Archive | May, 2013

Stigmas Against Breastfeeding in Public

17 May

Throughout my time in Botswana, I saw and experienced many stigmas, including surrounding breastfeeding. It was expected that all new mothers should breastfeed and that if she did not breastfeed it was assumed that she was HIV-positive. Therefore, mothers would proudly breastfeed wherever she was – at a shop, on the bus, or at a restaurant. 

In Canada, we still have the expectation that all mothers should breastfeed. However, it is stigmatized whenever a woman does it in public. I worked as a lifeguard at a public pool and since it is legal in Ontario for a woman to be topless (regardless of if she is breastfeeding), we could not ask a woman to not breastfeed. But, if another customer complains about it, then we were instructed to tell the breastfeeding mother that she was making others uncomfortable. I have heard similar stories of this happening in many public areas.

So while society expects women to breastfeed, women are shamed for doing it publicly. They are expected to breastfeed – but only in private or with a scarf or blanket covering their breast.

Why does this stigma exist?

Please read the rest of this post, originally published on the International Women’s Initiative Survivors’ Blog


The Impossible Dream?

16 May

At training for my new job, we spent an afternoon exploring gender issues and gender analysis strategies. This animated video from 1983 by the United Nations was played for us to generate some discussion.

I think that it highlights the double work-load that many women face, and how some women may feel like they are stuck with an impossible dream. It also made me realize two things:
1) How far some families have moved from her reality, and;
2) How many families’ reality is still the same as the video.

What do you think? Can we achieve the impossible dream in our lifetime?

Home and Back Again

8 May

Hello friends and family! Sorry for my lack of writing in the final month of my placement. 

Anyways, I am very excited to announce that today I made my final presentation and have now fulfilled all of my requirements for graduation! Yikes, now apparently I’m a real adult. I am so happy to be done and I am so excited to celebrate at our gala dinner tonight with all my classmates and friends that have been the best support system over the last 4 years. 

Next, I have a very big and exciting piece of news: I’M GOING BACK TO AFRICA! In June I will start a 6-month CIDA funded internship with World Vision Canada. I will be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and working as the Micro Finance Integration Assistant at Wisdom Microfinance. 

I am feeling pretty overwhelmed with how fast the process is moving (I have debriefing this week and briefing next week!) but I am so so happy to have a job I’m passionate about and excited about my next adventure.