YWCA Hamilton: Voices

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Round Up…

Hope you’re having a great weekend and are feeling rested and ready to start another week tomorrow.

Here’s a round-up of news that might be of interest:

Emilie is trying something new at the fitness centre

It’s Harper’s 5 year anniversary as Prime Minster. What has he done for women?

The politics of baldness.

Some thoughts on “natural birth”

Family shield? Puh-lease.

This episode of the Passionate Eye looks amazing.

A new (to me) take on Sororities

There is still time to nominate a woman in your life for a Woman of Distinction Award!

A terrible Valentine’s Day Gift.


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Community Event- Panel Discussion on Poverty Reduction

This coming Thursday, 27 January, the McMaster Community Poverty Initiative is sponsoring a talk and panel discussion on reducing Hamilton’s massive poverty.  You’re invited! Please bring your friends and colleagues and neighbours. It’s free and open to everyone.

The talk is by Steve Buist from the Hamilton Spectator who will present key findings from the recent important and informative Code Red Report on poverty in Hamilton.

The Panel Discussion on reducing poverty in Hamilton will include:

Lorraine Chapman from Good Shepherd
Clare Freeman from Interval House and the Women’s Centre
Tom Cooper from the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction

The talk and panel discussion will take place in Hamilton Thursday 27 June from 7-9pm at the Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning, in Room 1305 at McMaster University.

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It’s That Time of Year….Women of Distinction

Nomination Poster

One of the wonderful visions of YWCA Hamilton is to see women appropriately honoured and recognized for their role in society. Historically, women have simply been left out of the story. The truth is that there are women all over our city doing incredible work, day in and day out. Ultimately, our city is a better place. Women of Distinction is a signature YWCA event that seeks to highlight the achievements of local women. And celebrate we do! It’s a fun event for a great cause-because women deserve to be seen, heard and honoured.

Do you know a woman who has made a positive contribution to the city of Hamilton?  Please consider taking the time to nominate her.

Nominees are honoured at a dinner at the Hamilton Convention Centre on May 3rd, 2011.

The entire nomination package is here!

See the Nomination Poster here!

Are you interested in sponsoring the event? See this form here!

For more information or if you have any questions please contact Marj at 905-522-9922 x 127 or mfarquharson@ywcahamilton.org

Please spread the word and nominate the outstanding women in your world.

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Haiti: One Year Later

It’s hard to believe that 365 days have passed since the devastating earthquake in Haiti. There have been reports on the radio about collected goods from Toronto’s Haitian communities not having been picked up and delivered to Haiti. There have been reports of rape and of a big baby boom.

There have been so many messages. Don’t Give up on Haiti. You Can Still Help in Haiti. More Funds Needed for Haiti.

What struck me this morning as I read through the paper were the words of former Canadian Governor General, and current UN Ambassador to Haiti, Michaelle Jean.

She said, I cannot stand hearing … when people talk about Haitians’ resilience,” Ms. Jean said in a recent wide-ranging interview to mark the anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake. “I think that’s the worst that you can say about people, because there’s a sense of fatalism with it, as if we were born for one catastrophe after the other,” she said (See the full article here)

I think Jean’s perspective is an interesting one. While someone might comment on the resilience of the Haitians as a complement of their spirit, Jean sees this as troublesome.  And with a marred history like Haiti’s, it’s understandable while it might seem like fatalism.

If you’re looking for an interesting perspective on Haiti check out NPR’s This American Life episode Island Time.

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Good Reads: Radical Homemakers

It really was the title that caused me to look twice. More specifically the word “radical”. I took a course on peace making in grad school and was surprised to learn the definition of the word radical.  One often thinks of “extreme” or “drastic” but the origin of the word means “to have roots”. Quiet different.

Because of cultural backlash the word “feminism” has somehow become very narrow. Women who have chosen not to work outside the home have faced criticism for not being “real” feminists. Recognizing that there in privilege in being able to “stay home” to raise one’s children (whether you are  male or female) what I love so much about feminism is that it gives women a choice. Women can choose to have no children. Women can choose to work and raise a family. Women can choose– that is what feminism is all about.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t strong stereotypes about homemaking (coincidentally the author holds a PhD!)

That’s why this book looks so interesting!

Here’s a little bit of background about the book:

Radical Homemakers uncovers a hidden revolution quietly taking hold across the United States.  It is the story of pioneering men and women who are redefining feminism and the good life by adhering to simple principles of ecological sustainability, social justice, community engagement and family well-being.  It explores the values, skills, motivations, accomplishments, power, challenges, joy and creative fulfillment  of Americans who are endeavoring to change the world by first reclaiming control of home and hearth.

You can see the book’s website here.

Another article about the book here.

Buy the book new or used here.

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?

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Nurse in!

You may have seen some talk recently about how facebook hates breastfeeding. Word is that photos of mothers feeding their children are marked as inappropriate while many scantily clad photos of breasts (of non-breastfeeding women) are left be. Breast feeding is a contentious issue.

Many feminist argue that women have a right to breastfeed their babies whenever and where ever. Women are often told to leave shops, restaurants or told to “cover up” when feeding their infants. This practice forces many mothers into isolation, devoid of social interaction and afraid to leave the house with their babies. In some cases, breastfeeding “stations” (aka- a chair) are set up in busy public washrooms. These places are often crowded, smelly and again, isolated.

This morning there is a story in the Globe of a breastfeeding mother told to leave a shop who turned discrimination into an act of resistance and activism. Read all about it here.

Here are a few links about breast feeding:

World Health Organization

La Leche League Canada



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Conflict in Sudan

It’s a big world out there. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to even think about the inequalities and struggles for women in our own cities, let alone our world. But today I want to share some information about Sudan.

You have probably heard about the conflict in Sudan, or at least in Darfur. There are all the pieces of a violent conflict: North vs. the South, oil, child soldiers and rape as  weapon of war.

For many in Canada, the idea of rape as a weapon of war is a new one. Check out these links for more information. Rape happens all around the world from the internal displacement camps in Haiti, in Darfur and in our own neighbourhoods. The women and children in Sudan have been suffering and paying the exorbitant price of war. Rape is hate and it must end.

This Sunday holds the long-awaited referendum on the separation of the North and the South. Let’s hold these women and children in our hearts and hope for a peaceful, fair and legitimate vote.

For more information on the referendum click here and here.

See what the General Secretary of the World YWCA had to say about Sudanese women here.

(image source)