Written by guest blogger, Kim Melissa Willey.

Willey_Photo


Women remain woefully under-represented on the boards of Canadian companies two years after the Ontario Securities Commission (‘OSC’) changed its disclosure rules to make gender parity a priority[1]. At last count, women held only 18% percent of board seats in Canada’s largest public companies.[2] Admittedly, we are seeing baby steps as the number of women on boards continues to creep upwards, but decisions of Canada’s largest economic entities are still made by a group that does not reflect the population. Obviously, cultural diversity is also a significant part of this discussion, but cultural diversity should not push gender parity to the back burner. Women on boards are measurable in a way that cultural diversity is not, and, consequently, gender initiatives can bring faster transformation.

Women remain woefully under-represented on the boards of Canadian companies two years after the Ontario Securities Commission (‘OSC’) changed its disclosure rules to make gender parity a priority[1].

In my article in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law[3], I analyze the OSC’s approach to gender diversity from a behavioural economics perspective. Gender bias is deep seated in our business communities even among the most well-meaning and socially attuned people. Law and regulation can help uproot these deep seated and often unconscious gender biases, but the OSC’s approach does not do enough.

The OSC implemented a disclosure regime requiring large Canadian listed companies – TSX Venture Exchange companies do not count – to annually tell investors what they are doing about gender parity in the board room and in senior management. This is supposedly a ‘comply and explain’ approach meant to publically pressure companies towards gender parity. An alternative approach is quotas, which are popular in some European countries and can be an effective legal tool to increase the number of women on boards. But quotas have been rejected in Canada mainly based on concerns of ‘tokenism’, where board seats are filled with women with minimal influence and potentially less qualifications for the role.

Although quotas may not be a viable option to diversify Canadian boardrooms, the current OSC approach is far too soft to effect change. It is in practice an ‘explain and explain’ approach. Merely asking what companies are doing does not set a standard for behaviour. What is needed instead is a true ‘comply and explain’ approach. The OSC should state that all issuers – not just TSX companies – should have gender parity by a specific date – or stagger it, for example, 30% by 2020, 40% by 2022, and 50% by 2025. Boards should then be required to fully describe the steps they are taking to achieve this goal, or explain why they are not. Anything less is selling Canadian women short.

References

[1]  Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), Multi-Lateral Canadian Securities Administrators Amendments to National Instrument 58-101 Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices (Canadian Securities Association, 15 October 2014).

[2]  http://www.osc.gov.on.ca/documents/en/Securities-Category5/sn_20160928_58-308_staff-review-women-on-boards.pdf

[3]  “‘Bringing Canadian Women on Board': A Behavioural Economics Perspective on Whether Public Reporting of Gender Diversity Will Alter the Male-Dominated Composition of Canadian Public Company Boards and Senior Management“, Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Volume 29, Issue 1 (2017).


Kim Willey is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge. Kim has a B.A. (Hons), LL.B. and M.B.A from the University of Victoria and a Masters in Law from Osgoode Hall at York University in Toronto. Kim’s research is in the area of corporate governance and accountability. Prior to starting her PhD research, Kim had over a decade in private practice as a corporate lawyer advising clients on merger and acquisition transactions, both in Bermuda and Canada.

Willey’s article, “‘Bringing Canadian Women on Board': A Behavioural Economics Perspective on Whether Public Reporting of Gender Diversity Will Alter the Male-Dominated Composition of Canadian Public Company Boards and Senior Management, appears in Volume 29, Issue 1 of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, available to read here.

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Everything is Political – Even Physiotherapy!

by Lauren Naus on July 18, 2017

Written by guest blogger, Jenny Setchell PhD BSc(PT).


 
There is a notable absence of conversations about the politics of physiotherapy.

I have been a physiotherapist for over 20 years. I have mainly worked clinically, and more recently entered academia. My drive to shift professional gears was that I wanted to spend some time building my own capacity to engage in some deep questions I had always had about my profession. What was of interest to me was the ostensibly apolitical nature of physiotherapy. I was continually surprised how extremely rare it was that anyone discussed this healthcare profession in terms of power or politics. To me, these have always been an inherent part of just about everything that humans engage in – and, I believe, important to attend to so that we can work towards being ethical people in the world.

However, I have found trying to engage in a discussion about power or politics was very difficult in the context in my profession. These discussions were (to me) notably absent from physiotherapy conferences, lunchrooms or education. Beyond advocating for the profession’s rights to increase or maintain their scope of practice, little is said. Where were discussions about the implicit or explicit politics in the way the profession presents itself to the world? Whose interests does physiotherapy represent? What types of unspoken or overt messages do we perpetuate or create with the ways that our profession operates? What does physiotherapy have to say about bodies, society, culture, diversity?

Politics is about power. When considered in a macro-political sense it is possible to understand that power goes well beyond who is in power in government. In fact, as post-structuralist thinkers such as Foucault argue, governance is not centralised to institutions such as the government, the police or the judiciary. In fact, the most successful forms of governance (political power) occur though institutions that look as if they have nothing to do with it – but in fact do. If physiotherapy is one such institution (1), this surely should be something that is on the table for discussion?

Setchell_Blog1 On the other hand, in a micro-political sense, so many of the seemingly insignificant things we do in our lives have political implications. To give a physiotherapy example, measuring how far a person’s knee bends and comparing it to a normal joint range supports systems that advocate for adherence to a particular norm. It supports systems that believe in a particular type of science that holds up ‘objective’ measurement and comparison as helpful and valid (2). These small acts can be dismissed as inconsequential, or more critically, they can be seen as part of a broader system of power that works to define a particular type of normal and exclude those who do not fit (3).

This type of thinking was the underlying driver behind my PhD and my recently published guest editorial paper in Physiotherapy CanadaWhat has stigma got to do with physiotherapy?” (4). I applaud the journal for taking up questions like the one in the paper title – which prompt a critical (and potentially political) consideration of the healthcare. In the editorial, I discussed how some of the macro- and micro-politics of physiotherapy play out when the profession meets with difference. I used the example of the stigmatisation of people labelled as overweight or obese. Stigma was a way in for me. I looked at what happens when a person labelled overweight is in a physiotherapy context (5, 6) and it showed me that there is so much that is political about physiotherapy.

References:

  1. Nicholls DA. Foucault and physiotherapy. Physiother Theory Pract. 2012;28(6):447-53.
  2. Setchell J, Nicholls DA, Gibson BE. Objecting: Multiplicity and the practice of physiotherapy. Health. 2017:1-20.
  3. Gibson BE. Rehabilitation: A post-critical approach. Boca Raton, United States: CRC Press; 2016.
  4. Setchell J. What has stigma got to do with physiotherapy? Physiotherapy Canada. 2017.
  5. Setchell J, Watson B, Gard M, Jones L. Physical therapists’ ways of talking about weight: Clinical implications. Physical Therapy Journal. 2016;96(6):865-75.
  6. Setchell J, Watson BM, Jones L, Gard M. Weight stigma in physiotherapy practice: Insights from patient perceptions of interactions with physiotherapists. Manual Therapy. 2015;20:835-41.

Dr Jenny Setchell holds conjoint post-doctoral positions in Canada (Bloorview Research Institute) and Australia (The University of Queensland). Her research interests include the socio-political aspects of healthcare delivery. Clinically, she is a physiotherapist who has mainly worked in the musculoskeletal sub-discipline.

Email: j.setchell@uq.edu.au
Twitter: @jensetchell
Website: https://www.criticalphysio.net

Her article “What Has Stigma Got to Do with Physiotherapy?” appears in the Winter 2017 issue (Volume 69, Issue 1) of Physiotherapy Canada, available to read here!

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Religion and Popular Culture in the Classroom

by Lauren Naus on July 17, 2017

Written by guest blogger, Michael Nichols.


Judging by the looks on their faces, the students were having trouble processing what they were seeing. On the screen, a rotund, green beast with horns – not unlike a cross between “Casper the ghost” and Disney’s “Shrek” – floated before a meditating figure. The clip was from an animated version of the Buddha’s life intended for children, put together by a group called “Geethanjali Kids.”

The segment I showed focused on the Buddha’s temptation by Māra, lord of death and desire. Previously in the course, which covered figures of evil across religious traditions, we had considered ancient Buddhist textual accounts and artistic depictions of Māra. This example from a more recent popular culture medium seemed to leave the students uncertain about how to proceed. Some snickered, while others furrowed their brows.

Author, Michael Nichols Michael Nichols, author of ” Returning the Demon’s Gaze: Analyzing the Buddhist Figure of Māra in Popular Culture” which appears in Vol. 29, Issue 1 of the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.

In my recently published article “Returning the Demon’s Gaze,” I partly argued that analysis of Māra’s popular culture representations can provide insights on the historical forces continuing to shape representations of the figure. I asked the students to approach the animated clips from that vantage: what does the depiction tell us about possible cultural influences on the figure of Māra that would not have been present in the ancient texts? With that in mind, the comparisons to Casper and Shrek took on a new light, suggesting to several that the dynamics of globalized popular culture (especially a kind of “Disney hegemony”) had exerted their potency on Māra.

Framed this way, the study of religious symbols in popular culture is about far more than finding entertaining ways to engage students or relate to the objects of our research. At a conference once, a colleague actually inquired whether my interest in popular culture was, at best, “fluff” or, at worst, a degradation of the study of religion. Working off this scholar’s underlying assumption of a division between high and low culture, with religious beliefs obviously a part of the former, I responded that I saw such studies not as a degradation of religion, but an elevation of popular culture. In truth, the overlaps and ambiguities of both the concepts of “religion” and “popular culture” permit of no such easy dichotomies. Efforts such as my recent article on Māra will hopefully contribute to understanding these interconnections.

Despite the increasing prominence of the study of religion and popular culture, we still face skepticism, as voiced by my colleague and initially by my students. On the latter score, however, the tone certainly changed. By semester’s close, after studying a variety of religious symbols of evil across the world, we ended with Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, a graphic novel dealing with Batman and the Joker. With prior experience dealing with animated Māra, the class seemed far more nimble in highlighting the potential themes and symbolic comparisons. Ultimately I was heartened to see that they seemed on their way to becoming insightful critics of the intersections of religion and popular culture.


Michael Nichols’ article, “Returning the Demon’s Gaze: Analyzing the Buddhist Figure of Māra in Popular Culture” appears in Vol. 29, Issue 1 of the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, available to read here: http://bit.ly/jrpc291d

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Known mostly as a summer retreat for the wealthy, Muskoka’s history reveals the critical importance of permanent dwellers

four Muskoka chairs with lake and cottages

Originally posted on TVO
Written by guest blogger, Andrew Watson.


When most people in Ontario think of Muskoka, they picture mansion cottages dotting the shoreline of an affluent lakeside play land. Many who spend time in Muskoka are drawn by the enjoyment of fossil-fuelled recreation (wakeboarding, jet skis, etc.) and the trappings of creature comforts, but most are attracted by the rest-cure afforded by proximity to clear waters, wind-swept pines, and the rugged landscape of the Canadian Shield. The popular images of cottage life and resort tourism seem to characterize the region, but the impressions of conspicuous consumption bely a larger story that acknowledges and includes the lives of Muskoka’s year-round residents.

If we look past the expensive shoreline real estate and think beyond the affluent seasonal resident, we end up in a part of Muskoka that receives far less attention and confront a permanent resident population that builds, supports, and reproduces the region’s society and economy.

According to the 2011 Canadian census, approximately 58 per cent of Muskoka’s population is seasonal residents, while 42 per cent live in the district permanently. Without its permanent residents, however, Muskoka’s cottage and tourism culture would be impossible.

Through a large number of occupations in sales, service, trades, and construction, permanent residents provide the fundamental structures that support seasonal residents and tourists. In fact, the proportion of workers in these occupations in Muskoka is more than 10 per cent greater than the provincial average (roughly 47 versus 36 per cent).

Through a large number of occupations in sales, service, trades, and construction, permanent residents provide the fundamental structures that support seasonal residents and tourists. In fact, the proportion of workers in these occupations in Muskoka is more than 10 per cent greater than the provincial average (roughly 47 versus 36 per cent).

graph of Muskoka occupationsOccupations in Muskoka 2011 (District Municipality of Muskoka)

Yet unlike the image that dominates our perception of Muskoka, the lives of year-round residents are not characterized by wealth and privilege. Homelessness and poverty have been important challenges in Muskoka over the past two decades. In 2011, more than 50 per cent of households in Muskoka made less than $30,000 per year, and more than 70 per cent made less than $40,000. Moreover, homeowners in Muskoka earned, on average, 22 per cent less income than the Ontario average, while renters earned approximately 9 per cent less. Despite Muskoka’s reputation of wealth and affluence, those who make that reputation possible are largely overlooked and their important role is underappreciated.

The ways we discount their place in Muskoka’s society and economy is a historic problem with roots in the socio-economic, political, and cultural power differentials between permanent and seasonal residents that stretch back to the 19th century. Cottagers and tourists controlled the narrative of the Muskoka story, which not surprisingly favoured and romanticized leisure and luxury next to the lake instead of the labour and resources slightly further inland. The consequence of this narrative has been the nearly complete erasure of permanent residents and their central place historically in Muskoka’s society and economy.

During the second half of the 19th century, Eurocanadian peoples (residents of Canada West/Ontario and immigrants from Britain and Europe) displaced Indigenous peoples and colonized the Muskoka region as part of a larger effort to extend a rural agrarian society into the southern portions of the Canadian Shield. At the time that the earliest pioneers took up land during the 1860s, few people understood the potential of the landscape for farming. It did not take long for pioneers to discover that the Shield environment featured rocky outcroppings, poor drainage, and thin soils unsuited to commercial agriculture.

Muskoka cattle photo from 19th centuryCattle grazing in Muskoka’s early settler years. (John Lane/Archive of Ontario, C 127-2-0-4-7)

Those who moved to Muskoka expecting to grow wheat or establish a mixed farm resembling ones found in southern Ontario were disappointed. And when the Canadian Pacific Railway opened in the 1880s, many abandoned their land and moved west to the Prairies. Others grew crops more suited to the environmental realities of the Shield, such as oats, potatoes, and hay, and sold them to logging camps that cut white pine timber in Muskoka during the winter. Those who took up land next to the three largest lakes in Muskoka (Joseph, Rosseau, and Muskoka) realized a more profitable use for their land: selling goods and services to tourists.

Muskoka’s first tourists appeared during the 1860s, and the first hotels were built in the early 1870s. By the 1880s, tourism defined Muskoka’s rural society and economy next to the lakes. Early on, Muskoka attracted adventure seekers, anglers, and hunters, but only in relatively small numbers. The culture of cottages and resort hotels that characterized the region by the turn of the century materialized because permanent residents cultivated it. They aligned their labours and resources to provide accommodations, fresh foods, and services for seasonal visitors. Farmers continued to grow crops to sell to logging camps, but also increased the amount of time they spent on market vegetables, eggs, dairy, and meat – items that did not travel well from the city at that time. Enterprising farmers and merchants next to the lakes operated supply boats, which served as mobile extensions of their businesses to bring provisions to lakeside residents.

In the off-season, settlers cut cordwood from the forests and ice from the lake for stoves and icehouses, and hauled timber and lumber across the lake to build cottages on islands and remote points of land. Tourism co-evolved with agriculture and logging to form the basis of Muskoka’s rural identity, particularly for those who lived in close proximity to the lakes.

a 19th century supply boat in Muskoka, OntarioInterior of supply boat, Constance (Courtesy of Muskoka Steamship and Historical Society)

Our impressions of Muskoka are guided by well over a century of wealth and privilege. For more than one hundred years, Ontarians have associated Muskoka with opulent cottages, grand resorts, and a lifestyle of leisure and recreation. In constructing this narrative, seasonal residents (un)consciously ignored a critical part of the Muskoka story. In this regard, not much has changed since the late nineteenth century. But by understanding a more balanced history, we can start to create a more balanced society, culture, and economy in Muskoka.

You can read more about this important, and largely overlooked, aspect of Muskoka’s history in my recent article, “Pioneering a Rural Identity on the Canadian Shield: Tourism, Household Economies, and Poor Soils in Muskoka, Ontario, 1870-1900,” from the Canadian Historical Review, which will remain open access until the end of August 2017.

Andrew Watson is an assistant professor in the department of history at the University of Saskatchewan. He’s been delving into Muskoka’s past for more than a decade.

Nam Kiwanuka interviews Andrew Watson about the history of Muskoka. Courtesy of The Agenda YouTube Channel.

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Conjugal Friendship: An Appeal for a Conversation

by Lauren Naus on July 5, 2017

Written by guest blogger, Giacomo Sanfilippo.


 

twotheo
SS. Theodore of Tyre and Theodore Stratelates.
14th-century Byzantine icon.
From Christopher Walter, The Warrior Saints
in Byzantine Art and Tradition (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2003): plate 41, between pp. 144-45.

UTP Journals Blog published my “Introducing ‘Conjugal Friendship’” in March. Six weeks later my “Conjugal Friendship” appeared on the Public Orthodoxy blog of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University.

Both pieces emphasize that the conjugality of a certain kind of friendship between two men—understood as a lifelong spiritual union blessed in church and presupposing a shared home, joint ownership of possessions, mutual obedience, and some form of bodily intimacy—received its initial articulation in a 1914 essay by the married Russian Orthodox priest and father of his first child, Father Pavel Florensky.

The fact that Florensky has lately gained widespread recognition not only as one of the most prominent Orthodox theologians of the 20th century, but also as a Soviet-era martyr awaiting the Church’s formal elevation to sainthood, has blinded many of his devotees to what his essay and his life before marriage reveal in plain sight. His contemporaries saw his theology of friendship as far from uncontroversial. In their eyes it clearly did not pertain to “friendship” in any usual sense of the word.

The reaction to “Conjugal Friendship” in social media and the Orthodox blogosphere has been swift, and shockingly vicious. In response to an article that summarizes Florensky and says nothing about sex, my critics want to talk about nothing but sex—sometimes stooping to crudely pornographic mental images. They show an unwillingness to engage with what I actually wrote, or more importantly, with what Florensky actually wrote. They attack my “hidden agenda” and accuse me of misrepresenting Florensky. People who do not know me have stitched together from whole cloth a libelous narrative of my life. This has sunken to an astonishing depth of malice in an Orthodox Facebook group that has almost 15,000 members around the planet.

(In refreshing contrast, Huffington Post contributor David Dunn is owed a debt of thanks for offering the most measured and thoughtful response to date, here and here: he seeks dialogue where most of the others wish to shut it down. The Spiritual Friendship blog has posted a moving reflection by Gregg Webb.)

The firestorm ignited by my article is symptomatic of a deep malaise towards any manifestation of same-sex love at all in traditionalist churches. Forget about sex: one commentator, reacting to the 14th-century Byzantine icon of two male saints holding hands, exclaimed that he did not want to see men holding hands in church. (The nearly life-sized icon is painted on the wall of a monastery church in Macedonia.) Defying all comprehension, an Orthodox priest labeled Christ and John’s embrace in traditional Orthodox iconography of the Mystical Supper (the Last Supper) as “simply disturbing visual trash.”

This panic over same-sex oriented persons commingling with us at the Chalice and at the coffee hour causes us to lose sight of the pastoral question at the heart of the matter, which spells life or death for Orthodox children, youths, and adults who feel drawn—spiritually, emotionally, intimately—to their own gender: How might they envision a meaningfully integrated life within the communion of love that is the Church, consistent with the chastity of Christian life for all?

The ascesis of chastity entails not a mandatory life sentence to an unendurable deprivation of human companionship, but the gradual restoration of each person to psychosomatic wholeness in the radiant likeness of God.

The ascesis of chastity entails not a mandatory life sentence to an unendurable deprivation of human companionship, but the gradual restoration of each person to psychosomatic wholeness in the radiant likeness of God. For most Christians this requires, according to Florensky, a lifelong co-ascetical effort within an exclusive dyadic bond—with a life-companion of either the same or opposite gender—sanctified in the Church’s sacramental economy.

If no form of physical intimacy between two persons of the same gender can ever be conceived as an embodiment of love, how do we account for the presence of male-male erotic metaphor in St. Maximus the Confessor’s First Century on Theology, St. Symeon the New Theologian’s Tenth Ethical Discourse, or St. Symeon Metaphrastes’ martyrdom of SS. Sergius and Bacchus? These monks and Church Fathers can imagine two men sharing a marriage bed as a worthy allegory of the mystical union of Christ with the individual male believer, or of the spiritual union of two male saints with each other. In an earlier era, St. John Chrysostom remarks that such imagery only works if the bodily aspect of love can be envisioned as sinless.

No one disputes the particularly vehement aversion towards unbridled same-sex lust in Holy Tradition. Yet the saints offer us, as a counterpoint for a nuanced conversation in our time, glimpses into the innate beauty, holiness, and purity of what we now call same-sex love.


Giacomo Sanfilippo is a PhD student in Theological Studies at Trinity College. His proposed dissertation is tentatively entitled, “The Sacrament of Love: The Mystery of Conjugal Friendship in the Light of Orthodox Tradition.” He can be reached at peter.sanfilippo@mail.utoronto.ca.

His review of Wendy VanderWal-Gritter’s Generous Spaciousness: Responding to Gay Christians in the Church appears in the Spring 2017 issue (Volume 33, Issue 1) of the Toronto Journal of Theology, available to read here!

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Researching the Genesis of Children’s Hygiene in Preschools in the 19th and 20th Centuries

June 7, 2017

Written by guest blogger, Ghislain Leroy.   Featured in the latest issue of the Canadian Bulletin for Medical History / Bulletin canadien d’histoire de la médecine… L’enfant-objet de préoccupations hygiéniques : évolution d’une figure de l’enfant dans les textes officiels de l’école maternelle française (19e–20e siècles) Illustration by Ghislain Leroy This article is the result of […]

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An interview with Deborah Gorham on feminism, past and present

April 26, 2017

An interview between Naomi Zurevinski and Deborah Gorham, author of “Liberty and Love? Dora Black Russell and Marriage,” on early feminists and the challenges of being a woman in academia. To read more about Gorham’s work for her article in the CJH/ACH, click here. Gorham’s article appeared in the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire […]

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An interview with Deborah Gorham on Dora Black Russell and the play, Yours, Unfaithfully

April 21, 2017

An interview between Naomi Zurevinski and Deborah Gorham, author of “Liberty and Love? Dora Black Russell and Marriage,” on her experiences working in the archives with Russell’s letters, and the play Yours, Unfaithfully, which was inspired by the Russell marriage. Gorham’s article appeared in the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire in 2011, and is […]

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Remembering a Rubber: Sexual Self-Restraint, Motivational State, Self-Control, and Sexual Arousal

April 20, 2017

Written by guest blogger, Shayna Skakoon-Sparling.   Shayna Skakoon-Sparling Young Canadian adults know that using a condom is the best way to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like syphilis, chlamydia, or HIV. Yet, many struggle to consistently use a condom when they have sex. There are many factors that can influence an individual’s […]

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Kendrick Lamar’s Prophetic Hope

April 18, 2017

Written by guest blogger, Matthew Linder. @kdotscholar   What Kendrick’s Music Tells Us About Paul Tillich’s Theology… When I presented a paper, as part of a panel exploring how Paul Tillich’s The Courage to Be can help interpret Kendrick Lamar’s music at the 2016 American Academy of Religion Conference, Dr. Stephen G. Ray, Professor of […]

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