Thursday, November 18, 2010

Feelin' like a Natural Woman

There's a hidden connection between two stories available on CBC's main website today, even though it may not look like it.

One covers how Canada has fallen in its standings with respect to equal treatment of women, ranking 20th in world in terms of women advancement, pay equality, and maternity benefits (Scrapping for example a $5 billion child-care initiative). There is even some allegation that senior officials have ties to anti-feminist organizations.

The other deals with a review of the Canadian agency that oversees artificial reproduction. It appears to be headed by a board of 6 directors, with one President, who is the contentious link in the chain. It's fantastic that women are leading this agency, even if I think it smells a little of anti-male sentiments, thus buying into the old sexist notions that "babies are womenfolk's work". However, what are we doing with it? We're proving the "haters" right by squabbling amongst ourselves.

There are two parts to the review; the first is a much needed financial review. Absolutely in any government agency when there is a suspicion of fiscal dishonesty, such as the allegations that the president was taking personal vacations on the agency's dime, have at it with the Auditors of Righteous Fury. No one pays me to take a vacation, I am certainly not paying taxes to send someone else on one.

The other issue is that the president is bullying people on the board. Bullying can be a serious allegation; remember what's-his-name chucking books at legislative aides? Hilarious on T.V maybe, but not something you want to see really happening. But when men are accused of bullying they are screaming, ranting, borderline-rabid maniacs. I don't think we should become like that, but don't waste my time saying she "flapped her hands at me" and that made you feel marginalized. If you felt like she dismissed your idea, either put up or shut up. If you don't have enough faith in your ideas to push them, why should the board have more faith?  Three people are reporting feeling bullied, two people are not. I notice it's hardly relevant now, since she has retired, and I also notice how that reinforces the stereotype that women will not confront people to their faces, but instead will wait until it's a passive aggressive move. (Could also be in consideration of not creating a hostile work environment)

The only place I'm torn is on the allegation that while struggling to remember the acronym LGBTQ (for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-gendered, Queer network) she referred to the network as BLT (which is a tasty sandwich) but she has insisted that it does not reflect her feelings towards the network or the people. I must confess, the acronym does not exactly roll off the tongue, and I myself have started to just kind of trail into random letters, but I know people that identify with this network, and in this climate, following a string of heartbreaking suicides by bullied LGBTQ individuals, we should be more sensitive to perceived slights against the organization.

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