Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

The Status of Women

Posted on | March 29, 2011 | No Comments

This has been quite a day in the news about the rights and the quality of life of women in Canada and the USA. Let us first talk about Christiane Pelchat’s, president of the Women Status Council, request for stricter enforcement of Quebec’s lay character. Arguing, and I won’t oppose this, that the great monotheist religions are deeply misogynous, she asked to inscribe this in Quebec’s charter of rights and freedoms.  

Is there really cause to worry? People in Quebec like to think that everything is under control, yet a look at our neighbours will remind us that the progress made in the last few years remains fragile. The Belle Province has a law to prevent payroll discrimination, yet n the USA, employees of retail giant WalMart are leading a crusade to the Supreme Court in order to expose allegations of obvious gender-based discrimination. Surprisingly,  the court could reject the lawsuit as the simple facts that being a woman and having a lower income are not, according to the law, sufficient to create a homogeneous category.

Another Time’s article reminds us that in periods of economic troubles, women are often the first to suffer. The women living in Vallejo, California can attest to this. Since the city has officially declared bankruptcy, the police force was cut down by 40%. Prostitution soared, and brings an unhealthy kind of tourism to the city. Women walking on their own after dark are commonly mistaken for prostitutes, and citizen have taken into their own hands the administration of the law.  

Finally, the  Scientific American reviewed the lack of interest of women for scientific studies. Besides life sciences, where the number of female students has climbed steadily, many other field have been stagnating. There is hope however: it seems that, amidst all the factor that can encourage young women to pursue scientific academic achievement, having been told outright of the inequity in the field is a very important element

This will empower the proponents in favour of more affirmative action, and remind us that what progress we have made cannot be taken for granted. To the contrary, we must continue to defend the gains we have made, and keep these sensitive topics alive in the public discourse.

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