Saturday, April 17, 2010

REAL Women: "Shadowy Organization"

I had a great time at the REAL Women conference in North Bay, Ontario. I met a bunch of wonderful people. The presentation on blogging went very well. I anticipate an upswing in readership :)

Gwen Landolt, a founding member of REAL Women, gave an interesting address to the conference, in which she quoted political scientist Sylvia Bashevkin on women and politics in Canada. A REAL Women newsletter basically says the same thing that Gwen did:

Ms Bashevkin also blames REAL Women for Canada’s failure to further advance the cause of “women” in Canada. She is intimidated by the presence of REAL Women. In several passages that are unintentionally hilarious, she describes REAL Women as an organization, which is the “elephant in the living room”, undermining the “women’s” movement, since feminists were “no longer able to assert uncontested claims on behalf of the women of Canada”. Again, Ms Bashevkin never for a moment considers: why should feminists speak for all women? No organization speaks for all Canadian men. Ms Bashevkin further claims, in an interview in the Hill Times (August 10, 2009), that the Conservative government has “significantly higher contacts with REAL Women, and that the latter’s views find resonance with the current government” (If only that were the case!)

She hilariously describes REAL Women as a “secret, shadowy and ominous” organization, which has “managed to cultivate a compellingly authoritative voice”. Well, good for us! She sees REAL Women as a threat (again, good for us: someone had to do it!). She wonders where our funding originates, “besides government grants.”

As an incentive to having more elected women, Ms Bashevkin suggests that the political parties be required to have quotas, proportional representation and that there be mandatory voting. She also suggests that confronting this “looming but never silent elephant in the room” (i.e. REAL Women) can be achieved by the media probing our organization.

You have to laugh. "Secret, shadowy and ominous organization." Next time, I'll have to get them to teach me the secret hand shake and give me a decoder ring to read The Hidden Agenda.

Remember when Free Dominion was baptized "the shadowy group" ?