The Status of Women in Quebec

The Status of Women in Quebec

He’s a Quebec City resident. He’s opinionated. He’s Peter Stuart, and he’s back with his latest offering:

 ‘THE STATUS OF WOMEN’: A NAME GIVEN TO A GOVERNMENT MINISTRY IN MANY COUNTRIES, IT HAS SINCE CONTRIBUTED TO DISTORTING THE DIALOGUE ON GENDER EQUALITY.I remember back sometime in the 1970s or early 80s, there appeared on the scene in Canada and provincially in Québec, some sort of government ministry with a very long title, which ended with ‘…and the status of women’. Usually it was, and I think still is, a rather junior cabinet position, and was usually staffed by some middle-aged woman politician in a suit with nice hair and jewellery. 

So much for that. A funny thing has happened about thirty years later. Official government websites in Québec now all list the feminine gender first and the male gender second, across the board. We increasingly hear a lot of politicians across Canada talking about ‘women and men’ in their official sound bites and speeches, as opposed to ‘men and women’. 

It’s all of a sudden all about putting women in the driver’s seat, both literally and figuratively. The number of women drivers on the RTC transit buses in Québec city has increased dramatically, as have women police officers, all due to affirmative action programs. 

In the media, not a day goes by where our news, weather, or sports is not delivered by a sometimes almost pathologically good-looking and well-made-up killer boob-tube babe who has obviously graduated from university with a diploma or degree in broadcasting, communications, or journalism, and was chosen to replace the aging, paunchy and balding old geezer of a man who held the job before her. 

Women are taking over everywhere you look, but one fact remains: The ‘status of men’, so to speak, is suffering as a result, and the ‘status of conjugal relations and the family’, is so even more. One only has to look at any American, Canadian, or British TV show or movie, or commercial to see the dysfunction: Women are being portrayed as brainy, beautiful, assertive, in control, aggressive, not taking no for an answer, putting men ‘in their place and taking over’, even karate chopping them and kneeing them in the balls and taking command of the situation. 

Men, on the other hand, are all being portrayed as weak, indecisive, lazy, narcissistic, sophomoric, scared, predatory, violent, and generally inept at being able to save the world, much less fix a faucet. It’s sad because men are still the ones who do most of the hardest jobs, from a physical standpoint: Construction, trades, mining, military combat, forestry, working in paper mills, steel mills, oil refineries, nuclear power plants, chemical plants, machine shops, and so on. 

Apart from the so-called ‘collateral damage’ of civilian casualties of war, men are still the ones who bear the brunt of war to protect our freedom, and as a result of all the other jobs enumerated above, still have a lower life expectancy than women, and are likely to continue to do so. Conversely, women’s higher life expectancy has nothing to do with any sort of inherent wellspring of genetic or moral superiority on their part. They just haven’t been exposed to the same type or level of endogenous and exogenous stress, trauma, and toxic load that men have, but are starting to now, and it’s starting to show up in a decrease in women’s life expectancy. 

I guess as women fight their way to the top of the heap, they’re realizing that it’s not all fun and games to exercise power and privilege; that a lot of stress and illness comes with it. In that respect, maybe men and women will come to have a healthier respect for one another, since they will now be on an equal footing: They will both be equally stressed-out and in need of a break from the worries of the temporal world, and may just end up turning to each other in the process for support, that’s if they can find the time to be in the same room to have a civilized conversation with each other! 

Well folks, here’s to the ‘status of women’, oh, and to all those middle-aged women politicians of yore with suits, nice hair, and jewellery. I hope you’re proud of yourselves. I just hope that nobody has to start up a ‘status of men’ ministry. I really don’t know what I’d wear or how I’d fix my hair, or whether or not I’d wear any jewellery. (I’ve only got my university graduation ring, and I don’t look good in an earring, so that settles that!). Maybe a ministry for the status of the Canadian Family? Mr. Harper, are you listening? Do morally, spiritually, mentally and physically healthy families make for a healthy economy? Enquiring minds want to know!
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About the author:


Peter Stuart is a freelance journalist and writer based in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. He has a degree in Canadian Studies from the University of Ottawa.
He has written Op-Ed pieces for the last ten years for publications including: Le Soleil, La Presse, Quebec Chronicle Telegraph and Impact Campus.
Peter writes in both French and English, and and has published his first book, entitled ‘The Catholic Faith and the Social Construction of Religion: With Particular Attention to the Québec Experience’. 
You can read more of Peter’s work by visiting his blog.
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This week, we received this response from avid reader, Duncan Flowers:

I have just wasted 5 minutes of my life that I can never get back. Whatever you are smoking I want some. I can’t remember the last time I read something and at the end thought to myself “what the hell was that all about” You waffle on without saying anything and at the end I’m trying to work out the message.

At the moment I’m left with two theories 1) you just hate women or 2) you long to dress up and wear womens jewelry.

Please Peter for the sake of my mental health please say what you have to say in a short concise sentence or two, and in the mean time tell me “what are you trying to say?”
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