YWCA Hamilton: Voices

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Operation Beautiful


Three small words, written on a Post-It note by Caitlin, a woman from Orlando, Florida, started a huge phenomenon called Operation Beautiful. The purpose of this movement is to get women to accept themselves and to end, as Caitlin calls it, fat talk.

Since we already wrote about Operation Beautiful a month ago on our blog, I’ll just skip to the newest update from the Operation Beautiful blog and announce the release of their own, new book; Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note at a Time.

Just because the movement is THAT awesome and THAT inspirational, they’ve brought their idea into print.

You can order your copy of the book, here, today.

(photo of book cover via)


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The War On Women

This moving video is brought to us by Women Thrive Worldwide, an American organization who (in their own words), “is the leading non-profit organization shaping U.S. policy to help women in developing countries lift themselves out of poverty.”

As we prepare our big Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event, we are reminded of the bigger picture. We are reminded of the 25 million women and girls connected to the YWCA movement around the world. YWCAs in countries in every corner of the globe are working to eradicate violence against women and trying to create a more just and vibrant world; a world where all people have the chance to prosper.

Violence against women in all its forms is not only in our own backyard. We are mindful as work to raise money here for our transitional housing program and the women who come to us at critical turning points in their lives that we can’t end violence alone. And thankfully, there are organizations like Women Thrive Worldwide and the YWCAs in over 125 countries that are doing anti-violence work. Together we can (and are!) making a difference.

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McMaster Graduate Gives Hope in Africa

With so much bad in the world, it’s great to see people going out of their way to make a difference.

Anne Connelly is one of those people who is trying to make the world a better place.

Oh, and did I mention she’s a local hero, a McMaster graduate?

Anne Connelly, a graduate from McMaster’s DeGroote co-op MBA program is using her business skills to benefit the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres. Connelly is currently working in the Central African Republic, a war-torn area that is considered to most, the “second most lawless place on earth.”

Connelly’s duties include working as finance and human resources director of an MSF project that runs seven health-care facilities in the country.  This goes to show that not only medical professionals are needed for the various projects MSF runs around the world.

It also goes to show that even within our own communities, there are good people doing even better deeds here and around the world.

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Two Minute Action: Iranian Woman Unfairly Judged

Recently, an issue concerning an unfairly sentenced woman in Iran has attracted the attention of human rights activists and people around the world.

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, an Iranian woman, has been sentenced to be stoned to death for committing adultery with two men. There was “no legal proof for the charge of adultery” and despite regular denial of the accusation, Mohammadi-Ashtiani is still being charged.

This charge comes following a previous sentence, in 2006, for having “illicit relations” with two men; she received 99 lashes for that. Mohammadi-Ashtiani has been in prison for the last five years because of the first charge.

This second sentence of stoning to death defies Iranian law which does not allow a person to be charged twice for the same offence. Since Mohammadi-Ashtiani has already received lashes for her first crime, she cannot be rightfully charged again.

Equality Now has started a petition to help get Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani released from prison and from her unfair sentence.

Here is a little piece of the petition itself,

I am writing to you about Sekineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, a charge she denies. Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to 99 lashes for having “illicit relations” on 15 May 2006 and has already served five years in prison in Tabriz… It is my understanding that under Iranian law a second charge relating to an offence of which a person has already been convicted may not be brought.  In the case at hand, Ms. Mohammadi-Ashtiani has already been convicted and punished on the same set of facts. 

Please have a look at the petition, and consider signing it aswell.

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani needs your help!

UPDATE: Great news! As of July 9, 2010, Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani is not to receive death by stoning from the Iranian government. This is amazing news, and thank you to everyone who signed the petition.

No one deserves that sort of punishment.


YWCA Canada: Safety Siren

The YWCA Canada has recently come out with their own unique app for iPhones everywhere.  I’m pleased to introduce to you:

The YWCA Canada Safety Siren.

This app has a whole bunch of neat features and can be a really useful addition to your iPhone. It’s a must-have for the safety and information it has to offer. Some of the features include:

– English and French language settings

– Useful information of women’s health and wellness

– Map and directions to YWCAs, emergency hotlines, health centres and clinics

– Answers to questions on health, sex and your rights

Check it out and dowload it here for FREE!

(photo via)