Updated: Feb 10
Let me introduce you to the ultimate advancer of gender equality, Making Waves’s new Patron Saint of Equality, the incomparable, American, young, gifted, Black and queer playwright, Jeremy O. Harris.
PHOTOGRAPHY BYMICAIAH CARTER
Almost 2 weeks ago, Jeremy made some massive waves and created incredible change in just days.
Jeremy O. Harris who wrote the most Tony nominated work ever (12 nominations in 2019!), the controversial and challenging Slave Play, got a lot of attention when he announced that he would give up his seat at the table so that women playwrights could get a seat. When LA’s Center Theater Group (CTG) announced their 2022 line up a week and a half ago, Jeremy’s Slave Play was their opening work, but only one play in the line up was written by a woman. Not good enough, said Jeremy. And he announced that he and the Slave Play team weren’t going to be part of the line up, that the play would be pulled so that CTG could present a play written by a woman.
How far would you be willing to go to ensure everyone gets a seat at the table, that there is true equality? Would you give up your spot at the table?
Jeremy is smart and understands that his hard work and integrity have given him a powerful position:
- There is no way that CTG would let a Black, queer man give up his seat—how would that look?
- There is no way that Center Theater Group would give up the chance to put on the most nominated Broadway play.
- By speaking out, Jeremy increased his credibility and integrity as someone who is truly genuine about equality, is willing to put in the work, and expects those around him to also put in the work.
- By speaking out, Jeremy is generating publicity for his work.
- By working with Jeremy to ensure women are at the table, not just as playwrights but at all levels of theater (masterful negotiations!), CTG ends up not only looking good, but is setting a new standard, and showing it can be done.
- By speaking up and working with CTG to ensure that women, those who identify as women, and especially BIPOC women get a seat at the table, Jeremy is showing how people who have power can use it for good, and how other organisations beyond theatre should be cultivating and promoting intersectionality and working consciously and purposefully--and HARD--towards advancing equality.
I did not imagine it would be a queer Black man who would be advancing equality for women (I foolishly thought white men would see the benefits of equality and help women make equality happen), but maybe Jeremy is exactly who we need. The status quo is rarely changed by those who benefit from it and uphold it. Having someone from the outside, but who clearly understands the system and is willing to put everything on the line, might just be the key to unlocking acceleration in equality. As Jeremy said in his 2019 GQ interview with Jaya Saxena, “In our culture, one has to move as close to masculinity and as close to whiteness as possible in order to catapult you up.” Jeremy uses whiteness and masculinity to catapult himself to prominence, but also to question and dismantle our white male dominated society at the same time.
Thank you to Jeremy for understanding his power, for using it, making waves and making positive change.
Ways to Make Waves
With the climate crisis a reality, and the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26 …COP means Conference of the Parties) taking place at the end of this month from the 31st Oct – 12th Nov, many are saying this is our last chance to save human life on earth. Not only is the climate crisis a critical issue for every human, but it is of particular importance to women who are disproportionally impacted by the climate crisis.
Want to know more? Sign up for these 2 free and super informative online events in the next 2 weeks:
Women in Climate Policy:
Lisa, who is a big fan of Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon, alerted us to this event, which I have signed up for:
A discussion about the big changes we need to make to decarbonize Canada fairly and quickly
In this webinar, you’ll get an overview of climate policy at a macro level, and meet some inspiring women working in the field. We’ll explore the big changes that need to happen, and how we can help make them in a way that brings everybody along. You’ll get a handle on new pathways for your action, and ways to apply yourself to upstream policy change that goes beyond mason jars. Not that mason jars aren’t totally awesome!
Why women? We know women are underrepresented in the field of climate action/policy, from the gender distribution at COP to the number of female IPCC authors. This, when women express great concern about the climate crisis, and suffer the ill-effects of it at much higher percentages than men. We need women at the highest levels of decision-making, and we want to open as many eyes to the systemic change that needs to happen to solve this crisis.
Five climate leaders will help us explore the key drivers of decarbonization, as well as share their stories of how they came to do the work they do.
Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon, Assistant Professor, University of Calgary
Caroline Lee, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Institute for Climate Choices
Alicia Richins, SDG Advocate and Consultant, Alicia Richins
Rebecca Sinclair, Research and Policy Analyst, Indigenous Climate Action
Merran Smith, Executive Director, Clean Energy Canada
Moderated by Sarah Lazarovic, Vice President, Clean Prosperity
2. Climate Crisis and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.
Women Deliver, the world’s biggest conference on women’s rights, health and well-being (and my most favorite conference ever!) is hosting an event on how the climate crisis impacts sexual and reproductive health rights. Yes, you read that correctly. The climate crisis is and will have an impact on sexual and reproductive rights. Curious? Link to register is below.
Discussions around climate change and sexual and reproductive health rarely occur in the same spaces, despite ever growing evidence showing
that they should. Climate change threatens human health and rights—
and has a disproportionate effect on the most vulnerable girls and women,
in all their intersecting identities. True climate justice is not possible without considering gender equality—and true gender equality is only possible
when sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are fully realized.
To be ready to deliver in a crisis, governments, donors, and development actors need to lead emergency preparedness for SRHR.
Join the conversation
on social media
using the hashtag
There will be simultaneous interpretation available in
French, Spanish, and
International Sign Language
Vote: Municipal Election on Monday Oct 18th
In many communities in Alberta, the municipal vote is taking place on Monday Oct 18th. There is a lot of homework for this election. I voted in the advance polls and this is what/who I voted for:
Mayor – Voted for Jyoti Gondek. Leger poll from this week shows the mayoral race has 2 front runners, Jyoti Gondek and Jeromy Farkas. The race too tight to call. So, so important to vote!
Councillor – Kourtney Branagan has the climate crisis in her platfrom, as well as wanting to improved conditions for vulnerable Calgarians.
School trustee – Nancy Close. Do your research! Check which trustees in your ward support the disastrous proposed new curriculum and avoid voting for them (Take Back the CBE is a giant red flag).
Fluoride – YES to fluoride and dental health
Equalization Payments: NO.
I voted to keep equalization payments in the constitution because I believe in the principal of sharing resources to ensure that everyone in our country has access to resources. Also, Alberta continues to have the strongest economy in the country. Want to read more? Here is the scoop on equalization payments. On Thursday afternoon there was a delightful WhatsApp flurry as Mikayla wanted to know more about equalization payments. Thanks to Chris and Lisa for providing insight into the issue. Want to be part of our WhatsApp group? Let me know!
Daylight Savings: NO.
I found this:
According to a study by University of Pittsburgh economics professor Osea Giuntella, entitled: “Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and Cognitive Skills — Evidence from an Unsleeping Giant,” later sunsets lead to people being 21 per cent more likely to be obese, a 19 per cent increase in heart attack and increased rates of diabetes.
What that means economically, according to that study, is later sunset will lead to an $82 per person per year increase in health-care costs (or about $375 million for Alberta) and a $23 per person per year decrease in overall workplace productivity due to decreased efficiency and missed days due to illness (about a $100-million loss to Alberta’s economy).
Senators are appointed by the Federal Government, not elected by the province. I voted for the progressive and subversive candidate Duncan Kinney.
Subscribe to Independent Journalism on Canada’s Natural World, The Narwhal, and Holy Smokes, the Arctic is Disintegrating Right In Front of Us
Remember how I was talking about the importance of subscriptions last week? Well, this week I’m here to tell you about The Narwhal. I don’t know about you, but The Narwhal has been on the edge of my consciousness, and occasionally I’d read an article on the site, but I didn’t fully take in how totally awesome it is, and that it 100% fits with Making Waves.
Founded by 2 young women in 2018, Carol Linnitt and Emma Gilchrist
Working to close the gender gap in society and in journalism
Working to address the ongoing genocide and marginalization of Indigenous people
Independent ad-free journalism
Tells the facts about Canada’s natural world
Fist pump to each and every single thing on that list! Needless to say, I’ve added The Narwhal to my subscription list.
I found The Narwhal because I was reading about how the EU is calling for oil, coal and gas in the Arctic to stay in the ground, and wanted a better understanding of what was happening in Canada’s Arctic. This truly terrifying piece in The Narwhal came up, and really, everyone should read it. This article scared me—and I’ve been reading about the climate crisis since the 1990s when I was working on my M.Sc. in Fire Ecology in the Northwest Territories. It’s all about how fast the permafrost is melting in the Arctic, how permafrost slumps are occurring at an increasing rate, and how carbon is being released through permafrost melting. This article is so worth your time and will definitely help inform your opinion on the climate crisis.
Burn It All Down: Soccer Sex Scandal and Calls for Change
Have you heard of Shireen Ahamed? She is a brilliant sports activist from Mississauga, Canada and is one of the creators of the Burn It All Down podcast, “the first feminist sports podcast that analyzes sports culture from an intersectional feminist lens.” I had heard of Shireen, but until the soccer scandal last week, had not heard Shireen speaking up as an expert. Shireen is knowledgeable in sports, gender equality, is a responsive and intelligent speaker, making for a riveting and brilliant discussion (scroll to the end of the article to watch the break down of the scandal). As for the scandal itself, we have seen it over and over again. Men who exploit and abuse women are rarely exposed and continue to abuse. We all know the sickening circumstances with US Gymnastics, and how 156 young women were abused by Larry Nassar. This month we learned that complaints were made against coach Paul Riley years ago, complaints that were never addressed, and not revealed when Riley moved to coach other teams. On October 6th, play was stopped at the 6th minute of the games on that day as players from both teams playing that day, along with the referees, linked arms and stood in a circle at centre field in support of the women who experienced abuse, reported it, and were ignored.
“The NWSL Players' Association said on Twitter that the sixth minute represents the six years it took for the abuse allegations made by players Sinead Farrelly, Mana Shim and others against coaches to be heard."Tonight, we reclaim our place on the field, because we will not let our joy be taken from us. But this is not business as usual." Farrelly and Shim made allegations of harassment, including sexual coercion, against Riley that dated back as far as 2011.” They are finally being listened to, but it has taken years and leveraging the star power of fellow players to get heard.
Yes, there is a Gender Pay Gap for Physicians
If you are a CBC listener, you might hear Dr. Raj Bhardwaj on Tuesday mornings across Canada, talking about medical concerns of the week. Raj and I went to U of A in Edmonton together, and we and our partners (I feel confident saying all four of us are feminists!) love talking about issues of equality. He had a retweet on his twitter this week about the gender pay gap for physicians:
I’ll bet none of you wavemakers would have clicked on Don’t think a gap exists! But isn’t it telling that the majority of voters who participated thought that there isn’t one? It shows how much work needs to be done to educate the general public on the equality gaps.
Yup, most voters think there isn’t a pay gap for ER physicians. Sigh. But there is—for physicians overall, not just in ER. And in Canada where physicians are paid set fees for services, you would think that would eliminate the gender gap. But this gender gap is insidious. Women in medicine are often nudged into areas that pay less, like family medicine, gynecology and psychiatry, which creates ‘occupational segregation’. Female physicians take on more female patients, and the fees for many female specific procedures are lower. Then there is the conundrum where female surgeons are given more challenging cases because they have ‘better bedside manner’, but these cases require more time, more energy, and there is no compensation for that additional work. All of this leads to a gender gap that means women physicians make 20-29% less than male physicians.
Advocating for Ocean Health Through Art
Courtney Mattison is an artist and ocean advocate. She uses her powerful art to raise awareness about the human threats to coral reefs, the protection of the planet’s health, and to encourage policy makers to address the human impact of life on earth. I came across Courtney’s work through UPPERCASE, my all time favorite print magazine made right here in Calgary which highlights the work of ‘the creative and curious’ all around the world. Check out Courtney’s work, her massive installations, and be inspired by the waves she is making!
Making Waves by Buying Less
I love clothes, especially jackets and footwear. I am the type of person that falls in love with a piece of clothing and that love lasts a reaaaallllly long time. I keep my clothes, and love pulling out old favorites, mixing it with new ones. And while I try to figure out if what I’m buying is ethical or sustainable, it seems almost impossible for the regular consumer, or even the aware consumer. But maybe that’s the point. We need to change who we are, that being consumers is just not ethical or sustainable. Aja Barber is a fashion journalist and activist from London, UK, and she has written a book, Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism. Last week I wrote that 110 billion clothing items are produced every year. Every single year. But what happens to all those clothes? Well, Aja tells us that every week, 15 million used clothing items arrive in Accra, Ghana. This massive amount of textile waste is polluting the water, and fuelling landfill fires. And what about the women who make the clothes in the first place? With the rise of fast fashion and specifically Shein, fair wages are just not possible with such cheap clothes. The clothes many Westerners buy are made in developing countries where women are too often exploited, and when we are done with the clothes, they end up in other developing countries, where the people and land are expected to deal with the excesses of consumers in North America, Europe, and Australia. As we learned in ‘The Reality Bubble’ last year, consumerism and capitalism are killing us, and Aja adds that much of these systems are rooted in colonialism. I feel like this is something that isn’t talked about explicitly, and that ‘Consumed’ might be an excellent follow up read to ‘The Reality Bubble’.
In an interview with Vox Aja said:
“We can’t buy our way to an ethical world. We can choose to support businesses that are more ethical, but when the garment industry produces almost 14 times as many clothes as there are humans on this planet, we have to acknowledge what the real problem is. We need to buy less polyester and new clothes. We need to make sure that our purchases are made to last. If not, we should leave that item on the rack. It requires people to be intentional and committed to buying less things they want.”
Can you do it? Can you commit to buying less things than you want in order to save human life on earth?
Disasters Make White People Richer
With the climate crisis upon us, we have seen how those who have wealth are able to avoid or navigate their way through climate disasters, while those with less resources are often left struggling to deal with the impact of the crisis in the moment experience long term and often detrimental impacts for long after the initial disaster is over. This cool info graphic story from the Guradian stopped me in my tracks, especially this image: WTF? White families end up $100 000 richer after a disaster?!? And Black and Latino families end up nearly $50 000-$100 000 (respectively) poorer after a disaster?!?
The COVID-19 vaccine was developed using a fetal cell line. So were Tylenol, ibuprofen...and ivermectin.
Yah—I’m sad to say that I have actually had this discussion with a really, really strong anti vaxxer who was eager to tell me some pretty nutty things about where the fetal cells are sourced. Luckily, I had a tiny bit of knowledge tucked away in my brain from my pharmacology days, and was able to put correct information into the space where we were having the discussion. I wish this week’s The Vajenda newsletter had been written several months ago so I could have been fully informed. Dr. Jen Gunther addresses how fetal cell lines were used in developing many covid vaccines…as well as Tylenol, food flavourings, and even Ivermectin. Dr. Gunther provides all the information on how and why fetal cell lines are used, ensuring that everyone who reads her newsletter now has an informed opinion. A lively and informative read, as always, and worth subscribing to (free & paid options).
One Last Thing
Don’t forget to VOTE this Monday Oct 18th!
I would love to hear from you! Tell me what you are up to, let us know of opportunities to make waves wherever you are, and resources to get informed. I respond to text, e-mail, What’s App and even an old fashioned phone call. I welcome contributions to this new format of newsletter—there are lots of things we can do. Right now I’m committing to publishing this irregularly (!). As always, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and we have plenty of room in MW for a diversity of informed opinions while we keep our efforts focused on advancing gender equality in our safe no-fail zone that we have created. Feel free to pass this on! If you want to say hello, share an idea, subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the action in the subject line.