Tag Archives: gender-equality

It’s still not easy being a girl in the boys’ club of sports broadcasting

Women in sports broadcasting, from left: Amanda Stein (TSN 690), Andie Bennett (CBC), Jessica Rusnak (TSN 690), Kelly Greig (Sportsnet), Robyn Flynn (TSN 690)

Women in sports broadcasting, from left: Amanda Stein (TSN 690), Andie Bennett (CBC), Jessica Rusnak (TSN 690), Kelly Greig (Sportsnet), Robyn Flynn (TSN 690)

As we mark International Women’s Day on Sunday, we can choose to think of the injustices that still exist, of the women around the world who face injustice merely because of their gender in direct and indirect ways. We can choose to think of how far we’ve come as a society, ending some of those injustices and actively encouraging more women to come forward and become leaders and role models. Or better yet, we can do both.

In the media, we like to think of ourselves as more progressive than other industries. Look in most journalism classes and you’ll find more women than men. There are plenty of women working in print, radio, television and digital media, particularly in positions that expose them to the public.

But when we narrow that view to the sports department and dedicated sports media, a different picture appears, one where if there are women at all, they’re kept on the sidelines (literally).

On Thursday, as part of a week of activities at Vanier College, five women who work in sports broadcasting in Montreal were invited to talk about their experiences trying to find their place in this man’s world. It was eye-opening.

Here’s what I learned:

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No more glass ceiling at RadCan

Since I don’t want to be the only person not talking about it, I should mention the big news this week that Céline Galipeau will take over from Bernard Derome in Quebec’s most prestigious news position, anchoring Radio-Canada’s Téléjournal, starting next year. This ironically comes after the Quebec council on the status of women went all pissy on RadCan for moving Dominique Poirier and Pascale Nadeau out of their current jobs. (Nadeau takes over as weekend host of the TJ, and Poirier is considering her options, which include Ottawa Bureau Chief.) The council issued a statement today saying it’s totally cool with this appointment.

So is Josée Legault, who writes today that Quebec is a leader in putting female faces in its news broadcasts.

As for the anglo TV broadcasts, while CBC is still relegating women mostly to the sidelines, Global has Jamie Orchard and (currently-on-mat-leave) Amanda Jelowicki, and CTV has, of course, The Great Mutsumi Takahashi, plus the team of weatherbabes, reporterbabes and weekend anchorbabes (including Lori Graham, who’s currently hosting Good Morning Canada from Montreal).

This isn’t the first time the CSF and its president Christiane Pelchat have put their foot in it. Last year, it famously suggested that the Quebec charter be changed to include a hierarchy of rights, putting equality of the sexes above freedom of religion. It also suggested (and continues to suggest) that people in professional positions such as teachers be prohibited from wearing any visibly religious symbol, except for crosses, of course, because Christianity is the One True Religion.

That said, RadCan hasn’t given a satisfactory explanation for why Nadeau and Poirier are being tossed around. By all accounts they’re very capable journalists and anchors. Were they unpopular? Are new shows being launched to take their places? Do they have to fit Jean-Luc Mongrain in there somewhere? What’s the deal?

UPDATE: Poirier says she won’t move to Ottawa and is quitting RadCan.

UPDATE (June 18): The Globe and Mail covers Galipeau vs. Thibault.

Can’t we just agree that the Charter amendment is a stupid idea?

Can we stop with the news stories about the moronic idea from the Quebec Council on the Status of Women to ban hijabs and change the Charter to make gender equality rights trump religious belief?

Apparently not, as more politicians with the foresight of moths are actually getting behind it, already coming up with ways of ranking our fundamental rights.

It goes without saying that experts with brains oppose the amendment, for the simple reason that when we start saying some rights are less important than others, we begin de-valuing them. They also point out that religious rights don’t trump those of gender equality, and changing the Charter in such a way would not fix the problem, but likely have tons of other unintended consequences.

And even if that obvious flaw hadn’t been pointed out, it’s not like making the change would suddenly cause devout Muslim women to run out into the streets in bikinis, thanking us for allowing them the privilege of dressing immodestly.

It’s a horrible solution that fails to solve a non-problem. Let’s just agree to that and move on.