Tag Archives: gender

gender/agenda: elections

I’m a bit behind on the blogging. There have been some elections lately. Not those elections! The Canadian municipal elections! Specifically, Toronto.  I will spare you my rant about the whole thing (others have done it better, I’m concerned about how Scarborough is being treated, and this is the IFLS blog, so…) I see that Toronto now has 33% women on council.  This is grounds for celebration, and I’m not being sarcastic.  Did you know that:

Kristyn Wong-Tam is one of the few women who ran on a feminist platform. She’s also the only new visible minority to get elected – but that’s fodder for a whole other column.

Well. Now that IS news (both bits are news, and i’m waiting for that other column….)  If your career plans have been changed by reading that first line (from Catherine Porter in the Star, click through for her interesting piece to see more about the women’s “breakthrough” with  Sarah Doucette, stalwart Pam McConnell, Mary Fragedakis and Ana Bailão – and see how Wong-Tam plans to do gender analysis at Metro Hall and connect with Rob Ford),       maybe you want to check out Equal Voice.  This organization wants to promote the election of more women at all levels of government and to that end.  Go to their online “Getting to the Gate” course (you have to register) and learn how to get ready to run.  Or get ready to tell that smart, aware and active friend of yours that she should run.

Equal Voice and another Canadian organization, Canadian Women’s Voters Congress aren’t like Emily’s List,  the American organization dedicated to electing Female, pro choice, Democrats.  They are non partisan, and open to women of all backgrounds and presumably all political positions.*

With that in mind, and for those of you thinking about those midterms (not exams! elections) here’s a link to Slate’s DoubleX “So, How’d the Women Do” set of articles.  Because it’s always good to complicate the issue with a bit of “be careful what you wish for…..”

On the new governor of S. Carolina, Nikki Haley.  You know, immigrant, minority businesswoman subjected to a fair amount of racist and misogynistic crap during her campaign (click here for Ann Bartow at feministlawprofessors on the situation).  Apparently she doesn’t think being a minority or an immigrant is  interesting, and upon reflection perhaps it makes a certain amount of sense for her to stay away from those things given the context in which she’s running.  I still wouldn’t vote for her. Says Slate’s Hanna Rosin:

She may be anti-feminist, pro-life, and want to destroy any government-subsidized child care, but still, her victory has symbolic meaning for women ….

But what does it symbolize? And is it spreading north?

My fear fueled frustration is totally unfair – Hanna Rosin did write about what it symbolizes, here, here and here.   I really, really could have done without the Sex and the City explanation for which “mama grizzlies” won/lost [keep lots of clothes on if you want to win! I’m talking to you, woman in her 20’s with no idea that politics are in her future!]  I prefered Amanda Marcotte’s take on those grizzlies:

This contradiction exposed why it’s so critical to the fundamentalist worldview that women stay at home and abandon ambition. In this world, women are supposed to be the light, the caretakers, the homemakers, those who smooth feathers and wipe brows. Aggression, meanness, ambition, and even lustiness are considered more masculine traits, even by the public at large. As Dave Weigel reports, the Republicans are beginning to feel that Sharron Angle, at least, spent too much time in the public eye. The longer the public stares at a Mama Grizzly, the more painful the contradiction between her ideals of femininity and her actual behavior.

Here’s something worth taking away about those American elections:

As American University professor Jennifer Lawless points out on the XX Factor blog today, this was most decidedly not a historic year for women. In fact, it’s the first time in 30 years that Americans have seen a net loss in the total number of women in political office. As Lawless explains, Democratic women lost a lot of seats, and Republican women—despite all the hype —did not gain enough seats to make up the difference. Hence, we have backslid in the year of the woman.

Well, you know. That “we” she’s talking about – it’s not Canadian. Right? Oh……Canada.


* If you are wondering where you can get information about your pro choice candidate is in Canada, try the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.  In  2008 they produced a report card on MP’s, updated October 15, 2010, here.  Maybe they ramp this up during election campaigns? Although I’m not sad that it’s not a major election issue….

My MP is Joe Volpe (Lib).  He fills up my mailbox, and since I don’t read his material because I have no intention of ever voting for him, I don’t know whether he has been letting me know that

a.  he is anti choice,

b.  what he thinks about Dr. Morgentaler’s order of Canada is a secret, and

c. he was absent for the vote on the Unborn Victims of Crime Bill.  For those of you who just mentally heard a slamming on the brakes sound, this happened in 2008.

Living Downstream: Nov.10 Film Screening @ York

The National Network on Environments and Women’s Health invites you to a public screening of the film, “Living Downstream”, taking place on the campus of York University on Wednesday, November 10 at 4:15 pm.  Location: York University Keele Campus Rm T1009, TEL Building, main floor (map – you want building 39)

The film, by Chanda Chevannes, is a production of Toronto-based People’s Picture Company Inc. and is based on the acclaimed book of the same name by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber. The documentary follows Sandra during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. You can watch a trailer for the film at: http://www.livingdownstream.com/trailer.php

Following the film we will have a panel discussion touching on some of the issues raised in the film and inviting audience feedback.

Prof. Sonia Lawrence, Director, Institute for Feminist Legal Studies/Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Ellen Sweeney, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Anna Tilman, International Institute of Concern for Public Health

Pdf posters for distribution here: living_downstream B&W living_downstream colour

Anne Rochon Ford (author of  The Push to Prescribe) and my Osgoode colleague Dayna N. Scott are the Co-Directors of the National Network on Environments and Women’s Health at York University.

Things I Wish I could Go To: “After Gender: Examining International Justice Enterprises” at Pace

The list of contributors (click through the poster to the Pace event site for a full list) is amazing – and the format (a series of conversations) is enticing.

The symposium will attempt to expand our understanding of the role of gender and sex in international law.  International law’s gender analysis has focused on women to the exclusion of other sexes.  More recent efforts, including those in international criminal law, the United Nations, and other international organizations, have attempted a broader understanding of gender.  Do these efforts continue to rely on the exclusive centrality of “women” to understand “gender?” If so, what are the costs to gender-related projects, if any?  These questions demand fuller analysis….

Pace Law Review Symposium on “After Gender: Examining International Justice Enterprises”.

Gender Invisible: "Many Police Stops in New York Unjustified, Study Says"

Many Police Stops in New York Unjustified, Study Says – NYTimes.com.

This NYT article on the study, conducted for a test case being  brought by the US Center for Constitutional Rights is interesting and informative.  I suspect that the study is as well, and this issue is critically important.  But with my gender analysis hat on, let me tell you this: Not once in this article is gender mentioned.  So you get really interesting findings:

Another of the Fagan study’s main areas of focus was where stops were concentrated.

It found that the highest proportion of stops occur within police precincts that cover areas with large numbers of black and Hispanic residents. A chart in the study shows that in the quartile of the city with the highest concentrations of black residents, the police stopped people at a rate two to three times as much per criminal complaint than in the quartile of the precincts with the lowest percentage of black residents.

But, isn’t something missing? Is it just intended to be obvious that we’re talking about men?

I’m certainly not alone in thinking that the intersection of race and gender holds a good deal of explanatory power, and I think that it’s equally interesting and important to be asking about gender in these cases.   I don’t know what we’d see with the gender data.  Maybe we’d learn something about gaps in the experiences of black men and women in NYC.  Or, maybe the data would show something surprising – how many people, on reading the article, actually picture the police stopping women at all?  Likely to capture the depth of raced and gendered discrimination in policing you have to study a variety of police activities – not just stops, but for instance, conversations with victims of crime, family members of those arrested detained, etc.

Here’s a link to the CCR and the case they are bringing – it includes a link to the study itself. If you check it out, let us know through the comments what’s in there. I cannot spend anymore time on the internet today!

Things to do at York next week: Play Refugee Roulette

click through for amazon.ca ordering

Disparities in Asylum Adjudication and Proposals for Reform
Philip G. Schrag & Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Commentary by Sean Rehaag
14 October 2010 (12:30pm – 2:20pm)  626 York Research Tower
Refreshments will be served

Immigration law practitioners in the United States have long suspected that the likelihood of winning asylum depends in large measure on which asylum officer or immigration judge is assigned to adjudicate a case. Following the presentation, Sean Rehaag will present comparative data on the Canadian refugee determination system, focusing on the large differences between the US and Canadian refugee determination systems in the effects of adjudicator gender on refugee claim outcomes.

Official flyer (more info) here.

My Osgoode colleague who will be provide commentary, Sean Rehaag,  forwarded this invitation.  He writes:

While the talk is about empirical research on refugee determinations, one of the key focuses of [my]commentary will be on the difference in the effects of the gender of judges on refugee claim outcomes in Canada and the United States.

“It turns out that, in the US, female refugee adjudicators have much higher grant rates than male adjudicators, leading some scholars to suggest that these striking differences provide support for the contention that male and female judges approach judging in distinctly gendered manners (see e.g. Carrie Menkel-Meadow, “Asylum in a Different Voice? Judging Immigration Claims and Gender” in Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Andrew Schoenholtz & Philip Schrag (eds.), Refugee Roulette: Disparities in Asylum Adjudication and Proposals for Reform (New York: NYU Press, 2009) 202). However, in Canada the grant rates of male adjudicators are slightly higher than the rates for female adjudicators. One of the things that we will be discussing is why the effect of adjudicator gender is so striking in the US, but is only relatively small in Canada — and what this might mean for those who see evidence of essential gender differences in judging in the US data.”

Thank you Sean for this note!

Refugee Roulette Oct 14.pdf application/pdf Object.

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