Just shy of three weeks since International Women’s Day, I am writing this entry on the first full day of spring. As I reflect on the last quarter of our work at WIN House, I am reminded of a some of the incredible moments in Canadian history:

• 1918 – Canadian women were granted ‘extended’ rights
• 1921 – Canadian women first voted in federal elections
• 1929 – Privy Council in England (Canada’s then-highest court) overturned the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to decline to define women as ‘qualified persons’ who could be appointed to the Upper House
• 1977 – Canadian Human Rights Act provides all Canadians a right to equality, fair treatment, and an environment free of discrimination on the bases of sex, sexual orientation, marital status and family status
• 1977 – Canada follows United Nation’s lead to observe International Women’s Day on March 8th
• 1995 – A Federal Employment Equity Act is adopted (applies to the federal Public Services
• 2004 – Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (formerly Child Welfare Act) recognized
exposure to domestic violence as a concern to the wellbeing of children

Still, there are individuals and groups who fear these types of changes and who may assert that gender equity initiatives are discriminatory against men or that they inherently don’t recognize abuse and injustice experienced by men. This could not be further from the truth. Feminism and anti-misogyny philosophy does not condone reverse discrimination. Its principles do not promote abuses against men. Rather, it is based on the premise that all genders and family members
benefit from an equitable and non-abusive environment.

With the above perspective in mind, I am happy to embrace more recent efforts and activities in our larger community, such as:

• Promotion of women in politics
• Use of social media to increase awareness of domestic violence
• Gender employment opportunity and wage equity initiatives
• Initiative to abolish high heel dress code requirements, based on gender, in
employment policy
• Initiatives to engage men and boys to learn and mentor healthy non-violent
and non-abusive ways of coping and dealing with stress in interactions with
all genders
• Increased awareness of responsible and ethical roles of media and
marketing, in relation to influencing and shaping our cultural gender norms
• Early childhood, middle school and teen education initiatives that promote healthy relationships, and many others…

With the coming of Spring, the evolution of the advancement of gender-equity related issues continue with a surge of momentum amidst distractions. WIN House invites your attention to such issues that impact all of our families and communities, and welcomes rebirth and renewal of your energy to gain momentum on these issues everyday of the year. A huge thank you to everyone who have supported us in the previous year. I look forward to nurturing your friendship with WIN house and to seeding even more partnerships in the months to come!

Wishing everyone a happy and abuse-free summer to come,

Tess Gordey, MSW, RSW
Executive Director
WIN House