Sunday, 8 October 2006

Time for an SWC meme

I imagine most Canadian bloggers are aware of the "Five Things Feminism Has Done for me" meme going around, in protest of the Conservatives' reduction of the funding to the Status of Women Canada. I didn't get tagged and didn't offer to participate on my own, because I found the meme irrelevant. Reading some of the many posts entitled "Five Things..." confirmed my impression.

Most bloggers came out with thoughtful, sometimes quite personal meditations on the positive contributions of feminism. Few of them were controversial: the right to vote, equal pay for equal work, the right to own property and the like. You'll get no debate from me on the value of such contributions.

But the meme was a red herring. It's not feminism, particularly not early feminism, that is the issue. It is the value of the work done by Status of Women Canada and to what extent they are representative of the women of Canada.

Now, I could give you my knee-jerk reaction based on a few reports more or less vaguely remembered, but of what value is that? About the same as the majority of the reactions, one way or another. Quite honestly, I know virtually nothing about what the Status of Women has accomplished in concrete terms, or what practical effect it has had. And really, to have an intelligent opinion on the cutting of funding to SWC, you have to know this kind of stuff.

So I want to know, can you name one single thing SWC has done that has impacted your life, positively or negatively? No vague partisan rhetoric, please.

If you are a Canadian blogger, please consider yourself tagged. (I've never participated in a meme before, so please bear with me. I'll probably tag some specific individuals later as well.) And please let me know about your posts, so I can index them here. In the meanwhile, I'm going to go do some research, so I can participate in my own meme. Hopefully we will all come out of this with a better and more informed idea of whether cutting SWC funding is a positive or a negative.

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7 comments:

Olaf said...

Janet,

That's brilliant, very well put, and will hopefully focus the debate where it should be - on the value of SWC.

I made a similar point on my blog, about the fact that the advances of feminism are for the most part not at issue. Although I didn't put it quite as well.

Janet said...

Thanks, Olaf. I'll be looking forward to your input. ;o)

Adrian MacNair said...

Well said. I also immediately the rejected the call as irrelevant. Feminism has been so broadened by so many writers and women as to have lost it's meaning. In other words, it means something different to each person, and thus has no cohesiveness as a term. If a feminist can be a woman who says barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen is the way to go, then it's lost all purpose.

Berlynn said...

Perhaps if you'd read more of the 5 things meme posts, or more posts by some of the meme's contributors, you'd find some interesting information. Or, why not try a google blog search?

On October 5, well before you offered your ramblings, I wrote this. And, in following posts I've mentioned many other projects/programs that will be impacted by the changes at SWC. Oh, and hey, spend some time at the SWC website.

Get yourself informed, and quickly. Hard-won women's rights in this country are under attack. And women's rights are human rights. We must come together and act to stop this backlash.

Berlynn said...

PS: BTW, Adrian, feminist activism is never irrelevant.

Janet said...

Berlynn, I've spent a quite a while at the SWC website, poking especially through disclosure documents. Hopefully real information is in there somewhere, but all I've found so far, other than the fact that they have the equivalent of 131 full-time employees, is abstractions and generalities. I haven't looked at everything by any means, so I will try again.

Janet said...

Berlynn, which rights specifically do you think are under attack and in what way? This isn't at all clear to me.

 

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