Archive for May, 2009

Awards Dinner in May

The members of Soroptimist International of Dundas-Ancaster-Flamborough were very excited to hand out $2,500 in bursaries to women in our community.

 Debra Tigchelaar, Executive Director of Drummond House was recognized for our Making a Difference award

Debra Tigchelaar, Executive Director of Drummond House was recognized for Making a Difference

Our awards ceremoney was held on Thursday, May 7 at the Dundas Golf & Curling Club where the Making a Difference for Women Award was given to Debra Tigchelaar for her contribution and dedication to Drummond House in Flamborough.

Congratualtions to our Violet Richardson award winner, Elizabeth

Congratualtions to our Violet Richardson award winner, Elizabeth

The Violet Richardson Award is given to honour young women age 14 -17 engaged in volunteer action within their communities or schools. This year’s award was given to Elizabeth Austerberry from Parkside High in Dundas who volunteers with the Junior Civitan Club and answers letters to Santa for Canada Post. She recieved $300 and a further $200 was donated to the Civitans in her honour.

Congratulations Edith, our Women's Opportunity Award Winner

Congratulations Edith, our Womens Opportunity Award winner

The Women’s Opportunity Award is given to a female heads of households who need additional skills, training and education to enable them to upgrade their employment status to re-enter the workforce so they can provide adequately for themselves and their families. This is a signature award for Soroptimist International, which has provided over $17M to 25,000 women since it’s inception in 1972. This year’s bursary for $2,000 went to Edith Kaggwa, a mother of four who has been accepted to the Mo-Mac nursing program.

Two of our members were honoured for 20 years of service: Nancy Davidson and Shirley McCoy; Jane Oulton is a charter member of our club from 1984

Two of our members were honoured for 20 years of service: Nancy Davidson and Shirley McCoy; Jane Oulton is a charter member of our club from 1984

We were also delighted to honour three of our club members: Jane Oulton who is a charter member from the original club that started in 1987 with 22 members; Nancy Davidson and Shirley McCoy have served with us for 20 years. A Soroptimist is a leader in her community. She believes that by joining with other women and engaging in awareness, advocacy and action in the service of her community and society, she can make the world a better place for humankind.

May 31 2009 under SI-DAF Events

Their body image really is distorted

Pick up any women’s magazine and you’ll see a model or celebrity on the cover with smooth and flawless skin, polished teeth and perfect curves. It’s hard not to look at those images and become discouraged because you feel like you’ll never “look like that”. How much worse could you feel if you were a teenager undergoing body changes and trying to “look good” for boys?

Kim Kardashian posted the before and after shots on her Web site.

Kim Kardashian posted the before and after shots on her Web site.

These models have been literally modified by the magic of “Photoshopping,” and one celebrity spoke out about what she really looks like. Kim Kardashian did a photo shoot for the April/May cover of Complex magazine. When the original picture leaked onto the Internet, she decided to post that picture on her blog next to the retouched version that was intended for the magazine. The differences are pretty significant – they took inches off of Kim’s legs (removing all cellulite), made her waist smaller (look at her arm) and brightened her skin. She writes “I’m proud of my body and my curves and this picture coming out is probably helpful for everyone to see that just because I am on the cover of a magazine doesn’t mean I’m perfect.”

To draw attention to the issue of photoshopping, Dove released this video. While we all understand the magic of makeup, the modifications to her neck and eyes really speaks to the gap between perception and body image, especially among young girls:

Sadly, that message starts even earlier. Bratz Dolls are designed for girls ages 6 and up. They have an interactive website with bios for each girl (Cloe’s pose is particularly offensive »). The narrow waist, long skinny legs and oversized eyes and lips all create a distorted perception of how your body should look.

Bratz Fashion Dolls vs Barbie

Bratz Fashion Dolls and Barbie - who looks like that?

By comparison, a year ago SI-DAF was one of the sponsors for the Beautiful Women Project, created by Cheryl-Ann Webster, which is a teaching and healing tool for women and girls, men and boys. The project is a touring art exhibition of 120 clay torsos of real women, aged nineteen to ninety-one.

Plaster casts of real women. Image courtesy of Cheryl-Ann Webster, creator of the Beautiful Women Project

Image courtesy of Cheryl-Ann Webster, creator of the Beautiful Women Project

Their mission is to raise awareness about the link between self-worth, self-identity and physical appearance. Webster’s artwork is accompanied by motivational and educational presentations, workshops and resource materials suitable for a broad range of participants.

May 30 2009 under General

The New Goodnight Kiss

Teen girls are swapping sex for just about anything … the Globe & Mail recently covered a new documentary book and DVD called “Oral Sex, the New Goodnight Kiss”. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“By 14, she was routinely blacking out on drugs, having sex with multiple partners at her house and partying with “Navy guys.” At the start of Grade 9, she was sleeping with a 21-year-old drug dealer and heroin addict. Soon after, she was recruited to trade sex for clothes and drugs. … One prostitution ring saw more than 15 girls aged 12 to 16 from several Edmonton middle and high schools offering their bodies to older men who gambled in a townhouse; another involved 15-year-old high-school girls charging college guys $20 for oral sex in Kelowna, B.C. In Surrey, B.C., pimps recruited 12-year-olds at their local mall.” Read full article »

All of the girls I interviewed who have had sex in exchange for money, drugs or merchandise are nice girls, pretty girls from good neighborhoods – girls who could be your own daughters, nieces, sisters, friends, neighbors.

All of the girls interviewed who have had sex in exchange for money, drugs or merchandise are nice girls, pretty girls from good neighborhoods – girls who could be your own daughters, nieces, sisters, friends, neighbors.

What three of our club members had to say in response:

We need to do more to boost these girls self esteems so that they don’t need the “attention” from this kind of destructive behaviour! I am outraged that society’s standards have sunk to a new all time low at young girls expense!

A local highschool student told me about her friends who are into “sexting” – sending explicit pictures and messages via their cell phones to classmates and friends!! One of her classmates (age 17) actually lost her virginity for tickets to a basketball game.

I find it quite shocking and did not realize this was a trend with young girls in Canada. I am certainly going to share this with my kids out west, especially since I have a granddaughter.

There are three videos of interviews from the documentary (mostly girls living in BC):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y0zofyM8jk&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNn2oNLRCNU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z6g0kTgNxg (warning! this last one uses very graphic language)

What Soroptimist International is doing?

Soroptimist International has joined the ‘Stop the Traffik’ Global Coalition. This is a global movement against the trafficking of people. It has more than 1,000 member organisations in 50 countries & a grass roots following of ordinary activists around the world. The work undertaken by the campaign is directly related to Objective 2 in the Programme Focus 2007-2011: End human trafficking and all forms of violence against women.

In North America, SIA launched it’s first National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness on January 11, 2008. This was done in response to estimates that anywhere up to 27 million people are enslaved in forced or bonded labor, child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time. For more information on trafficking, visit their resources page and download their white paper »

May 23 2009 under General

SIA adopts social media tools

Soroptimist International of the Americas has fully embraced social marketing. In addition to their website, they now have:

I applaud their move towards online communications and encourage everyone to read through the rich resources they are providing us!

May 21 2009 under SI News

URGENT ISSUE IN AFGHANISTAN – Advocacy Needed

As many of you will already be aware, President Karzai of Afghanistan has signed a new law that is detrimental to the women of Afghanistan and in particular Shiite Muslim Women. The law has not been enforced yet but has been debated in the Afghan Parliament and signed by 249 members including 68 women.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay made a statement condemning the new law on 2 April, saying:

“This is another clear indication that the human rights situation in Afghanistan is getting worse not better. Respect for women’s rights – and human rights in general – is of paramount importance to Afghanistan’s future security and development. This law is a huge step in the wrong direction.”

Soroptimists are appalled at this intended legislation to be introduced in Afghanistan and urge President Karzai to rescind this new legislation with immediate effect. The Rights of Women are to be protected under all circumstances and this law takes away those rights and makes them prisoners and slaves to their husbands and victims of gross violations. UNHCHR details the new restrictions on Shiite women which include denying them the right to leave their homes except for ‘legitimate’ purposes; working or receiving education without their husbands’ express permission, as well as explicitly permitting marital rape.

I encourage every Soroptimist to write to their individual governments requesting that they condemn this new law that is to be introduced into Afghanistan and ask President Karzai to respect the rights of all women in Afghanistan.

Margaret Lobo
President, Soroptimist International

Swarms of angry men shouting epithets and hurling stones confronted hundreds of Afghan women who staged a rare public protest yesterday against a law that allows husbands to demand sex from their wives. Read the full article and statistics from the Globe & Mail »

It used to be a mission to give a future to little girls. Now the government is scrambling to explain why Canadian troops are fighting for an Afghanistan that legalizes rape within marriage. Read the full article from the Globe & Mail »

May 16 2009 under General

SI booth at the Ancaster Fairgrounds

The New Ancaster Fairgrounds held a Community Open House on May 9th, and Soroptimist was there. This event was a great way for us to meet women in the community and share the Soroptimist story.

Located at the corner of Hwy 2 and Trinity Rd in Ancaster, the new grounds are beautiful. The crowds were fair in spite of tremendous winds and thunderstorms and we are excited to have several new guests attend our next meeting: June 4th at the Fortino’s community room in Westdale.

May 11 2009 under SI-DAF Events

Congratulations to our Award Winners

SI-DAF handed out over $2,500 in bursaries at our awards dinner last Thursday, held at the Dundas Golf and Curling Club.

The Violet Richardson Award is given to honour young women age 14 -17  engaged in volunteer action within their communities or schools. This year’s award was given to a female student named Elizabeth from Parkside High in Dundas who volunteers with the Junior Civitan Club and answers letters to Santa for the Canada Post. She received $300 plus an additional $200 was donated to the Civitans.

The Women’s Opportunity Award is a grant awarded to female heads of households who need additional skills, training and education to enable them to upgrade their employment status to re-enter the workforce so they can provide adequately for themselves and their families. This is the signature award for Soroptimist International and is awarded in over 125 countries worldwide. This year’s recipient was Edith Kaggwa, a mother of four who has been accepted to the Mo-Mac nursing program.

We were also delighted to have Shirley Eden present the Making a Difference for Women Award to Debra Tigchelaar for her contribution and dedication to Drummond House in Flamborough. Our club provided $750 towards their Gala dance.

We were also delighted to honour three of our club members: Jane Oulton who is a charter member; Nancy Davidson and Shirley McCoy were honoured for their 20 years of service with our club.

May 11 2009 under Programs of Service, SI-DAF Events

NEW THEMES FOR CEDAW!

CEDAW HAS EXPANDED THEMES FOR ATTENTION IN UN MEMBER STATE REVIEWS

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Two new working groups have been set up by the 42nd and 43rd session of CEDAW. One on the “Rights of Older Women” and the second on the “The Economic Consequences of Divorce”.

This is important because CEDAW is a “Binding Convention” for those UN countries that have ratified the general recommendations of the CEDAW Committee. These two important areas will now also receive attention in the member state reports and the work of CEDAW, whose committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world.

For more information, visit Women’s UN Report Program & Network (WUNRN) or the UN Division for the Advancement of Women

May 5 2009 under SI News

Pauline’s Bio

Pauline was born in London, England and moved to Canada in 2002 with her husband David who is an engineer. They have two children who both live and work locally. Her favourite pastime is eating chocolate. Her biggest fear is flying – she would rather spend three days on a bus or train to get to her destination just to avoid leaving the ground.

Pauline works part time for State Farm Insurance as a licensed representative and she also runs her own business Pauline’s Fine Art. Her artwork is a collection of inspirations, mainly abstract, using all mediums: acrylic, ink, pastels and watercolour. Her work is sold primarily on-line through her website: www.paulinesfineart.com.

Yes there is an Inukshuk in this abstract piece - you just have to study the canvas and I am sure you will find him. Turquoise is the main colour in this piece of acrylic artwork (24x24) which I feel captures the essence of the frozen north.

Yes there is an Inukshuk in this abstract piece - you just have to study the canvas and I am sure you will find him. Turquoise is the main colour in this piece of acrylic artwork (24x24) which I feel captures the essence of the frozen north.

Pauline is currently an SIDAF Board member, she also sits on the Programs committee and the Awards committee. In addition Pauline is a member of The Ancaster Lions.

This piece of acrylic artwork (20x24") was donated to the Soroptimist's as a raffle prize for their "I Love to Rock & Roll" evening. It was a great event and raised a good profit. The subject was inspired by the event.

This piece of acrylic artwork (20x24) was donated to the Soroptimist's as a raffle prize for their "I Love to Rock & Roll" evening. It was a great event and raised a good profit. The subject was inspired by the event.

Since joining Soroptimist Pauline has gained the friendship and support of an amazing group of women whose combined mission is to help improve the lives of women and girls both locally and worldwide, and she feels privileged to be part of that organization.

Pauline’s favourite quote: “have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” – Salvador Dali

Going

Going

Going

Going

Gone

Gone ... now proudly owned by fellow SI-DAF member, Brooke

May 2 2009 under Member Bios

FAO Conference in Rome- Its all about Food and Hunger

An excerpt from Assistant Programme Director Margaret Cook’s report as our SI UN Rep to Rome – Else recently went to Rome for the Annual Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) Conference for FAO. Read more on the Soroptimist Programme Blog »

Sustainable agriculture – learning from women! There was an acknowledgment that women are often the farmers – particularly in the South – and a valuable asset for developing good practice in sustainable agriculture.

I attended COAG (Spanish: Livestock and Farmers Cooperative) with Else Larsen, our UN Representative at FAO. We did a lot of networking – establishing useful links and ensuring that the work of Soroptimists is known well in FAO. The Gender Equity Department was particularly helpful – they were very interested in what we achieve and I know that this contact will help us develop our presence at FAO.

Margaret Cook
SI Assistant Programme Director

May 1 2009 under SI News