In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Dogged and Persistent Senator Stands up for Women

Posted 4/22/2008 by Grant Mitchell


The other evening, in the Senate Finance Committee, was tangible evidence of the Senate doing its job.

Senator Nancy Ruth, a dogged and passionate feminist and Conservative Senator, leveled questions at the newly appointed Parliamentary officer, on his appreciation of gender issues and budgeting impacts. It was a moment when she revealed once again her deep understanding of these issues, her determined advocacy of gender based budgeting and her frustration that these issues are not acknowledged properly if at all in Canada's budgeting and policy making processes.   

There was a certain degree of tension in the meeting at her intensity - she had been disturbed by a lack of understanding of the issue by senior Finance staff earlier in the day at a House of Commons committee meeting. It raised an interesting irony. People will often think this kind of intensity on an issue of this sort is inappropriate. What they do not appreciate is the significance and seriousness of the impacts, insidious as they so often are, of gender bias on women and girls and in fact on men and boys too. The irony is that they are offended by those who will fight to expose and deal with these issues but are not offended by the damage that gender bias does in our society.         

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