Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Sept. 30 – Women Boldly Visioning Our Future: Inclusion and Access

Please join us for an exciting panel on inclusion and access featuring four outstanding women with incredibly bold visions! 

RSVP on the Facebook event and email Mary Lou O'Hara by Sept. 25 if you need disability related accommodations. Please feel free to share widely with your networks!

Monday, 14 April 2014

What Does It Take to Make Access and Inclusion Happen in Challenging Contexts?

This is the text of my presentation at a Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) Café Scientifique which was held on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at the Bloomfield Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Many years ago, I met Michael Charlie, an Indigenous boy with complex needs. He had muscular dystrophy and used a wheelchair to get around the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton. He was moved to the hospital in Edmonton from his home northern Alberta, to live and get education in that institutional setting, away from his family, culture and community. We played wheelchair basketball together and did his homework.  I counted him as my friend.  When I moved on, I made him a promise that he would not be forgotten. I have tried to fulfill that promise in my research in the years since.

For me, asking the question “What does it take to make inclusion and access happen in challenging contexts?” makes me wonder what would it have taken to include Michael Charlie in his own community? What does it take to include disabled boys and girls, young women and men in all of our communities? How do we address the everyday challenging contexts of living with disabilities in a world created for and by people without disabilities?

Friday, 28 March 2014

What I’ve learned from escorts – and I don’t mean techniques…

Guest blog post written by Dr. Meredith Ralston, Mount Saint Vincent University. 

In February, Alan Brown (Sociology), Jeff MacLeod (Political Studies) and I got together to participate in a cross-campus conversation at Mount Saint Vincent University. We choose sex work as our topic because both Alan and I do research on different aspects of sex work, and we wanted to see what Jeff’s art and imagery model might bring to our research and activism. I talked about my latest film on escorts in the US and the stigma they face; Alan spoke about the conflation of prostitution and sex trafficking and the consequences of this for sex work activism; and then Jeff solved all our problems by talking about his art and politics model and by demonstrating how we can affect policy by reframing issues – by for instance showing that if our picture of a sex worker is a survival street worker it will frame all the discussions of policy with a victim lens or narrative.

What I talked about is the stigma around sex work and how that stigma, those double standards, affect women and girls who are not sex workers. Some people in the anti-prostitution movement genuinely believe that prostitution should remain socially unacceptable and stigmatized because it is inherently degrading to women and should be discouraged – after all, we don’t want to encourage our daughters to be sex workers or our sons to go to sex workers. But what are the unintended consequences of continuing to stigmatize sex workers? I argued it reinforces the deep seated stigma about sexually active women generally and is definitely a method of control.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

CIHR Café Scientifique Presents: What does it take to make Inclusion & Access happen?

Please join us on Thursday, March 20 for CIHR Café Scientifique presents: What does it take to make Inclusion & Access happen?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

A Feminist Perspective on Language and the Queer Community

Hello, I’m Kirsten Paula from Saint Mary’s University Queer Society (SMUQ). We work towards promoting diversity and resolving any LBGTQIA issues on campus. I’m a second year linguistics student and the Vice president of SMUQ. Today I wanted to talk about how language plays an important role in shaping and expressing our attitudes, more specifically in and towards the feminist perspective and the queer community. I use the term queer here as an umbrella term to be inclusive to all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

A Feminist Take on #DarkNL

Guest blog post written by Susan Manning, Mount Saint Vincent University

Looking at the title of this blog post, you might be thinking, “What does this blackout in Newfoundland have to do with feminism?” In order to answer that question, we need to reframe it and ask instead “How can we ask feminist questions about the blackout and what different insights might those questions give us?”

The hashtag #DarkNL was created on Twitter when a massive blackout hit Newfoundland on the morning of January 4, 2014. This widespread outage came in the wake of days of warnings to conserve power as the island’s electricity system was reaching its peak.  A rolling blackout system had been implemented earlier in the week. The spark for the blackout was a fire at the terminal station in Sunnyside, which combined with the already overburdened system, caused one of the province’s main electricity generating plants in Holyrood to go offline, leaving much of the island without power.