Guest bloggers

Mixed Messages: Ableism in Dating

Young couple on a date
Ableism can be defined as systemic discrimination based on disability.     You know, those encounters you have that make you feel bad about         your disability, or those barriers that prevent you from having your             needs or desires met.
 
Ableism shows up everywhere. And for women or femmes or gender       non-binary people, sometimes it's hard to pinpoint whether it's                   misogyny, ableism, or a gnarly combination. 
 
So how does ableism enter the dating world?
 

5 Ways to Nurture Leadership in Kids

Girls smilingEvery child is a potential leader. Even if they weren’t “born” leaders, they may be taught to become them by parents, teachers and other role models.

Leaders are people who have the ability to empower others to get things done. They inspire other people and set the directions to create something new. It isn’t about being at the top of a hierarchy, but about forging a path forward in collaboration with others.

So what personal qualities and skills could make your kid a great leader? There isn’t an exact answer. It all depends on personality and surroundings. For instance, some children are more confident than others, but that doesn’t make them a leader. As a parent, you play a huge part in helping your child develop the ability to lead.

Girls, Let's Fail Together

Parents walking with child

This article was originally published on Puzzling Posts.

We went on a family vacation late last year. It was a wonderful family experience where the girls got to play in the ocean, watch monkeys swing through trees, and learn that there are more places on earth than Ottawa.

And yes, we pulled our oldest daughter from school for the week to make this happen. Away from math classes, away from science projects, and away from whatever style of dodgeball teachers are able to get 6-year-olds to participate in.

Say No to Pretty Doormats

Mother and daughter smilingThis post was originally published on LinkedIn.

Recently my 18-year-old daughter asked me, with great trepidation, if I thought she had “too much to say and an opinion about everything.” I laughed. There is no doubt that my daughter has a lot to say. And though I could see she was unsure of herself - we couldn’t be happier that she has a mind of her own. Well, most of the time. 

Kim is smart, articulate and confident. She has learned, as she’s grown, to make room for the opinions and input of others. She’s learned that there is more than one right answer. She knows she isn’t always right – but she’ll certainly put in a good volley. She’s learned, despite the fact that many will try to quiet her voice, that speaking up is an act of leadership.

Want to See More Girls in STEM? Do Away with Gender Stereotypes

Girl studying scienceAt the end of this academic year, graduates’ names will be called in alphabetical order as they waltz across a stage. They will shake hands with a university dean, move the tassel on their cap from one side to the other, and pose for their parents’ cameras.

For decades, graduation ceremonies have been carried out in relatively the same way. But one significant change has occurred. The proportion of women graduates now surpasses that of men. According to 2012 data, 58% of all post-secondary graduates are women.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board

Professional women in officeGender inequality in the world of work has been a well-deserved focal point of equality debates since second wave feminism’s rise to prominence over 50 years ago. While the pressure to provide women with equal pay for equal work has borne fruit in multiple industries, women still earn an average of 72 cents for every dollar a man makes in Canada.

Gender equality has been even slower to materialise in other areas. One of the most commonly cited examples of continuing inequality in the workplace is the gender weighting at boardroom level – which, for many major corporations, remains dramatically skewed in favour of men.

How to Disregard Criticism by Applying the “Reasonable Man” Test

Woman in blazer standing outsideThis post was originally published by Informed Opinions’.

Celebrated American poet and critic, Ezra Pound, in his considered advice to beginning poets offered the following advice: “Pay no attention to the criticism of men who have never themselves written a notable work.”

But he could have been speaking to female opinionators a century later. So many of the trolls who trash women daring to comment in prominent places “have never themselves written a notable work.”

Food for Thought: It’s Time to End Body Shaming

Woman looking awayI never forgot when my aunt stood up and berated my mother in front of a table full of family and friends for allowing me to have, “one more piece of meat” during a holiday meal.  Funnily, most kids can’t wait to sit at the ‘adult table.’ It’s a right of passage I suppose. But for me, being a kid with the adults simply meant more eyes, more potential pot shots under the guise of concern, tough love and reminders to sit up straight.  Sure, the latter had health benefits I’d appreciate later in life but the rest? Body shaming.  

Last month, a Mall Santa in the town of Forrest City, North Carolina, resigned after fat-shaming a boy who visited him. “Lay off the hamburgers and French fries,” said Santa to Anthony Mayse, a 9-year-old boy who had merely asked Santa for an iPod Touch and Drone. He left Santa’s lap in tears. 

Rape Myths Hide Troubling Reality

Woman looking at viewerUnderreporting of sexual assault is a problem we hear about frequently in Canada and around the world. Whether that underreporting is a result of police negligence, underfunding of sexual assault centres, police forces and labs, a biased judicial process, or poor sexual education in schools, what’s often missing from the discussion is recognition of how culture influences our understanding of sexual assault.

Culture is significant - it shapes who we are, our morals, ethics, principles, and how we connect to one another. Patriarchy, as a dominant force in Canadian culture, shapes who we become as individuals and who we are as a society. 

How to Support Survivors of Sexual Violence

Woman looking at cameraWhen someone tells you about their experience of sexual assault, it can be difficult to know how to react. You may struggle to know what to say or worry about saying the wrong thing. You may want to help and be supportive, but not know how.

It’s important to understand that when someone shares their experience with you, the best thing you can do is listen to their feelings, thoughts and needs, and to support them in their healing process, whatever that may be. Everyone who experiences sexual assault will have different ways to handle the situation and to heal.