The women's studies debate goes on - Macleans.ca

The women’s studies debate goes on

Is there still a place for women's studies in universities?

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The National Post continued its dialogue about whether women studies departments should continue to exist on university campuses today by publishing a letter to the editor written by Penni Stewart of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and Katherine Giroux-Bougard of the Canadian Federation of Students. Stewart and Giroux-Bougard countered last week’s doozy of an editorial piece, in which the Post’s editorial board argued that Radical feminism at the core of these programs has reaped havoc on families, labour law, court systems, constitutional freedoms and “even the ordinary relations between men and women.”

Predictably, the editorial sparked a chorus of anger from all corners of the internet. Read my coverage and opinion (yes, it is clearly an opinion) here.

Thankfully, today’s paper included Stewart and Giroux-Bougard’s refreshing response. They argue (rightly, in my view) that women studies programs are “essential to an equitable society” and that they have evolved over the last 40 years to reflect the current state of inequality between men and women. Sure, we’ve come a long way, but there’s much work and study to be done:

In the world imagined by the editorial board, women and men are treated equally, and feminism has fundamentally undermined individual rights, the court system and Canadian society. Women’s Studies programs have destroyed the traditional family and radically reshaped constitutional freedoms.

On the planet the rest of us live on, women continue to earn significantly less than men for performing the same work, are underrepresented at every level of government, are more likely to live in poverty and are at a significantly higher risk of violence and abuse. Despite progress in recent decades, women still hit a glass ceiling that maintains the upper echelons of business, government and society as a male domain.

Here here.