Tag Archives: leaders

Canada ‘rogue state’ on environment, says ex-Harper appointee

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Equality in Engineering

Right down to the chants

People are under the impression that engineering must have been hard for me, being one of few women.

The chants, for example, are notoriously “inappropriate” – the most famous and widely shared being a song about Lady Godiva. (See a fuller, albeit tailored version, by MIT)

But we women were given equal opportunity to be just as rude as the men. We wrote our own chants and they were just as inappropriate and just as funny… for everyone… regardless of gender… and no one celebrated rape.

The UBC Sauder School of Business is reeling from recent revelations about Frosh being taught chants celebrating underaged rape.

Naturally, the university has separated itself from the student chants and suggesting the business school teaches rape is absurd. BUT, before dismissing this as an isolated incident, the school needs to consider the possibility of an underlying divide between “suits” and “skirts”.

The culture of engineering is often assumed to suffer gender division. I made that mistake when I first went to work. I fell into the trap of dressing like my male colleagues, thinking being “one of the guys” was the only way for me to fit in.

I imposed that gender division on myself.

In the end, I finally realised there is no outfit that a rugged pair of coveralls can’t neutralize! I could wear a skirt if I wanted to and still visit sites, climb ladders, and harness myself to scaffolding. I was just like any man who wanted to protect his  3-piece suit, while out in the field.

Reforming the way we view and treat gender does not need to sterilize our differences. I like wearing skirts. I know how to do my work regardless of my attire, just like Swedish train drivers.

They donned skirts to beat the summer heat in protest to their employer’s ban of shorts.

They can do their work better when they are comfortable, and that was worth fighting for. (We have quite a way to go in accepting gender as a continuum rather than binary categories-the shorts ban was quickly lifted.)

In Engineering at McMaster University, I was treated as an engineering student. Nothing else. When I went to work, I had to relearn that. My colleagues didn’t parse me out as a female engineer. They let me decide how to define myself, and they accepted me for my work, not for my anatomy.

I’m not much of a “rah-rah engineering” graduate, but…

Gimme an “E”! Gimme an “N”! …

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Passion over pragmatics

Sometimes I re-watch this when I can’t quite remember the direction I was going:

Swiggtalk chats with Betsy Agar about following your passions, advice on choosing to do what you love, and the many career options available to teen girls. More at http://www.swiggtalk.com

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‘He’s welcome anytime, and I’ll tell you why’

was how her story began.

I was meeting her for the first time, but she felt she knew me.

‘Some of my daughter’s classmates told her she was too small to play their game,’ she explained, ‘and I overheard him tell her “Do you know what? One of the greatest basketball players in our school is one of the smallest kids I know.” I’m not sure he knows what that meant to her, but she certainly does.’

I have worried about raising a sensitive boy who is acutely aware of what is fair and what is not. Is it fair to impose my values about fairness and kindness and inclusiveness on him?

He’s the one who has to navigate his own world, not me. Am I putting him at a disadvantage? Is he cursed to become a doormat or someone’s punching bag? Should he be tougher?

We were just two moms ducking Vancouver’s spring rain and suddenly her words celebrated a boy, my boy, who stands up for fairness and kindness and inclusiveness.

Now I know there is no one braver and I’m proud of him, but most of all, now I know he  (along with everyone around him) will be okay.

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Queen of Green on Softening the Hard to Recycle

The David Suzuki Foundation is home to the Queen of Green who writes tips for greening your lifestyle. She’s dedicated her latest post to the hard to recycle:

My favourite of her tips are those that return the waste to the retail stores where you buy them. In Germany, the life-cycle of packaging is the responsibility of the manufacturers, not the consumers and municipalities, as it is here.

Canadian retailers, like Rona and London Drugs, that are inviting consumers to return packaging waste are doing so voluntarily and thereby setting a standard for other retailers. Hopefully this full cycle responsibility will result in better public policy that rewards industry leaders.

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Psst! She may not know it but…

She inspires me to write. Psst! Thank you Louise.

She raises my faith in myself. Psst! Thank you Carolyn.

She pushes me forward. Psst! Thank you Laurel.

She protects me. Psst! Thank you Janice.

She listens and confides. Psst! Thank you Jenn.

She brings me peace. Psst! Thank you Agnes.

She brings me joy. Psst! Thank you Sharon.

She grounds me. Psst! Thank you Karina.

She teaches me to love time spent in my kitchen. Psst! Thank you Steph.

She loves me unconditionally and gives me space simply to be. Psst! Thank you Freda.

She brings the best of my past into my present and future. Psst! Thank you Nicole.

She makes me count my blessings. Psst! Thank you Lucene.

She humbles me. Psst! Thank you Janet.

She opens my mind to other ideas. Psst! Thank you Lisa.

She opens my heart to new experiences. Psst! Thank you Iris.

She quiets my mind so I can listen. Psst! Thank you Michelle.

She gives me a voice so I can sing. Psst! Thank you Bec.

She teaches me love. Psst! Thank you Tanya.

She teaches me compassion. Psst! Thank you Pam.

She works hard, then lets go. Psst! Thank you Meredythe.

She makes me laugh. Psst! Thank you Ally.

She never looks back and has no regrets. Psst! Thank you Ruth.

She shows me how to share my passion. Psst! Thank you Astrid.

She teaches me to be brave. Psst! Thank you Donna.

She lives simply as I aspire to do. Psst! Thank you Dhakshi.

She is patient and I try to be too. Psst! Thank you Heather.

She reminds me to roll with whatever life throws at me. Psst! Thank you Natalie.

She exemplifies strength. Psst! Thank you Melissa.

She is independent. Psst! Thank you Allison.

She is teaches me not to fear my own voice. Psst! Thank you Emily.

She holds my heart and it grows every time she laughs, cries, asks, screams, and even sleeps. Psst! Thank you Rhiannon.

Live within limits without limiting life

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Wow what a group!

Thanks for your support!

Picture 1

Happy New Year!!!!!

ahem, may i speak

Live within limits without limiting life

Follow me and check out my new blog! Meat Eating Vegans

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