YWCA Hamilton: Voices

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Some things change and some things stay the same

The world is changing!

Women are peacefully taking to the streets in Iran

Women made a difference in Egypt’s resistance against their Dictator and showed incredible courage

Women are exposing the myths of what it means to be a Muslim Woman

Change is happening for transgender high school students

 

And yet…somethings stay the same.

Woman face fear and harassment

South Dakota considers legalizing the murder of abortion providers

Abortion isn’t always accessible in the Great White North either…

Women are murdered in our own city.

 

 

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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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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)


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Conferences for Women

Have you heard of this exciting conference happening in July? Imagine meeting women from all over the world at a feminist-focused conference.  Here is a small snippet about the conference:

WW 2011 is a global convergence to advance women’s equality through research, exchange, leadership, and action.

Expected to draw some 2000 participants from around the world, WW 2011 is a unique global event that will enhance women’s leadership skills and organizational capacity, support the exchange of knowledge and ideas, and foster research and action networks on women’s issues.

The first Women’s Worlds event was a modest gathering of academics in 1981 in Israel to discuss the advent of Women’s Studies and forge networks on feminist research. Today, the congress is a large event attracting researchers, activists, policy-makers, advocates, allies, and more.

For an overview of Women’s Worlds, see this slide presentation.

 

Looks amazing, right?!

 

Another incredible conference opportunity is the World YWCA meetings taking place in July in Switzerland. The theme this is “Women Creating a Safer World”. YWCA women for every corner of the earth will connect to build relationships, share resources and ideas. YWCAs connect 25 million women together world wide and the World YWCA conference is the perfect opportunity to tangibly  see the connections.

Whether or not you can attend either of these conferences be sure to check out their websites to find great resources.

 

 


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News and Views

Happy thanksgiving!

Here’s a round up of news and tidbits

Need more information about how to vote in the upcoming municipal election? Check out this great resource.

Love this powerful image.

Are you a young woman interested in politics? Your experience counts!

See Denise Doyle’s response to this critical question.

It may get better, but is that enough? This has been a horrific week for LBGTQ youth in the U.S. with at least 5 reported suicides after bullying.

LBGTQ in Hamilton? Check out the Well.

At the YWCA we believe that teen girls can change the world too. Our girls programs teach girls healthy relationships, self-esteem and lots of leadership building~

On hope and raisins.

Some love for your spine.

 


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Of course the kids are alright.

The LBGTQ community is diverse, unique and rich with beautiful stories. Like all communities there are stories of love and commitment but unfortunately, the media often misses the wealth of ‘good news’ stories, instead focusing on the more sensational. It’s easy to feel really misrepresented by the media.

It was nice to read this morning’s Globe and Mail and to find a positive story- an article dismissing many of the negative myths about same-sex parenting. This article focused primarily on lesbian mothers and used a recent  (and first!) conception-to-adolescence study of children raised in lesbian families, led by Nanette Gartrell, a psychiatrist from the UCLA School of Law.

Besides articulating that children of lesbian parents are in fact well-adjusted, the article also noted that lesbian parents tend to be more egalitarian in their parenting duties and that the non-birth mother tends to be more involved in a child’s life than a heterosexual father.

This news isn’t shocking, by any means, but it’s about time that loving and committed mothers got the recognition they deserve.

They say that parenting is the hardest job out there–and I can’t imagine how much more bigotry and oppression is felt by same-sex parents, who, like most of us, just want to raise their kids with love and stability.


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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.