About Society

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Four decade ago, the women of Iceland decided to call for a “day off”. On 24 October 1975, 90 percent of women in Iceland, in both urban and rural communities, did not go to their paid jobs or do housework or childcare at home. They refused to work to raise awareness that women at the time earned over 40% less than men. “As a result, many industries shut down for the day,” writes libcom.org:

Newspapers were not printed since the vast majority of typesetters were women and there was no telephone service. Many schools were either closed or partially closed as the majority of teachers were women.

Flights were cancelled as flight attendants did not come to work and bank branches had to be staffed by executives as tellers took the day off.

Fish factories were also closed, with many nurseries and shops also shut or at reduced capacity.

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About Me

A Shrinking, Changing World

My life has seen a number of important changes over the last four years. With each change in direction, my understanding of the world grows, shrinking the planet’s enormity.

In 2012, I took a leave from my job at the time to volunteer with Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) for four months in Ghana. This was my first time traveling outside North America. It was also my introduction to the field of international development, in concept and in practice.

In 2013, I decided to leave my job. This was my first resignation from a full-time job. It was a big risk. I was full of zeal and attempted to shift careers but, when that didn’t work out, I found a new job. At the end of 2013, I also began volunteering with Ceiba Association, helping to lead a group of students as they prepared for their own adventure abroad.  Continue reading

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About Society, Documentary Films

Cultures of Sexual Violence

Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic. Between 15 and 76 percent of women are targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the available country data. Most of this violence takes place within intimate relationships, with many women (ranging from 9 to 70 percent) reporting their husbands or partners as the perpetrator. Across the 28 States of the European Union, a little over one in five women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2014).

I have never experienced such violence, however I have witnessed both sexism and violence in separate instances and know how traumatizing both can be. This lead me to take a longer look at the subject.

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Ghana

On the Job Redux

After a lengthy discussion with my EWB coach one Friday, I was able to focus my energy into 2 impact projects: Data Analysis and Project Management. Both of these relate to things I’m more experienced in and, most importantly, have an interest in pursuing.

IMPACT #1: DATA ANALYSIS

For data analysis, I will be shifting my focus from just the 4 main departments – health, education, agriculture, and water & sanitation – to those departments most excited to delve into their data looking for answers. The steps I hope to work on in my time here are as follows.

  1. Determine Starting Point: perform a survey of all departments and catalogue resources and skill level.
  2. Get People on Board: present a group presentation to gauge excitement and willingness to learn.
  3. Work Together: perform 1-on-1 workshops to increase people’s capacity.
  4. Understand the Data: facilitate discussions to lead to deeper understanding of the information collected from the field.
  5. Share with Others: have partner department present findings in front of all departments in a meeting.

After my initial survey, I found that almost all officers had a computer, which is the starting point. Most had a very basic or no understanding of Microsoft Excel and how to use it. They had maybe opened it a year ago, but forgot what they learnt due to lack of use. From my results, the need was great, with 10 organizations available for workshops. These partner departments are:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Education
  3. Social Welfare
  4. Community Development
  5. Finance
  6. Human Rights
  7. Youth Employment
  8. Audit Services
  9. Rural Enterprises
  10. Environmental Health

After the survey of departments, I moved to performing a group presentation (step 2) to get everyone introduced to MS Excel. I went over how it looks, what can go in a worksheet, and then some basic math functions. 

I tried my best to have them involved throughout, so that it wasn’t just another presentation that would be forgotten. The highlight was the second half, when I gave them problems to solve. Luckily, one of the participants brought a laptop so along with mine, we had two to use.

I am now in the process of step 3 – creating and initiating workshops on a more personal basis. There is a lot of excitement in the department for this training, so I hope everything goes well. I am most excited to test out my teaching skills and see what results we create together.

IMPACT #2: PROJECT MANAGEMENT

It should be no surprise to anyone, who knows that I’ve been working in Project Management, what my second impact focus should be. There are many development projects occurring in the district: schools, dams, roads, health facilities, economic programs, and more.

After interviewing many government officers involved in the implementation of these projects, I received many ideas on improvement. The ideas span from before construction, during construction, and after construction. One example is to change the project handover from a dry, bureaucratic procedure to a more involved community gathering. This should help to get the community on board for the lifetime of the project.

Some ideas seem easy, while others are very lofty. Some with have a big impact, while others might not change anything. I will hope to implement some, or more realistically, one of these ideas.

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