By Marion Roberts
In response to the article on the nature of both women’s and men’s centres published in last weeks edition of The Peak, I appreciate the endeavor to appropriate points and discussion around multiple issues. However, some arguments could be seen as a bit out of context. For example, it was stated that women are more likely to make more money than men due to, as it was suggested, more females receiving undergraduate education than males. However, despite legal rights within the work force, women are still projected to make 70 per cent of a male’s wage.
The statement that on-campus women are “the furthest thing from marginalized” is also fallacious, as it measures whether a demographic receives prejudice by how much of the population it occupies. The point made is, “because there are more female undergraduate students, females must surely be free of marginalization.” This is hardly well founded evidence, as although women occupy a greater percentage of our population in general than males in Canada, if you simply look into an introductory sociology textbook here at SFU, women will still be classified socially as a marginalized group. That is because of discrimination that still occurs today, as measured by the Global Gender Gap Report in 2011. This report measured economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment disparities between genders. Canada ranks number 18 behind the U.S. and many European countries.
Academic journals, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, have found that women on campuses are at greater risk of sexual assault than women in the general public. Within other reports is the reiteration of the need for education of the public on campuses about issues surrounding women and their vulnerabilities in our society as a gender and being a marginalized demographic.
The Women’s Centre is not about the “rejection of men”—there is a co-ed space, which exists as a place for students to sit down, and has a great collection of books about oppression issues. Half of the space is allocated as women-only because there are no other spaces on campus where a female can go and avoid being surrounded by the demographic they are most likely to be victimized by: males. This is not to blame or send hate towards males, but pragmatically women on campus may need that space where they can lock the door for safety reasons while studying.
Feminism is not solely about women. It is a discussion of sex and gender wherein issues of masculinities and femininities are brought up for males amongst males, males amongst females and vice versa.