Women’s Rights are Human Rights

diversity hands

There’s a now famous-saying: “women’s rights are human rights.” Yet, around the world, women and girls are still denied rights, even basic ones, because of their gender. Rights such as the right to be educated; to vote; to earn an equal and livable wage; to own property; to choose if and when they bear children; to live free of slavery, genital mutilation, or forced marriage; and to live free from violence.

Healing Justice Manifesto for December 6th 2020

candle in the darkOn December 6th, 1989 I was a new mother. The murders at l'École Polytechnique shook loose a deep despair that surfaces every December. A fresh wound felt keenly with every woman killed, most often by someone who ‘loved’ her.  The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH) annual femicide report lists 35 women and girls who were killed in 2020. So far. It is hard not to feel like we are losing ground, losing “the war on women”[1].  Women always lose in a war. Always. This year has been especially brutal for all the reasons too exhausting to list. I am tired of fighting. I am traumatized by so many stories of fear and hate. Increasingly I fear that polarization is the endlessly renewable fuel that will burn down the whole house. It has been a brutal year.

Back to Basics to End Violence Against Women and Girls

man and woman talking Violence against women is all around us. It’s engrained in our cultures, often passed down generationally, it’s in the media we consume, in locker room talks and certain jokes, in the way society treats women, in our workplaces, and in some of our homes. The sobering fact that one in three girls or women have been affected by abuse means that it is very likely every one of us knows someone who has been abused.

Rethinking Persons Day

flare voting Persons Day - October 18 - is a day in Canada meant to commemorate the historic decision to include women in the legal definition of “persons”. It marks the time when women were finally granted the right to vote in elections. The problem with celebrating this day? This decision did not include all women - Indigenous women and women of Asian heritage and descent were excluded. It really only reflects gains in voting rights for privileged, white women. While many Canadian women did gain the right to vote during the 1920s, it was not until much later that all women - especially Indigenous and minority women - were allowed to do the same.

Celebrating the International Day of the Girl

dayofthegirllogoMy name is Tanya Marie Lee. Close to four years ago, I created a book club for Teen Girls 13 to 18 years of age entitled “A Room Of Your Own”.  This book club gives young women a Grrrl Positive Space to be themselves without judgement. We honour, respect, love, and celebrate everything about being a young woman growing up in today’s society, standards, and pressures. What makes this book club special is that the girls are given the books for free 4 to 6 weeks in advance, they meet the author and we focus on mental health and wellness. We have terrific discussions with the authors and the young women involved. We choose books that are relevant to young women’s lives, that reflect diversity, and that have great female protagonists of all abilities. Young women relish in the idea of seeing themselves and their friends reflected in the literature they are reading.

International Day of Older Persons – Oct 1 2020

2 old womenr

Every day is a milestone in the life journey. Over the years, I have come to recognize that there is a core part of me that is unchanging, that remains always with ‘being young’ in the sense that I am who I have always been. There is a constant me. At the same time, I am in constant motion, being moved along with time that is never still, in this body that ages around me. Sometimes I catch a glimpse in a mirror and am struck by the distance between how I feel and how I appear. Am I really a ‘senior’? Already?

Take Back the Night – Fifty years of activism

Take Back the Night Blog Post ImageSeptember is recognized across Canada as a time to Take Back the Night (TBTN). TBTN events are for those who have been hurt by domestic and sexual violence, their supporters and everyone who wants to live in a world free of violence. It is a time for communities to acknowledge gender-based violence against women and girls is a global issue that happens ‘here’ at home. Activities, include rallies, marches, dinners, coffee houses, and candlelight vigils. The events are designed to raise the awareness of safety issues for women and children, and to protest the harassment, sexual abuse, and assaults experienced by so many in our society. All people have the right to be free of violence and should be able to walk at night without fear.

The Other Global Pandemic - The Rise of Violence Against Women

In a recent Statistics Canada survey conducted in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, 10% of women and 6% of men reported that they were concerned about the possibility of violence in the home. The rise of domestic violence is not unique to Canada. Worldwide, rates of domestic abuse climbed steadily as countries went into lockdown mode. Since March of 2020, at least 1/2 of the world’s population has been or is currently in lockdown. Stuck at home with their abusers, often cut off from support systems, victims have found themselves facing an increased risk of abuse. Isolation is a powerful tool that many abusers use on their victims. During lockdowns, those experiencing abuse have become even more isolated from any supports, such as friends and family, the workplace, or social agencies.



The 5 Ways Dads Can Teach Sons AND Daughters About Healthy Relationships

Father and son

There’s a lot of talk about father-daughter relationships. How a father can teach his daughter about love, about what a good partner looks like, about how to respect herself. These are all very important, of course. But, what about father-son relationships? Isn’t it just as important for a father to teach his son about love and what a respectful relationship looks like? Of course it is! With Father’s Day right around the corner, we want to share lessons on how dads can teach their children (sons AND daughters) all about healthy relationships. Whether you have a daughter or a son, the cornerstones of love and respect look the same.

Staying Mentally Healthy During Coronavirus

While everyone will experience this time differently, a generalized sense of anxiety and uncertainty is floating through the air. Some people may be quarantined with their family or small children, while others will be entirely alone. In some situations, women and children will be stuck at home with their abusive partner. Shelters and women’s advocacy centres are working at maximum capacities in many cities, with some also lacking resources and support. Feelings of fear and loneliness can be common.


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