STATUS QUO? the Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada

By Le Rougetel, Amanda | Herizons, Spring 2013 | Go to article overview

STATUS QUO? the Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada


Le Rougetel, Amanda, Herizons


STATUS QUO?

The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada

Directed by Karen Cho

REVIEW BY AMANDA LE ROUGETEL

This NFB film is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks the politics of feminism are no longer needed in Canada. It is wellresearched, beautifully filmed and inspiringly scored with original music by former Parachute Club lead singer Lorraine Segato.

Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canadatakes a sweeping look at the status of women in Canada by focusing on three significant issues: abortion, violence and child care. The film makes clear that, while significant strides have been made towards women's equality in this country, most women are still a long way from genuine freedom of choice or action. This is not news to many of us, but the film's skilful presentation of this fact through the voices of activists today and from 40-plus years ago is a powerful viewing experience.

Status Quo? director Karen Cho says she was "new to feminism" when she took on this film but had her eyes opened during the research: "I realized that many of the rights I took for granted were hard-fought battles at risk of being rolled back. I wanted to make a film that was not only a historical piece but something that could resonate with young women today."

Cho blends footage from the 1967 Royal Commission on the Status of Women (the first Canadian Royal Commission to be headed by a woman, journalist Florence Bird) with shots from the 201 1 Pan-Canadian Young Feminist Gathering in Winnipeg and intercuts interviews with activists and advocates. The spirit is the same across the generations, but the fashion sure isn't! It's great to see the images of the women from the '60s, many of them smoking and looking prim in their hats and skirt suits but saying, "Taking abortion out of the Criminal Code is a high priority." The young feminists, casually dressed, describe themselves as anti-capitalist, anti-colonialist and anti-patriarchy and say "Enough being nice! Our fight must be political."

The Bird Commission's top demands (there were 167 in all, arising from 468 briefs and individual women's testimony) were, according to a CBC news announcer, "abortion on demand and more daycare centres." That was in 1970 and we could pretty much say the same thing today.

Yes, abortion is no longer in the Criminal Code, thanks to the 1988 Supreme Court ruling. But today there are no abortion services in PEI, and in New Brunswick women must either pay $600 at the Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton or try their luck with the one hospital in the province that performs the procedure on the condition that two physicians give their permission and a gynecologist trained in the procedure is available.

The Royal Commission on the Status of Women had not one recommendation on violence against women; the seriousness or extent of the issue were not fully grasped. For example, one of the commission's examiners is shown asking a woman who had presented a brief on domestic violence, "On what authority would you have this man taken out of his home? The man says, 'Why was I arrested? Why was my freedom taken?' And we have to have an answer for him." As if the violence weren't answer enough.

A little over a decade later, in 1982, MP Margaret Mitchell was greeted with laughter from some Progressive Conservative and Liberal MPs in the House of Commons when, addressing a report on wife abuse, she noted that "one in ten husbands beat their wives. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

STATUS QUO? the Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.