’t wait until you have a queer student (that you know about) to offer support to your students. My school has a few genderless washrooms and I make sure to point them out to my students in the first week of school so that they know they’re available. I have a “Positive Space” sign up in my classroom at all times. I keep my language inclusive, making sure that I’m not saying things like “your mom and dad” and instead say “your family”. I share information about Youthline the same way that I share info about Kids Help Phone.

Stop assuming kids are “too young” to talk about the 2SLGBTQ+ community. There is no such thing. Kids aren’t too young to learn about cis/het families, so what’s the difference?

Teach gender-neutral language. I teach FSL, and I introduce gender-neutral pronouns alongside “il” and “elle”. It takes no extra effort on my part – I’m already teaching pronouns in Language Arts. You know what’s really cool? When they have the language ahead of time, they often use it openly, without hesitation, and without prejudice.


There are so many other things you can do to create a more welcoming space for your queer students and families, but I’d be here all night if I tried to capture them all. Those are just a few suggestions of small but meaningful changes you can make to help your students feel safe and seen. I hope you give them some thought.

The Gender Gap in Technology

Quote for blog

According to a recent report* by ICTC (the Information and Technology Information Council) Canadian women represent about 50% of the overall workforce but represent only 25% of the technology industry workforce.  Of the 100 major tech companies in Canada only 5 have female CEOs and 1 Co-CEO.   26% of the tech companies have no women in senior leadership at all.  There is a gender wage gap in the industry of $7,000-$20,00 per year.  When I read these statistics I wondered as educators, what can we do about the gender gap in technology?  This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a place to begin:

1.  Build her confidence in her abilities.

2. Cultivate a community of supportive peers.

3.  Provide a STEM/STEAM club for girls.

4. Ensure that access to technology and computer experiences is encouraged and inclusive.

5. Foster interest in computing careers.

6. Be a role model as a LEARNER.

May 11th is National Girls Learning Code Day.  If you are looking to encourage coders in your school, why not begin on May 11th?  Below you will find links to resources for beginning coding.  Many students code on their own at home and may appreciate the opportunity to mentor fellow students.  The resources attached will get you started.  There is no special equipment or robotics required.  Teachers do not have to be expert coders to encourage their students.  Teachers can be role models of resilience, risk taking and problem solving by learning alongside their students.  Teachers only need to open the door and expose their students to the opportunities.

Girls Who Code Canada

National Girls Learn Code Day

Canada Learning Code

Scratch

Hour of Code

Code.org

 

*Cutean, A., Ivus, M. (2017). The Digital Talent Dividend: Shifting Gears in a Changing Economy. Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). Ottawa, Canada.

Elaborated and written by Alexandra Cutean (Director, Digital Innovation Research and Policy). and Maryna Ivus (Senior Analyst, Research and Policy) with generous support from the ICTC Research and Policy Team.

Social Advocate through Children’s Story

While many are marching to show the Ford Government our thoughts about the budget cuts, I am reflecting on how we can safely ride out this storm. As a Social Advocate for equal rights and positive outcomes for our children and this world, I am with my sisters and brothers at Queens Park today in spirit and via social media. I find myself planning ways to help the education team and students get through this next tumultuous time while supporting each other and focusing on self care. #ETFOstrong

This week I was privileged to be part of an audience engaged by the “beautiful” and talented writer, Helaine Becker. http://www.helainebecker.com/abouttheauthor.html

She presented to our school community to Grades 4-8 and then to Grades K-4.  I always enjoy an inspiring hero and artist who can inform and bring all those social justice issues that I am passionate about to the forefront with the power of words and books.

I am a woman science and mathematics teacher. This book excites me. It encompasses so many issues that I am passionate about.  “Counting on Katherine” tells the story of Katherine Johnson and the societal blocks she faced through her life.  She faced racism and sexism at every turn yet never stopped believing in herself. This story brings the truth to us about how she improved the world. She is one of the many previously unknown hero’s of my time.

countingonkatherinerevised_cover

During the very “beautiful” and talented Helaine’s presentation, I found myself and the school population, captivated with her presentation. She spoke of so many subjects which excite me. These topics open opportunities and possibilities for the many I educate. Helaine spoke of how she wrote about feminism, racism and suppression. She included topics of mathematics, science, space, and the “power of the pen”. She introduced the dream of writing to many during her amazing and dynamic presentation of her children’s books.

Thank you, Helaine for introducing me to another hero. I will now share Katherine Johnson’s story with many for years to come.

Departure

A friend shared their thoughts on why cars have huge windshields? To them, it was so drivers and passengers could get the widest/fullest view of what was to come on the road ahead.

They added that the rearview mirror was smaller because it was meant to serve only as a reminder of the road already traveled, and that our focus would be best fixed on the future rather than what has happened in the past.

As part of our role as lead learners in the classroom we are constantly asked to prepare for our students for the future. How well are educators preparing for the future when they are equipping themselves with prescribed resources that are older than their learners? At times it seems like the rearview mirror is blocking the entire windshield. For some, the road ahead is so cluttered by the past that it’s hard to see at all.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleybuxo/15321215129/ CC by-SA 2.0
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleybuxo/15321215129/ CC by-SA 2.0

I wonder what it would be like to drive where the only view was like a peep hole on a door?

In itself, there is nothing wrong with using a tried and true resource in the classroom. We all have our favourites. My friend said that they use the windshield-rearview mirror analogy when they speak with people who are nervous about taking risks or are so stuck in the past that they are forgetting to live in the present or consider what’s coming.

What I am suggesting is that it should never come at the peril of losing sight of the future and our surroundings based solely on what has worked or been purchased in the past. Our schools are full of textbooks that are outdated the moment they are published. How are you keeping learning fresh and moving forward in your classroom when it comes to resources? I have cycled Language and Math resources this year. I try to give my students something fresh that has not been recycled from previous years’ plans. It took some time and searching, but the energy, encouragement, and engagement have been worth the effort.

As we wind down the instructional year, it might be a good idea to say goodbye to some old friends in order to welcome in some new ones. You might discover something new that has been waiting for you and if not a change is always as good as a rest. I get that change is difficult. I know that veering off of a familiar path can cause many to worry over the uncertainty. I promise that the destination will be worth the decision to make that departure. Make sure you have lots of windshield washer fluid to wash the bugs off on your journey. After all, you want to see the amazing destinations waiting on the road ahead. Bon voyage.

The post within a post

When I wrote this piece, I was intentional with my pronoun choices. In the opening paragraphs, they, them, and their were used instead of she, he, his, and her. I learned this from a wonderful PD session with a former student from the YRDSB who spoke on gender fluidity with our school staff. I mention this here to point out that the use of them, their, and they would serve us well in our writing to recognize that gender and identity are still often not being considered in all spaces, and that our ability to be inclusive and open can be challenged and stretched even further.

If you would like to see more about this please check out this amazing student voice talk by Noah Gibson shared at the YRDSB Quest for Well-being A Collective Responsibility.

Thank you for reading.

Gender Equity in 2018

 

women-clipart-at-work-6

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms outlines what gender equity should look like … but do women really have gender equity in 2018?

In education and workplace participation, gender equity has made some strides.

  • in 2015, women are almost as likely to have a high school (82.5% women vs. 89.3% men) or university degree (83.1% women vs. 89.9% men)
  • in 2015, 77.5% of women were employed compared to 85.3% of men, up from 21.6% in 1950 and 65.2% in 1983
  • in 2015, women are more likely to be away from work (30.0% women vs. 23.9% men) and more likely to be away for a full week of work (38.4% women vs. 24.8% men)
  • in 2015, women are more likely to work part-time (18.9% women vs. 5.5% men)
  • in 2015, women are more likely to do volunteer work (67.2% women vs. 53.0% men)
  • In 1976 – men had higher levels of employment based on the marital status
    • 1976 men – 78.0 % employed single/never married, 92.7% employed married/common-law, and 82.3% employed separated/divorced/widowed
  • In 2015 – women employment rates of women no longer differ based on marital status
    • 1976 women – 79.4% employed single/never married, 44.6% employed married/common-law, and 59.2% employed separated/divorced/widowed

Nevertheless, challenges remain:

Too few women are advancing into leadership roles.

  • Women make up just 21.6% of Financial Post 500* board member (2016)

Women are under-represented in politics in 2015.

  • 26% of those elected to the 42nd Parliament are women
  • women made up 28% of municipal councillors and only 18% of mayors

Women continue to be responsible for the majority of care giving and household unpaid work.

  • women vs. men still spend (25.7 hrs/week) more time caring for their children (in 2010 women 50.1 vs. 24.4 hours/week on unpaid child care)
  • women vs. men are twice as likely to spend more than 10 hours per week unpaid work caring for seniors (49% women vs. 25% men)
  • women vs. men spend 5.5 hours more on housework (13.8 hrs women vs. 8.3 hrs men per week)

Women in the workforce tend to earn less than men.

  • women earn $0.876 for every dollar men earn, largely as a result of inequity between women and men within occupations (2015)

Women continue to experience high rates of gender-based violence.

  • Women have a 20% higher risk of violent victimization than men (2015)
  • Women account for 87% of victims of sexual offences and 76% of victims of criminal harassment (2015)

Some groups are at particular risk for gender-based violence.

  • 10% of aboriginal women were about three times as likely to report being a victim of spousal violence as 3% of non-Aboriginal women (2015)

 

How does this impact ETFO members?

 

As 82% of elementary teachers identify as women, women’s issues directly impact elementary teachers.

 

  • With too few women (21.6%) in leadership roles, women’s voices are not heard.
  • With under-representation of women in politics, women’s needs and equality are not addressed.
  • With more women spending their time, away from work, on unpaid work (caring for children and seniors, housework, volunteer work) , this unpaid work is not valued.
  • With women taking more time off work than men, this means women pay for higher sick leaves and long term leaves (on a personal note, when my children were young, I used 15 days of vacation days, before teaching, to take care of sick children and had no vacation that year). Again, women’s time at work is not valued as much as men’s time at work – if it was, more men would be taking time off to deal with family responsibilities.

Further, our ETFO colleagues are 20% more likely to be victims of violence than men and 87% of victims of  sexual violence. Our aboriginal ETFO colleagues are 3 times more likely to be victims of spousal violence.

Fortunately, female and male ETFO members are paid equitably based on experience and qualifications.

How do we change this?

  • Advocate for women leaders and leadership
  • Advocate for men to take on more caregiving and household responsibilities
  • Advocate for better, more inexpensive and supplemented childcare
  • Start small by changing attitudes and behaviours of women’s paid and unpaid work
  • Challenge gender stereotypes and subtle sexism encountered every day
  • Challenge sexism and discrimination that allow gender inequality to exist
  • Go for leadership roles and run for office

How can you change this on a personal level?

  • Expect men to take as much responsibility as women to care for children and seniors
  • Expect men to take parental leave so women to go back to work
  • Expect men to take as much responsibility as women for household chores
  • Hire house cleaners to clean your house, even if they clean part of the house
  • Advocate for better, more affordable/supplemented childcare, where the childcare workers are fairly paid

 

In Canada, gender equity is exists but it’s not completely equal. Let’s hope women can make similar strides in improving stats in leadership, unpaid work, and gender violence that have happened in education and employment. Let’s hope in the next 10 years, the stats noted above will look more equal, more equitable, and less biased towards women.

Happy International Womens’ Day 2018

Collaboratively Yours,

Deb Weston

Interesting Resources:

http://interactive.unwomen.org/multimedia/timeline/womenunite/en/index.html#/1840

http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/multimedia/2018/2/infographic-rural-women

http://interactive.unwomen.org/multimedia/infographic/changingworldofwork/en/index.html

http://www.un.org/en/women/endviolence/

https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/International-Womens-Day/602161

https://www.teachstarter.com/blog/free-international-womens-day-resources-activities/

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/School-Resources

http://www.caaws.ca/gender-equity-101/what-is-gender-equity/

Sources:

*The Financial Post’s ranking of Canada’s largest companies by revenue.

all data from Stats Canada

http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/commemoration/iwd-jif/equality-egalite-en.html

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/14694-eng.htm

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/170308/dq170308b-eng.htm

Weston, DPA, 2015. Downloaded from http://hdl.handle.net/10464/6191