Monday, February 21, 2011

More Sisters in Spirit links

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Sisters and Spirit and would like to support this vital initiative, here are some good links:

Petition: Support the Native Women's Association of Canada
Sisters in Spirit website

Ways to Support Sisters in Spirit

KAIROS: Take Action to Support Sisters in Spirit

New name and web address!

Hey everyone! If you're reading this, you've probably noticed that the blog has a new name - Women and Girls Take Action! I thought it would be good to shift the focus a bit, since the focus of my own work has shifted from securing funding for women's services to working with youth to develop community-based action strategies for resisting violence against women and girls. Feel free to use the blog as a space to share your stories and your ideas for taking action! Also, please share the new web address ( with your friends, family, co-workers and anyone else who might be interested! Thanks,


Friday, February 18, 2011

Awesome website for girls and young women!

I just came across a great webiste called Kickaction ( It's described on the home page as "an online community space for girls and young women who think for themselves, take a stand and act creatively to bring positive change to their communities and across the globe!"

This is very inspiring and exciting. Could be a great way to share our stories, ideas and action strategies as young women in Nova Scotia!

This whole Twitter thing

So I have finally decided to venture into the Twitter world. I was thinking this could be an interesting way of sharing "in-the-moment" thoughts and questions about issues affecting our lives. What do you think? If you're interested in following me on Twitter, here's my profile:!/betsypd

Orenstein on "princess culture"

Journalist, author and mother Peggy Orenstein recently published a new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. The book presents a critique of today's "princess culture" that is contributing to the hypersexualization of young girls.

I haven't read the book, but would like to. I'm increasingly disturbed by the was corporations profit from the hypersexualization of girls, who they target practically from the moment they are born.

Here's a link to an interview with Orenstein about her new book that recently appeared in the Globe and Mail:

I'd be interested in hearing others' thoughts on the interview. It's good overall, but there were a couple parts that made me go "huh?", such as her assertion that preschool toy choices are based on "sex differences". Also, Orenstein states that "for most of us, sex is permanent" and kids attach themselves to gender stereotypes because "they think [their sex] could switch". Is this true, or is it the author's projection? Do kids conform to gender roles because they are afraid of sexual or gender ambiguity, or because this is something our society fears? A sharper analysis of the social construction of gender (including a discussion of the difference between sex and gender, which the author seems to conflate) would be useful here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sisters in Spirit: What Their Stories Tell Us

Last night I attended an information session in Antigonish about Sisters in Spirit, a research, education and policy initiative created by the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) to address the epidemic of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in our country. "More than 582 Aboriginal women and girls are missing or have been lost through violence. Each one is loved and missed by family in friends," reads the poster.

In 2010 Sisters in Spirit published a research report, "What Their Stories Tell Us", that contains statistics as well as stories about the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. We heard one of these stories last night, and there was also a moving presentation by NWAC activist Rose Julian honoring Mi'kmaq women whose lives were lost to violence, and issuing a call to action.

Their stories tell us that these women were loved and honored by their family and friends, and had amazing talents and gifts. They also demonstrate how systemic racism, colonialism and poverty have had (and continue to have) cruel and violent effects on the lives of Aboriginal women, families and communities.

Federal funding for the Sisters in Spirit initiative was recently cut. All of us need to support this initiative to ensure that this vital work can continue. We must end violence against Aboriginal women and girls and challenge the racist, sexist and colonialist systems that perpetuate it.

Here are some links:

Their spirits live within us: Marching for murdered and missing Indigenous women ( article by Krystalline Krass)

What Their Stories Tell Us: Research Findings from the Sisters in Spirit Initiative


Friday, February 11, 2011

Hey young women!

Wanna get together with other women to talk about what's going on in our lives?

Looking to take action and create change in your community?

If this sounds like you, contact Betsy at the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre & Sexual Assault Services Association (863-6221 or

Your voice matters!

More press for Resisting Violence project

Last Sunday, Central Nova MP and Defence Minister Peter MacKay visited the AWRC & SASA to announce funding for the Resisting Violence project. An article appeared in this week's Casket by Corey LeBlanc who covered the event:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Resisting Violence: Rural Women and Girls Take Action

Hi everyone! I just started working at the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre & Sexual Assault Services Association as coordinator for the new Status of Women Canada-funded "Resisting Violence: Rural Women and Girls Take Action" project. I thought this might be a good opportunity to revive this blog and stimulate some discussion around addressing violence against women and girls in our rural communities.

Funding for the project was announced Sunday. Here's the link to an article about it that appeared in the Chronicle Herald today: