Canadian feminists have acquired new source of millions of taxpayers’ dollars

Since 1998 Industry Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has funded 1,494 research projects in the area of gender issues and 1,792 on women’s issues.
Thu Mar 17, 2011 - 4:14 pm EST

OTTAWA, Thursday March 17, 2011 ( - Feminists howled with rage in September 2006, when the Conservative government cut their advocacy and research funding, doled out to them for over 30 years by the Women’s Program at status of Women Canada. However, REAL Women has discovered that feminist research is still thriving in Canada on the taxpayer’s dollar.

Barrels full of money are being handed to feminists by Industry Canada, under its Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) formed in 1977 to fund “levels of research excellence in Canada”. The SSHRC website states it “encourages the deepest levels of inquiry”. It funds many fields such as anthropology, literature, religion, history, early childhood education, human rights, family planning, family law, language, women’s studies, and gender studies.

The SSHRC has an annual budget of $659 million (up from $93 million in 1995). It is administered by federal government bureaucrats together with representatives from several universities across Canada. SSHRC has given grants for many, many feminist research and gender studies over the years. For example, since 1998 SSHRC has funded 1,494 research projects in the area of gender issues and 1,792 on women’s issues.

As an example, the feminist organization Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), which had been funded by the Status of Women for 24 straight years, was given a $1 million grant in January 2010 from SSHRC for a “Fem North Net research project”. Despite this huge grant, CRIAW craftily appeared before the House of Commons Status of Women Committee on May 26, 2010 moaning its loss of funding from the Status of Women.

Sunera Thobani (former president of the feminist umbrella group, The National Action Committee on the Status of Women) received $57,035.00 between 2003 and 2006 from SSHRC to study “television representations of women in the war on terrorism”.

Feminist professor Angela Campbell of McGill University received $70,000 from SSHRC between 2006–2009 to interview the “wives” of polygamous Winston Blackmore at Bountiful B.C. She testified at the polygamy challenge now being heard before the B.C. Supreme Court, that these women led happy, healthy lives, and that polygamy should be decriminalized. In cross-examination, however, Professor Campbell admitted that she had done little fact-checking on the women’s stories, nor inquired whether they had been instructed by their “husband” Blackmore to do the interviews. Some research.

Centre for Feminist Research
at York University, Toronto, received $145,742 to study “Women’s Human Rights, Macroeconomics, and Policy Choices”. This centre also received a grant of $401,537 for a project called “Women, equality, and fiscal equality: gender analysis of taxes, benefits, and budgets”. Recipient of this grant, Kathleen Lahey, professor at Queen’s University, spoke before the House of Commons Budget Finance Committee last fall basing her arguments on this research paper. REAL Women also appeared before the same finance committee but with a brief that was written without financial aid by the government.

The thousands of other grants include: Implementing the feminist vision: case studies of four feminist organizations; Queer conceptions: re-shaping cultural meanings and experiences of reproduction and sexuality in Canada; Lesbian families challenging the public school system; Queer women on the net; Motivations and emotions of women in pole-dancing classes; An intergenerational study of Montreal queer and feminist performance artists; Transmasculine parenting experiences; Multi-scalar forms of feminist organizing; The politics of body hair… gender and religious identities in Middle Eastern salons; and an analysis of Vancouver’s strip-tease industry 1945-1975.

A serious in-depth review of funding for “women’s” and “gender” issues at SSHRC is long overdue.

REAL Women is urging Canadians concerned about this massive abuse of taxpayer funds to write to Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and their Member of Parliament.

This article was originally published in the January/February 2010 edition of Reality magazine and is re-published with permission.

  feminists, gender studies, industry canada, real women

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