Posted by: Steph | April 3, 2007

Rampant Sexism at Schulich?

Still assessing sexism at Schulich… My Power and Politics assignment is due tomorrow and I would like it to be brilliant. Schulich students – this is where you come in…

I am hoping to have more comments (from Schulich people only please) – even anonymous ones since I know that this is a sensitive topic.

There are a few areas that keep coming up in my research and I am still trying to understand what is happening – these things do not seem to be discussed much in the public discourse. I have three targeted questions hoping to provoke some thought:

1. The Schulich student population is quite international, and many of the students come from countries that do not treat women as equals. How does this impact the women at Schulich? Is the impact different for Canadian women vs. the women from these countries?

2. Is it ok for someone to be openly against homosexuality because of cultural values? For example, saying in class “we shouldn’t target gays for the resort because people don’t want to see that” – Should this be allowed in the classroom?

3. Look at the following list of nominees for the President’s Award:

Jonathan Bowes
David Tunnah
Roma Ebrahim
Eric Midvidy
David Pichard
John Vellone
Richard Blooom

Disclaimer – I know most of the nominees quite well and they are amazing… this isn’t a commentary on them by any means.

6/7 of them are white men. Would any eyebrows have been raised had the list been comprised of 1 white man and 5 of a different demographic? For example 5 white women, or 5 Indian men, or 5 Chinese women? I believe that it would have been pointed out. Are white men the primary contributors to our school? And if so, have we enabled them to be our leaders? Something just doesn’t seem to fit here. Of course there are exceptions to every rule but there does seem to be a pattern quietly coming through.

Any thoughts?

Update: Natalia Lobach was also nominated but this is not valid bc she is not graduating…



  1. Let’s say that there is sexism at this school. Is that the fault of the school or the ‘system’ in general? Let’s say it’s the system. Should the school be forcing or promoting equality? Is that its job?

  2. It is in line with some customs in Canada – look at the government – white men. More precisely Canadian born white men with Canadian roots ( one of the reason why Ignatiev is not Liberal leader).
    School should be different because it is necessary to change situation in the country and situation will be changed soon (soon means years but it is soon)- population of immigrants is growing and they unlikely will be voting for white from Quebec.

  3. Hey! I was on the original list for president’s award but I’m not eligible since I’m not graduating until December, so you can increase the white man count to 5/7 🙂

  4. As the token brown chick on that list, I don’t know whether this is really symptomatic of a sexism problem.

    That being said, I’m a meritocracist. I’ve always believed in the ‘Bumblebee’ mentality, so I don’t believe in making excuses for one’s inability to achieve something. I think that the world is what it is. You can’t change people and I don’t have the energy to waste trying. By no means do I call being either gender a disadvantage, but if as a woman, I am discriminated against, I just have to work harder and be better than everyone else. No sense in waffling about, arguing about the unfairness of life. That energy is better spent showing whoever has their head up their arse that you are not only as good, but more driven and better than anyone else – male or female. And if a competitor beats you fair and square, then they deserve to win. Lick your wounds and try harder. If someone still passes over you to hire or recognize someone simply based on their genatalia, frankly, I wouldn’t want to work there anyway.

    I say this in the context of being a professional, or trying to get/keep a job or promotion, intellectual recognition, etc… not to be confused with any other aspect of life or human rights.

    Also, let’s not forget that there are many people of both sexes out there that are much more disadvantaged than we are – and they make out just fine.

  5. Roma – I adore you but I am going to make you read some bell hooks, Marilyn Frye, and maybe a little bit of Marilyn French too.

    Being a professional is within the realm of human rights, and the whole point is that a patriarchal society is NOT a meritocracy for anyone. At any level.

    Perhaps you can live (most likely thrive with your brains) within this context of inequality, but you also have a great deal of privilege. Accepting the status quo is in effect condoning a system that allows for the systemic oppression of all minorities – including gays, women, non whites, the poor, ect – Do you really think that it is just a matter of these individuals working harder? Are they just lazy and/or stupid compared to you?

    … my 2 cents. Couldn’t resist.

  6. I don’t think I’m taking it that far. You asked about sexism, which is a far removed prospect from racism, homophobia, etc. I’m not saying that a meritocracy is the world we exist in. I live with my beliefs because that’s what I’ve known. I’ve been lucky to have some phenomenal female influences in my life, who in turn have fought and beat the system on their own merits both in this country and others – and managed to balance their personal lives (husbands, kids and all) and thrive professionally, simply because they refused to accept the status quo.

    To them, the status quo means something else. Where they grew up, the status quo was that women are to be in the home, they may be able to vote, but they can’t decide their own futures. To a very large extent, that’s where I grew up as well.

    Most of my friends have their lives and careers arranged for them. I, being unmarried at the ripe old age of 24, am still something of an aberration. My best friends lecture me on how I’m going to be an old maid at 40. To me, accepting the status quo is working a menial job, getting married, and cranking out the old 2.4 kids. So, yeah, I refuse to do that. Frankly, I have no energy after fighting these forces, to sit around debating the glass ceiling. If these women could beat it and become ridiculously powerful (if that’s how you measure success in feminism) and fully rounded human beings at the same time – I call that a tremendous achievement. And if they can do it, so can I.

    Ask yourself this. If a man became super successful, made a potload of money, gained and still holds all this power, what are the chances that he’s also a family man, spends time with his kids (if he has any), works out, and can genuinely call himself a well rounded individual? Each of the women I refer to do all of those things, without complaint and without a thought to how hard it really is to balance all these things. They just do it. To me, that’s real feminism.

  7. The whole point is that sexism, racism, homophobia ect. are intertwined. It isn’t about the individuals who overcome barriers – I see that as individual achievement. This is about a system – and those I fight for are generally those who do not have the choices I have.

  8. So… certain individuals can overcome the barriers. What separates them from the rest of the crowd that can’t? What choices did they have that others do not?

  9. the system is natural and a product of evolution…man and woman were both on earth from the foundation of mankind and civilization

    face the fact, woman are weak and succumbed to allow male domination

    for the most part around the world, homos are weak too until recently with their uprising against a natural system.

    being bold doesnt make anything fair, recognizing something unfair in a system is not enough to say it is wrong….this is all speculation and perception

    ask why ? maybe you should answer why men do not give birth to offspring, that might have changed the system dramatically

    if you are lost, just look at darwinian theory….wherever you apply it, the survival of the fittest prevail

    Men survive(d) in the corporate world, the material world better than their counterparts hence they dictate the system perhaps….similarly heterosexuals enjoy that too….

    there is a system, you all have choices to be within it or outside it…the question is being in AND being outside has its pros and cons

    acknowledge it

    the less-privileged sometimes are comfortable where they are…any one thought of that….or else maybe most homos would come out of the closet, or create a system of their own?

  10. wow – well aren’t you just a little treat. Special.

  11. Hey Misc: Why are your surfing this blog? Shouldn’t you be in your mother’s basement, watching Fox News?

  12. Hi, schulich student, don’t want to reveal more because its a small program but ill answer ur questions

    1. Hmm, not being an international student it is hard to answer. To be honest there is a big divide between the Asians and non-asians, as when they speak Korean or Chinese we have no idea of what they are saying. I have not seen any overt sexism as there are also women professors and realize that many of the international students are Europeans (Russian jew, Romanian, French, Britain etc.)
    2. I’d say most Canadians of university age are not pro gay and make gay jokes. They are not anti gay but would not stand infront of a class and say f u gay guy either. I think they do make gossip and remarks.
    3. I don’t recognize any names on that list so it must be quiet old, but I do believe there is a racial bias in marking by professors and tas in that they seem to give their own race preferential treatment. I’ve noticed this a lot with white professors. In some cases I use to allow white colleagues to borrow my work and noticed that they were very similar in everything but marks. I don’t talk to enough schulich girls to form a good opnion on sexism. However given that there is a whole bias in schulich against non whites it doesn’’t surprise me that if a white and an asian both deserve a 85% the white would get a 90 so as to be awarded a 9, whereas the colored would get the 80 to be given an 8.
    4. The real problem is that the only way to battle discrimination is to sue whoever is discriminating against you. Do you think the university is just discrimination by accident? No it is a well plotted thing and will only be stopped if the courts force them to stop.

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