Canadian social scientists and legal scholars have released an interdisciplinary study that confirms Women's Rights Activist's worst fears; women in Canada live and work under a systemic and systematic series of oppressive legislative measures (some of which are listed below):
Female Employees Equal Pay Act 1956
Canadian Bill of Rights 1960
Criminal Code of Canada Amendments 1965
Royal Commission on the Status of Women 1967
Criminal Law Amendment Act 1968
Social Aid Act 1969
National Ad Hoc Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) 1971
Unemployment Insurance introduces 15 weeks of paid maternity leave 1971
Native Women's Association of Canada 1974
Canadian Human Rights Act 1977/1985
Minister of State for the Status of Women 1979 (created)
Canada ratifies the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women 1981
The Constitution Act 1982
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982
Unemployment Insurance Act Amendments 1983
Criminal Code of Canada Amendment 1983 (rape/sexual assault)
Indian Act Section 12 removed (women losing aboriginal status by marrying non-Indian) 1985
Canadian Labour Code 1985
Employment Equity Act 1986/1995
Criminal Code of Canada Amendment 1992 (consent/honest belief)
Criminal Code of Canada Amendment 1993 (criminal harassment)
Criminal Code of Canada Amendment 1996 (victim impact statements/abuse of position of trust)
Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act 2009
There is a great deal more exploitative and male-biased legislation ensuring the protection and equal treatment for women under law (incl. various Election Acts between 1917 and 1951) found Federally, Provincially and within the Canadian Territories.
The joint study was published in May of 2011 and was sponsored by the University of Western Ontario and York University. Scholars, legislators and women's groups are perturbed by these findings and intend to introduce new legislation and policy guidelines to redress the imbalance which so clearly favours men. Jill Jesteson, a Gender Studies scholar and study spokesperson says, “A pervasive patriarchy promotes the inferiority of women and spreads 'rape culture' throughout Canada. It lurks behind these Legislative Acts purported to address equality: “Legislators and legal experts in this country hate women as can be seen in these Parliamentary Acts and initiatives which permeate our public and private lives. These are the most obvious tools used by our government to keep women living in fear and maintain their status as second-class citizens”.
Jesteson acknowledges the efforts of early women's rights activists but said that though they made 'nominal gains' these women were too entrenched in the Patriarchy to understand or experience the full extent of their oppression. According to Jesteson, feminists need to unpack and reveal the sexist and women-hating assumptions in our legislation and everyday language.
The study focused (for the most part) on legislation introduced after 1945 and analysed wording, the underlying values, and the male-biased assumptions used within. The very language women inherit from their homes and lived experience is a language of self-oppression. Women, through this legislation and movement for equality, are taught implicitly to self-hate. Though the study is still under scholarly scrutiny, Ms. Jesteson indicates that at its core lies the 'Terror of the Patriarchy'.
Though Patriarchy is normally defined in anthropological and sociological terms, contemporary 3rd Wave Feminists use it the same way as 'chauvinism' and 'sexism' was defined for earlier generations. As Jesteson says, “Patriarchy is a systemic bias against women, deep-rooted and pernicious.”
Critics of the published work, already labelled as 'women-haters' and 'rapists' are concerned about the study's biases and assumptions “The actual statistical methods are relatively sound but the conclusions, direction, and policy suggestions are not scientific or academically rigorous” says sociologist Amelie De Rigueur of Laval University. Moreover: “Scholars are aware of the potential backlash of any critical method applied to the study. However, we are professionals and the tools we have need to be applied objectively and systematically, regardless of what some feminist groups say online and in the press'”
Whether this study has any influence on Canadian legislation, policy and commerce practices is as yet an unanswered question. However, the current waves of feminists are influential and have an expanding audience, especially online. Below are some salient examples of the rhetoric used to support their ideology:
Anita Sarkeesian (born and studied in Toronto):
1. Everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic and you have to point it all out....
2. We need to seriously address connections between violence, sexism and toxic ideas of manhood before boys and men commit more mass shootings.
3. I have actually read many studies that state....gender segregated classrooms improve learning (same with race).
Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear -Susan Brownmiller
I feel that 'man-hating' is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them. - Robin Morgan
(More Cyberspace Artifacts HERE)