REAL Women of Canada recently uncovered that research into women’s and gender issues is receiving considerable funding via the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Industry Canada. Since 1998, SSHRC gave out funding for 1,792 research projects on women’s issues and 1,494 on gender issues.
As a female university student, I am all too aware of the oppression we sisters face at the hands of men. Many of my female comrades are unable to pursue an education, as they are forced to stay home to cook for their gluttonous brothers. Those few of us who make it to university must steel ourselves every morning before we enter this paternalist institution. We walk through campus in tight groups, cringing as male students give us hostile stares. We often run out of our classes in tears, as our lectures are interrupted by a choir of male voices chanting, “Woman…Woman…Woman!”
At least, that must be what feminist organizations wish our lives were like. Then I suppose people would ask fewer questions about the funding they are getting, though I doubt that, in such a society, they would get any funding at all. It is unbelievable that anyone can try to claim that men are more privileged than women in Canada and the feminist recipients of SSHRC funding are of no practical help.
According to a press release from the Canadian Women’s Health Network, for example, the research project “Women’s Human Rights, Macroeconomics, and Policy Choices” (run by the York University Centre for Feminist Research) that received $145,742 from the SSHRC is “designed to equip women across Canada with tools to better understand how the federal government makes decisions about spending and how those decisions impact women.” Well, I suppose those decisions would affect women quite a lot since they make up a majority of the population. The group could probably undertake the same project for men and get the same results, though then they probably would not have gotten the grant money.
In January 2010, the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women got $1 million for a “Fem North Research Project,” which according to the project website, aims “to understand the effects of economic transformations on women’s lives in Canada’s North in an increasingly globalized economy.” It sounds really boring. And obvious.
These sorts of projects seem to assume that half the population is an isolated group which Canadians know nothing about. Thus, researchers are tasked with uncovering normal facets of human life and treating their “discoveries” as if they were something novel and exciting just because they investigated women.
It is really quite insulting that a small radical group of activists is trying to (falsely) convince everyone that women are a marginalized group and thus deserve special treatment via projects that are, in the end, only a waste of taxpayer money.
This special treatment even sometimes extends into political discourse. For example, the Liberal Party’s Pink Book states that party policy would be to “increase the participation of women in science, engineering, technology and the trades.” So the basic idea is to turn away more qualified male applicants and accept mediocre applicants just because they are women. Meanwhile, nothing is being done to remedy female dominance in careers such as nursing or teaching. Talk about equality of opportunity.
If anything, this sort of preferential treatment for one gender is the opposite of equality. In fact, it could be argued that the feminist assumption that women need to be lifted up to higher positions in life and society assumes that we are too weak or unintelligent to care for ourselves.
What I believe all of these groups have in common is an obsession that every area of life should have at least as many female as male participants. They refuse to accept that males and females are naturally unequal – we have distinct temperaments, interests, and bodies. Naturally, then, more females will embrace motherhood and more males may take up highly technical or stressful careers. What matters is that each group be given the same opportunity to use their talents and choose their styles of life.
In the end, this feminist agenda, legitimized by the past injustices and the historic inequality of women, is using its claim to represent all women to advocate for supposed equity policies that violate the morals of a large segment of the female population and are inherently destructive to society as a whole. For instance, we are to have the “choice” to abort because men do not get pregnant, and only then are we supposed to be equal to men. It seems almost as if feminists hate being women.
Pauline Kosalka, an Interim reporter, is a second-year history student at the University of Toronto.