Articles Feminism

  • Getting Past Identity: A Fresh Look at Issues in Transsexuality

    In this collection of short essays, letters, interviews and speeches, Viviane Namaste addresses what she finds to be a central problem in the current body of work on transsexuality: the framing of trans issues in terms of identity. According to Namaste, this focus has served to erase the lived experiences of transsexuals and has curtailed any substantive discussion of the social and institutional conditions through which they experience oppression.

  • Eco-feminist action in the 21st century

    Feminism

    In early June, 2007, I was one of seven Saskatchewan women who made their way to Boston to record the vocal tracks for an ecofeminist recording project, My Heart Is Moved. In all, 85 women from ten different bio-regions of North America – many of whom had never before met – gathered to sing songs based on the Earth Charter, a global peoples’ document on sustainable living.

  • Back Atcha Backlash

    On September 25, 2006, Prime Minister Steven Harper’s government announced a cut of $5 million to the budget for Status of Women Canada (SWC), the agency responsible for follow-up on the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.

  • “If you have come here to help me ...”

    I want to start by honouring those women who have lived the experience about which I presume to speak.

    Women are the fastest-growing prison population world-wide. This is not accidental. Canada has been one of the first countries to be impacted by the now-globalized capitalist laws and policies that facilitate the desire for cash and products. These policies are destroying our social-safety nets - from social and health services to economic and education standards and availability. As we have recognized very concretely by the change of our mission, these laws and policies are increasingly coming into conflict with peoples’ lives.

  • International Women’s Day

    Over the past century, International Women’s Day has evolved from radical protests for women’s political, economic and social rights to a day for celebrating women’s achievements. In Canada, nowadays, at celebratory luncheons and evening award galas, it is not unusual for organizations to cheer prominent women who have reached the heights of success in such areas as sports, volunteerism and business. Has International Women’s Day become merely a time to reflect on how far (some) women have come?

  • 25 Years, Ready or Not?

    Twenty-five years ago Canada signed the most comprehensive human-rights treaty on women’s rights, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This was an enormous accomplishment for women around the globe who had worked for many decades to establish a human-rights treaty that specifically addressed the persistent and systemic discrimination against women. Canada was among the first to sign this treaty in 1980, and ratified it with the consent of all provinces and territories in the fall of 1981.

  • Searching Through the Scraps: Women and MIning in Bolivia

    Beginning in the fifteenth-century silver exploitation of Potosi, and continuing to today, women have been involved in intricate and often invisible ways in the Bolivian mining sector. Dawn Paley reports from Bolivia.

  • Commemorating the Montreal Massacre

    Dimension remembers the day of the Montreal Massacre 15 years ago, December 6, 1989. The news flashes that told, incomprehensibly at first, of a mass murder at l’École Polytechnique. And then, the details: 14 young women gunned down in their classrooms, the gunman dead by his own hand. The images of roses in the snow, public and private grief, and coffins in churches. The horror and rage experienced by so many, as we realized that this was misogyny, practised in the public and elite space of a university, against women who were seen by the murderer to have violated male space, and thus to have predicated his lack of success in academia and elsewhere. In other words, it was their fault, and, by his analysis, it is our (feminists’) fault. Fourteen women lost their lives at the hands of a murderous misogynist who hated women. He said so. Who hated women being in the engineering faculty of a university. He said so. He called these women feminist. He separated the men from the women and then shot the women. He carried a “hit list” of other women to be killed, all of whom were prominent, many of whom were feminist, all of whom were successful in traditionally male arenas. Misogyny doesn’t get much clearer than that.

  • Making Low-Income Women of Colour Count in Toronto

    Poverty is the women’s biggest challenge, and even their tough resourcefulness cannot overcome the impossibilities this condition creates in their lives. Yet the women, many of whom are racialized immigrants, have insistent dreams of better and more independent lives. Managing rising levels of stress and ill health, Toronto’s low-income women try to make the impossible possible.

  • How Patriarchy Undermines Canada’s Charity Law

    There appears to be a grotesque hypocrisy between the government trying to de-list progressive feminist, environmental and animal rights groups while permitting so-called charities that have a right-wing, patriarchal and economistic ideology to engage in highly political activities. It’s time for the Canada Revenue Agency to keep up with the times and to provide a progressive, balanced, and fair voice in its implementation of Canada’s charity laws.

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