Tag Archives: Economic Rights

Connections at Conferences, Part I

Queen'sU in Fall - close to perfect.

Sometimes, conferences just aren’t on the cards.  Work, family, health, money – all can get in the way.  So here is the first of a few virtual opportunities to meet some women who you [if you’re reading from Canada, of course] won’t run into at the mall or the library, because they live and work “overseas”.

First up, two women who work with the Women’s Budget Forum of the Adva Centre, Israel. I met them at Feminist Legal Studies Queen’s Conference: Women and Equality: Law,  Gender-Based Analysis,  and Economic Rights. The Conference was organized by Professor Kathy Lahey and Associate Professor Bita Amani (I owe them both a big thank you for how enjoyable and informative it was).

Yael Hasson

Valeria Seigelshifer is an advocacy expert with the Women’s Budget Forum at the Adva Centre.  She spoke about ‘Examining Budgets under a Gender-Responsive Lens: The Example of Israel’.   Yael Hasson, coordinator of the Women’s Budget Forum, Adva Centre and a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department, University of Haifa presented data on ‘Why Women Lose from Tax Cuts’.  One of things that made both these talks so interesting to me was the fact that the Women’s Budget Forum’s member organizations are drawn from across all the “fault lines” of religion and ethnicity in the intensely complicated Israeli context.  Arab women’s groups, Bedouin women’s groups, Jewish women’s groups including groups made up of Orthodox and ultra Orthodox Jews come together to contribute to the recommendations made.    In addition to what they substantively produce, I’d be interested in hearing more about their process.

Here’s an example of the WBF’s work:  Valeria described advocacy around a government proposal to build more daycare centres.  The prioritization method was simple – communities with oversubscribed daycare centres would have first priority.  The WBF’s contribution was to lobby for a different model – since many of the most impoverished Arab towns had no daycare at all, they weren’t eligible for any priority. You can read more about the WBF’s contributions to this particular policy here (take a minute to consider that it looks like everything on their website is available in 3 languages!).

Valeria Seigelshifer

Another interesting bit of advocacy (click here to find this on the WBF website):

On May, 2008 a correction on the Statistics Bill passed requiring the National Bureau of Statistics to collect and publish sex desegregated data.   The bill was inspired by the advocacy activities of The Women’s Budget Forum, which was an active participant in the preparatory steps of the bill – and all its suggestions for improvement of the bill were accepted.

This new law requires the National Bureau of Statistics to collect, analyze and publish data that is sex desegregated. In addition, the law aims to ensure adequate representation to women in policy making and the development of gender statistics. The requirement to collect sex desegregated data applies not only to the National Bureau of Statistics but also to national ministries, local councils and government corporations.

It was great to meet Valeria and Yael, and to hear about the WBF – an interesting organization engaged in public education, advocacy, policy analysis and constantly putting gender analysis in front of Israeli citizens, policy makers and legislators.  After the conference I drove them back to Toronto rather late on Saturday night after dinner at Chez Piggy (is it possible to go to Queen`s and not eat at Chez Piggy? I’m not complaining – I had halibut and it was delicious).

A couple of other non Canadians were at the conference:

Marcia Zug of the University of South Carolina School of Law spoke about how some parents who are deported from the US d/t undocumented status are also having their parental rights permanently severed – in contravention of prevailing US precedents about parental fitness.  Marcia suffered a bit from the change in temperature from South Carolina to Kingston, it seemed : she was wearing her hat and coat inside all day….   I also had the pleasure of meeting Maria Wersig (website is in Deutsch but some of Maria’s work is in English)  now visiting at Pace University School of Law.  Maria spoke about German tax policy, visions of the family and the LGBT community.  She’s a co editor of this forthcoming book: Challenging Gender Inequality in Tax Policy Making: Comparative Perspectives (ed. Kim Brooks, Asa Gunnarsson, [my Osgoode colleague] Lisa Philipps and Maria Wersig (forthcoming from Hart Publishing Inc.).

Call for Papers: Feminist Legal Studies Queen’s – Women and Equality

Profs Kathleen Lahey and Bita Amani of Feminist Legal Studies Queen’s are hosting a one day workshop October 23.2010.

Participation is being decided on a rolling basis, but send in your proposal by September 25.2010

October in Kingston = fabulous. Here are the details:

Prof Kathleen Lahey, Queen's Law
Prof. Bita Amani, Queen's Law

Women and Equality: Gender-based Analysis, Law, and Economic Rights

Sex equality in the 21st century:

Long before the 2008 global economic crisis occurred, women in large economies began to see the promise of equality eroding. ‘Crisis’ policies have done nothing to reverse that trend. A decade ago, Canada and the US were ranked first and third on the UN gender-related development index; by 2009, they had already fallen to fourth and nineteenth respectively, and are ranked even lower on equality-specific indexes (e.g., 25 and 31 on the World Economic Forum index, 74 and 105 on the UN gender disparity measure). Similar patterns can be seen in the UK and many European countries.

At the same time, countries such as South Africa continue to demonstrate that ‘feminism works’ as they accelerate their movement toward increased sex equality. For women in those countries, the question is still ‘when will women achieve equality?’ But for growing numbers of women, the question is now becoming ‘will women ever achieve equality?’

This workshop will examine current developments affecting the status of women with particular concern for legal, economic, and equality rights. What role do race, immigration status, Aboriginal heritage, education, family composition, and other factors play in shaping the current issues facing women? Can specific roadblocks to the attainment of further equality be identified? Are there better policies that governments can enact?  What role have neoliberal, neoconservative, and economic ‘crisis’ politics played? Can international obligations such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women counter such politics? And how are emerging environmental, security, budgetary, and regulatory issues affecting women as compared with men?

Call for papers:

This workshop invites paper and panel submissions on equality issues grounded in law, public policy, economic rights, international and transnational gender studies, foreign affairs, health/medicine, women’s studies, and other multidisciplinary studies.

Date and location:

The conference will be held at Queen’s University Faculty of Law, Kingston, Ont. on

Saturday October 23, 2010, with an informal reception/discussion on Friday evening.

Submitting paper topics:

If you are interested in presenting a paper at this conference, or in organizing a panel on specific issues, please email your proposal and a short description to Bita Amani at amanib@queensu.ca or Kathleen Lahey at kal2@queensu.ca.  This can be sent any time until approximately September 25, 2010. Participation is being confirmed on a rolling basis.