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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's 2013 People!  Women CAN be Wives, Good Cooks AND Business Tycoons!

Seriously!  When did being a good cook and a wife mean that you can't be anything more?  Someone forgot to tell me this.  I would suggest that many women that have very successful careers were also not told that these conditions were in place.  I have dug out my manual, which was created when I was born, and I can't find this anywhere.  Maybe there was an update that my parents forgot to insert.

But seriously, this really isn't a laughing matter.  As a married woman, who can cook and likes to cook, I am also someone who takes my career seriously.  I believe that I, along with all women, can be more than what one label suggests.  I didn't think that this was something that we had to discuss and debate in 2013, but I guess it is.  This morning a hot topic on both the local and even national news was the fact that a politician, while at an event last weekend, made a comment after tasting some food prepared by a young lady stating:  'you will make someone a good wife someday'.  Nowhere did I hear him say that she would be chained up and forced to stay at home and that she could not go to school to become whatever she desired.  No, of course not!

Who forget to tell Marissa Mayer that she is a wife, so she can't lead Google?
Photo courtesy of

In the spirit of openness and transparency I must declare that I not only know this politician, but I also like and respect him.  I also admit that my gut reaction to hearing this story was:  COME ON!  Serioulsy!..Seriously..this is news?  So, I did question my reaction to ensure that it was not biased by the fact that I know him.  After soul searching and self-questioning, I went back to my gut reaction:  this is ridiculous.  And, I will state that I would be the first to cry foul if this was a true case of dismissing women's rights!  I am still miffed to think that women in New Brunswick are not protected by law in terms of getting equal pay. (See my blog post:  Women, Persons Under the Law)

Just exactly when did things get so carried away that someone can't make a statement about being a wife without people thinking or believing that is all a woman can be?  After all, this is 2013 AND we live in what is supposed to be a progressive part of the world.

I know that women can be good cooks, wives, mothers, gardeners, etc. and be very successful in their careers.  Some such women that come to mind include: Marissa Mayer, Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Margaret Thatcher, and closer to home, Dominique Dionne of Xstrata Nickel, and Lisa Lisson of FedEx Express Canada to name a few. Mind you I have not tasted any of these ladies cooking, but you get the picture and that really is NOT the point.

Rather than jump on "this" bandwagon, let's rally around real issues like: pay equity, ending the culture of rap, and the labeling women.  As women, let's not let others label us and limit us.  Let's not join 'that' conversation.

These are my opinions and I would love to hear yours. 

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

7 Etiquette Tips for Twitter & Social Media in General

One of the things I get asked, probably on a daily basis, is how to use social media.  I think that the first thing people have to remember is that it is "social" media and not just media.  So, in order to be social, as the good Dr. Sheldon Cooper would tell us, "social convention says" we first need to remember that we are interacting with people.  Yup, people!  Sure we are using computers linked to networks that enable us to reach people around the world, but the purpose is to connect with people at some level. 

When using social media think about how you interact with people on a daily basis.  Hopefully you make good use of the etiquette that your parents taught you as a child!  Good manners never go out of style.  So, here are 7 tips to get you started on Twitter:

1.  Develop relationships rather than focusing on numbers.  Far too many people want to have large networks thinking it demonstrates that they are popular or something.  This is not necessarily the case.  Keep in mind that some people "buy" followers.  I have strong personal feelings against doing this, but that is a whole other blog post! 

2.  Follow people who are of interest to you.  Seek out people who are in your industry or stand for a cause that you believe in.  Follow them.  Listen to them and ask relevant questions.

Image courtesy of 

3.  Don't follow people just to increase your count and then unfollow them. Again, think quality versus quantity.

4.  Complete your profile.  Complete your profile.  Yes, I said this twice.  Remember, you are building relationships, so tell people who you are.  What do you do?  What are some hobbies? What City do you live in?  Show some personality.

5.  Use a photo of you for your avatar. Whatever you do, don't leave the egg avatar as your graphical representation.  Instead, choose a photo that will help people recognize you should they have the opportunity to meet you in person.

6.  Be polite.  This should go without saying, but sadly it does not.  Say thank you to people.  Be nice.  Don't spam people.  Don't auto Direct Message them selling them something.

7.  Engage.  Don't just talk at people talk to them.  Ask questions.  Respond to people's questions.  Offer help.  Ask for help.

These are just some tips.  There are many more.  What ones would you add to the list?

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Women, Persons Under the Law

Celebrating women and our accomplishments is one of things we think about when we think of International Women's Day or during International Women's Week.  Or, at least I certainly do.  This year however, I have thought about how difficult things remain for women in many parts of the world.

It really wasn't that long ago that women became "persons under the law" in Canada.  In fact, it was less than 100 years.  In 1927 Emily Murphy and four other Canadian women asked the Supreme Court of Canada if the word "persons" in the British North America Act of 1867, included women.  It answered "NO" in 1928.  A year later, with the help of our then Prime Minister, MacKenzie King, the Famous Five appealed to the Privy Council in England.  In 1929, they announced that "...yes, women are persons...".  Can you imagine?   Less than 100 years ago in Canada I would not have been considered a person, by law!  I can't imagine that.

The rights of women advanced a snail's pace faster in the United States with the federal woman suffrage amendment, originally written by Susan B. Anthony and introduced in Congress in 1878,being passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1919. It was then sent to the states for ratification. Again, only slightly better than Canada.

Flash forward to 2013 and unfortunately we see some shocking statistics and behavior.  In my province alone, pay equity is "still" a voluntary initiative.  Yes, you read correctly.  Paying women 80 cents for every dollar that a man is paid is acceptable.  And, yes this is 2013.  So, a woman can have the same education and experience, perhaps even more and doing the same job as the man in the next office, but she is paid less.  Twenty percent less.  And, yes there are cries to have more educated and qualified people working in our province.  While our lifestyle is nice here, there are a couple of provinces adjacent to us that offer the same quality of life.  How do they treat women in those provinces?

Photo courtesy of:
While I am not pleased that women are paid less in New Brunswick and our government chooses to think it is acceptable, there are far more appalling behaviours occurring around the world.  Late last year Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl wanting to be educated was shot in the head only because she was a girl and she wanted an education.  Amazingly, she survived and while it will be a very, very long road to some form of recovery, she wants to continue to learn and be educated.

In December we were all outraged by the brutal rape of a 23-year woman on a New Delhi bus.  The story was gut-wrenching.  Despite wanting to live and fighting to live, the injuries were just too serious. And while India was outraged by the incident, just four weeks later another woman travelling by bus to her village was taken to a building where she was raped by seven men.   Just four weeks later!

There are many stories such as these. They do make me stop and think about being a person under the law. I am a person under the law in my country, but not in all.  In my own country and province, according to government, it is acceptable that I would be paid less than my male counterpart if my employer chose to do so.  Even when we have laws of protection, they may or may not be enforced. 

Whether or not you are a woman or a man, what is your take on this?  And, does it even matter to you that International Women's Week starts on Friday?