The women’s studies debate goes on

Is there still a place for women’s studies in universities?


The National Post continued its dialogue about whether women studies departments should continue to exist on university campuses today by publishing a letter to the editor written by Penni Stewart of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and Katherine Giroux-Bougard of the Canadian Federation of Students. Stewart and Giroux-Bougard countered last week’s doozy of an editorial piece, in which the Post’s editorial board argued that Radical feminism at the core of these programs has reaped havoc on families, labour law, court systems, constitutional freedoms and “even the ordinary relations between men and women.”

Predictably, the editorial sparked a chorus of anger from all corners of the internet. Read my coverage and opinion (yes, it is clearly an opinion) here.

Thankfully, today’s paper included Stewart and Giroux-Bougard’s refreshing response. They argue (rightly, in my view) that women studies programs are “essential to an equitable society” and that they have evolved over the last 40 years to reflect the current state of inequality between men and women. Sure, we’ve come a long way, but there’s much work and study to be done:

In the world imagined by the editorial board, women and men are treated equally, and feminism has fundamentally undermined individual rights, the court system and Canadian society. Women’s Studies programs have destroyed the traditional family and radically reshaped constitutional freedoms.

On the planet the rest of us live on, women continue to earn significantly less than men for performing the same work, are underrepresented at every level of government, are more likely to live in poverty and are at a significantly higher risk of violence and abuse. Despite progress in recent decades, women still hit a glass ceiling that maintains the upper echelons of business, government and society as a male domain.

Here here.


The women’s studies debate goes on

  1. Women’s Studies classes in their contemporary form promote institutionalized misandry. They may have had honourable intentions in their genesis, but have since been perverted by activists like Ms Giroux-Bougard.

    I would really like someone to prove this pay inequity myth to me. Because it my workplace, the public sector, and probably most large corporations it is clearly not the case.

    And before someone screams “white male entitlement”, I have to ask how to claim benefits from this ‘club’. Because I don’t have a membership card, and I’ve only ever been taught individualism…

  2. And besides, Radical Islam is the biggest threat to women’s rights. Is that ever mentioned in class?

  3. I can not even believe that this type of topic should ever even come up. Men and Women are equal. Women have come a long way. On the news the other day they had a report that stated with the economic down turn that men have started to marry women that have money. They are showing a rise in women being the bread winner in the family. A lot of this has a part in the fact that women are starting to get our share of the pie. He should not be a he she thing. It should be who can get the job done right.

  4. Are you kidding me??? One of the arguments is: Women’s studies/ feminism have destroyed the traditional family and radically reshaped constitutional freedoms.

    Considering the traditional family of old gave a man the right to treat his woman as property, to beat her, was the only decision maker the courts would recognize and was the soul person in the relationship who could own property.. yes I’m going way back but its only to demonstrate how feminism has helped form a more equal standing in the world.

    Constitutional freedoms.. … See More
    1916: Canadian women in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan get the vote. The rest of the country consented two years later 1918. …
    1920: Canadian women get the right to stand for election (but not for all offices
    1929: Women found to be “persons” in Canada and therefore able to become members of the Senate.
    We weren’t even considered PEOPLE until 1929. Is that not a basis for reform? Would that not suggest that perhaps we needed to revisit what freedom meant and have the law recognize change was essential? To teach our young people where we’ve come from and to keep it fresh in the mind so that we fight at minimum to maintain our rights and freedoms?

    Someone argues we shouldn’t learn about our so recent history or how far we’ve come, what our struggles were and how far we still have to go. I think every woman and man should have the opportunity to learn about our history and form our own opinions about what that means to them.

    We learn about slavery and other forms of oppression at home and world wide in school, why should we not learn about how oppressed we were as human beings in our own Country.

  5. I think that if you take away women studies you should take away ethic classes, history classes, and any other class that we learn from the past. To me as a women myself, there is still this feeling as if men are generally smarter and better then women. I think we have come a long way and women studies preserves the … See Morepast as a way of remembrance. I truly believe we learn from our past mistakes and those of others. Women studies maybe need to be looked over maybe in a new light, but it’s purpose is still important.

  6. Does preserving and teaching about the inequalities that exist or existed really help move things forward or does it mearly serve to further highlight the differences. If future generations never learned that there was any difference between black and white or women or men but were taught that everyone is the same would that not serve the puroses of equality better. I’m not saying I agree that womens studies should be abolished just a thought that if our educational system teaches us specifically about the differences and inequalities does it not just serve to reinforce that they exist for what to some ppl would seem justifiable reasons. I agree that it’s important to learn about the history but by segregating it ie. womens history, black history ect. are we not in fact continuing segregation? What if it was all simply human/social history and not segregated would that not reinforce the idea of equality in future generations more strongly?