Wednesday, 11 October 2006

One thing the SWC has done for me

Glaze my eyes over with endless bureaucratese, without giving me any solid information to chew on.

Status of Women CanadaMy SWC meme hasn't exactly been a riproaring success, for three reasons. First of all, this blog is still pretty obscure, so most people are probably still unaware of it. Second, those who are aware of it don't have a clue what to say about Status of Women Canada if they aren't allowed knee-jerk, partisan generalities. And third, I haven't tagged anybody specific.

Well, there's not much I can do about the first, at least not quickly.

As for the second, I sympathize. I had nothing to say off the top of my head either, positive or negative. Research wasn't very helpful. The government documents were full of meaningless flow charts, bureaucratese that must be designed to thoroughly discourage anybody trying to find real information, and page after page of vague generalities. After a couple of hours, my brain was numb and I was no closer to finding out what programmes were actually funded by SWC, nor what practical difference they made to anybody. I am still therefore basically without an opinion, although my suspicions have been raised. One of their main emphases is GBA - Gender Based Analysis - which seems to be a programme to make sure there isn't any gender bias in the public service. In a 2002 document they said it was too early to have any concrete results, but they should be able to say something more precise in a couple of years. In 2005, they were saying much the same thing. This has all the earmarks of a government sinkhole, money being spent on endless, perpetual studies that never make recommendations or even come to any kind of conclusion. What I really want to find is a list of organizations that SWC has sponsored, how much money they were each given, and what they accomplished with it. If anybody can help me, I would love to know where to find it.

As for the third reason, I will try to put together a politically diverse list of both genders and see if that gets the ball rolling better. In the meanwhile, I would like to hear from you: what difference has the SWC made in your life, for better or worse? You can comment here or at the original post, email me (make the necessary changes to the address), or post on your own blog and link back or let me know.

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12 comments:

SUZANNE said...

In order to get that, you have to perform an access to information request. The grants for the Women's Program over $25 000 are posted on the website under "full disclosure" or under some such title.

Real Women has done some of that work. You can read some interesting facts here.

Happy reading.

Sara said...

SWC has stopped the family tax breaks for childcare by supporting only the individual tax breaks. WHile they do fight well for paid working women they do nothing for the unpaid caregivers. Can you suggest some way for them to fix this?

Daycare lobbiests are funded from SWC, which is fine but only them are funded. Well until now :)

Janet said...

Sara, I'm afraid I can't help you there. My best suggestion would be to contact your MP and let him/her know what your concerns are.

Suzanne, thanks for the information. I poked around on that website for ages trying to find out where the real information was. And thanks for the link, too.

Scott Tribe said...

One thing SWC has done for a broad band of women (if not specifically yourself and every woman): Its granting of funding to the Canadian Council of the Muslim Women in Ontario allowed that group to successfully challenge and help strike down the possibility that Muslim Shariah law would be used in Ontario family court cases, and essentially anywhere else. (also noteworthy to point out at this juncture that since thus group of women was an advocacy group, they would have never gotten the funding from SWC now because of the Conservatives decision to ban advocacy groups from applying for SWC funding).

SUZANNE said...

Scott

I don't think you get the point of the question.

The question is to the progressive community:

How has Status of Women helped them individually

Not how it funded a group.

Not how it funded a cause you support.

But how it helped YOU (assuming you were woman).

I suggest that SOW helps so few women who actually need the help (and overlaps with provincial jurisdiction) that it's a useless program.

Notice the title of the post "One thing the SWC has done for ME".

valiantmauz said...

Suzanne - that is quite the semantic backflip. Way to stick the landing.

"Groups" are made up of individuals, and there are thousands of individual female Muslims living in Ontario who directly benefitted from SWC's funding in Scott's example - yet somehow the fact that these thousands of individual female Muslims living in Ontario haven't responded to a blog post proves that SWC is worthless?

I am not even particularly supportive of SWC, yet that "logic" offends me.

Frankly, I'd be happy to see a SWC that publicly accounts for every cent they grant - to whom, and for what projects. I'd like that data posted on a website, with links to the websites of the organizations SWC funds.

I'd also like to see the grant applications posted, both funded and rejected, and the rationale for doing either.

As someone who works in IT, with special expertise in granting organizations, I know that information is available somewhere. Why it's not easily accessible, I have no idea.

Janet said...

Suzanne, the proper acronym is SWC. I'd like to keep this blog an insult-free zone, so please don't use any inflammatory or offensive language.

The question was not just for "progressive" bloggers (not sure I like that term, but anyway), it was to everybody. If SWC hasn't done something FOR you, what has it done AGAINST you?

I certainly would prefer individual stories, but right now I'm willing to take any solid information. I find these kind of issues tend to generate heat rather than light, and what I'm aiming for here is a little light. It's been so hard to find out what is really going on.

I'm with Valiantmauz on wishing that the information were easily accessible. I think preventing Shari'ah law was definitely a positive, on the other hand, I do share REAL women's concern that funding to advocacy groups was slanted to a rather narrow ideology. The feminist movement has struck me for years as sometimes being painfully paternalistic. So there's something to be said on both sides, as is usually the case.

I do appreciate the feedback, people, keep it coming.

Scott Tribe said...

I'll relay this along to Janet and Valiant: Part of the problem is that the Conservative government has removed all the links to the programs it funded at the SWC site.

I would advise you to visit this website called Status Report thats recently been setup in the last couple of days by a couple of feminist consultants (one of them runs a separate site which is a Progressive Blogger affiliate), which among other things is designed to give out info on the SWC and what it has done. They havent got it completely setup, but it would be a good site for you to keep an eye on, and I'd encourage you to email them over there and ask them what you're looking for.

Because, with all due respect, getting your information from REAL Women and from Suzanne and Sara is biased and one-sided, to say the least.

valiantmauz said...

Thank you Scott, I will bookmark that site for future reference - not that I was likely to get my news from REAL Women, in any case.

Not exactly "sympatico", them. At least to me, anyway.

Sasha said...

Scott,

I went to the site you posted.

The disclaimer states it is a non-partisan site. It is hardly that and provides absolutely no information on what, exactly, the SWC does fund.

Also, it is difficult to believe that Audra Trower Williams (a partner in promoting the views of this site) could be described as 'non-partisan' in her advocacy for SWC funding by the federal government.

SUZANNE said...

Suzanne, the proper acronym is SWC. I'd like to keep this blog an insult-free zone, so please don't use any inflammatory or offensive language.

I definitively respect your intent, so I will not call it by its informal acronym.

Valiant Mauz wrote:

"Groups" are made up of individuals, and there are thousands of individual female Muslims living in Ontario who directly benefitted from SWC's funding in Scott's example - yet somehow the fact that these thousands of individual female Muslims living in Ontario haven't responded to a blog post proves that SWC is worthless?


I'm just curious as to how this Muslim group would have been funded by SWC. The Woman's program funds projects. Was there a project involved in fighting Sharia law?

What I find is that the work of women's groups is attributed to funding by the Women's program, except the program only goes towards projects For instance, it was reported in the Canadian Press that NAWL had to close its doors because of lack of funding, but SWC is not responsible for operational costs. Just because you get a grant from SWC doesn't mean EVERYTHING you do can be attributed to that funding.
I'd like to know what project, per se, was dedicated to fighting Sharia Law?

I admitted in my blogpost that yes, maybe the word didn't get out. But as there are many bloggers who have spoken out in favour of SWC, you would think that one or two of them could show, concretely, how SWC funding has directly benefitted them.

Janet wrote:

The feminist movement has struck me for years as sometimes being painfully paternalistic.

I feel strongly about that, too. The feminist movement assumes that if you're not a feminist, you're less intelligent and less educated and your experience is not valid.

That wouldn't bother me as much, EXCEPT they claim to speak on behalf of all women (MP Maria Minna has done so at least three time in her capacity as a politician) AND they make the claim that women are intelligent enough to make up their own minds.

I've made up my own mind. I think feminism sucks.

They must be made to understand that feminists represent AN IDEOLOGY not ALL WOMEN. They've been acting on the assumption they represent the interests of all women. They do not. They represent ONE PERSPECTIVE among many, and women of other perspectives have just as much right to assert their voices as women as anyone else.

Scott wrote:

Because, with all due respect, getting your information from REAL Women and from Suzanne and Sara is biased and one-sided, to say the least.

As if StatusReport were not biased at all

Janet said...

You can't get any perspective unless you have two eyes. Depth vision disappears when you have only one. So I'll refer to both REAL women and Status.ca to try to get a better grip on this, and I'd encourage other readers to do the same or at least something similar. I'd also encourage reading the "other" side of the story with a real attempt to put yourself in their shoes. It's sometimes amazing how that can enlarge your vision. Demonization is all too easy, intellectually shallow, and spiritually irresponsible. And don't fingerpoint. We all know it goes on on both sides. On just about every issue, when you come right down to it.

 

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