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Covid-19 & How We are Failing Women

Until very recently, the number of women in the workforce was at an all-time high. Economist Claudia Goldin confirmed that the current generation of college and university-educated women has come closer to attaining both a career and a family at the same time, than any other generation before. Then 2020 and Covid-19 happened. This pandemic has thrust gender inequality into the spotlight. It has illuminated how quickly progress can unravel, in both the home and the workplace.

 

What is Sexual Harassment at Work?

You started a new job two months ago at a grocery store. You are still learning your responsibilities and your co-workers are friendly, especially your co-worker Riley. You notice Riley likes to make sexual jokes that make you uncomfortable, but you do not say anything. You and Riley are working late together one evening. Riley starts to make inappropriate jokes, including sexual gestures (e.g. kissing sounds, obscene hand movements) in your direction. You politely tell Riley to stop but, they say: "don't be a prude and give me a kiss!" and physically block your way from leaving. You are shocked and do not know what to do. Is this sexual harassment at work? Can you report sexual harassment to your employer?

 

New Year, New Rules: Introducing a one-stop shop to meet Canada’s new workplace domestic violence regulations

For many of us, 2021 couldn’t have come fast enough! It’s a new year and if you’ve kept up with Canadian labour news, it also ushers in some new labour rules. Starting January 1, 2021, the Canada Labour Code (CLC) expands regulations on workplace violence and harassment policies in response to Bill C-65. These revisions aren’t a mere formality; they require three major and meaningful actions from employers themselves:

Women are Leaving the Workforce amid the Pandemic. What can we do?

a memorial rose in the dark

An unprecedented exodus of women from the workforce is upon us and the pandemic is only partly to blame. The real culprit for this mass departure may come as a surprise: we can trace it back to the workplace policies and work cultures that we have long fostered. Luckily, it’s not too late to fix things.

 

December 6: Workplace Violence Against Women in Canada Today

a memorial rose in the dark

On December 6, 1989, 14 young women were murdered at Polytechnique Montreal, one of Canada’s most tragic acts of violent misogyny.  Every December 6 onward, we commemorate the lives lost in this event and renew our collective commitment to fighting violence and misogyny.  Even after three decades, this fight is far from over in Canada.  It was only two years ago that a Toronto van drove into pedestrians in April 2018, killing 8 people and severely injuring many more, motivated by the accused’s hatred of women.

 

Ending Violence Against Women - Basics for the Workplace

two women in a meeting

Violence against women is everywhere. In the workplace, we see it in certain jokes, “water cooler talk”, information and media we consume, and also directly. Many women face harassment or assault from a coworker or supervisor. For others, the abuse they experience at home carries -over into the workplace. This can happen in a variety of ways, including  harassing phone calls, uninvited visits, or threats. It can also be less obvious to others, such as difficulties the victim faces in attempting to cope or even cover up the abuse. Considering the fact that one in three  women have been affected by abuse,  it is very likely every one of us knows someone who has been abused. It’s possible a co-worker, employee or boss has or is experiencing some form of abuse and it’s imperative that everyone knows what to look out for and how to help.

 

National Housing Day and its Link to Employer Support for Domestic Violence Victims

woman signing housing paperwork

“Why can’t they just leave?”

That’s the default response to a story about a victim enduring domestic violence.  Packing up bags and walking out the door towards a fresh new chapter of their lives is a pleasant image to evoke, but void of the harsh realities that victims actually face.  Many financial barriers unfortunately stand in their way and one of the largest and most daunting expenses can be housing.  Victims may find themselves going from a dual-income household to supporting small children on a single-income.  Alternatively, they might not have had meaningful employment in their previous household arrangement, always dependent on their abuser for finances, which makes their search for stable, suitable housing immediately challenging.  Without adequate funds for a security deposit, first and last month’s rent, or without any proof of income documents to show, how can victims swiftly leave their situation and thrive independently?

 

Woman Abuse Prevention Month: How Workplaces Can Help Prevent Abuse

business woman looking out window with sadness

As the remaining golden and rust-toned foliage finally floats to the ground early November, this month also ushers in the beginning of Woman Abuse Prevention Month.  This month of awareness is particularly salient since domestic violence rates have intensified amid pandemic-driven quarantines and lockdowns.  We at Make It Our Business have strived to adapt our workplace support resources to our new socially-distanced circumstances, releasing a blog on warning signs of abuse that you can spot while working from home (blog: http://makeitourbusiness.ca/blog/new-warning-signs-spotting-abuse-canadi...).  Of course, questions about concrete steps your workplace can take to prevent abuse remain at large.

 

Oct 1st 2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons

senior African woman having tea

Thirty years ago, on December 14, 1990, the UN General Assembly made October 1 the International Day of Older Persons. The day was observed for the first time throughout the world on October 1, 1991. The 2020 observance will also promote the commencement of the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030). The initiative will bring together UN experts, civil society, government and the health professions to discuss the five strategic objectives of the Global Strategy and Action plan on Ageing and Health while noting the progress and challenges in their realization. The global strategy is well integrated into the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while ageing issues cut across the 17 goals, especially Goal 3 which aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being of all at all ages”.

 
 

Gender Equality Week: The Inequality of Working from Home

mother watching 2 kids while working at home

Mid-September marks a full six months of quarantine in Ontario as workers who would typically work in an office continue to work from home. Some consequences of this new arrangement have certainly been welcome. With commutes eliminated, workers can sleep in later and enjoy the flexibility of running occasional errands around or near the home. The shift to working from home also enables workers to spend more time with their family and pets. Of course, this oversimplified portrayal of work-from-home life obscures the glaring fact that this comes to the detriment of women. Mid-September might mark six months of quarantine but late September also signifies Canada’s Gender Equality Week, a particularly opportune time to discuss how the pandemic exacerbates gender inequality.

 
 

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