Serving up sexism?

What’s the difference between a male and female tennis champion? Oh, about US$211,000, reported the Toronto Star Aug. 14. Why the pay difference? Tennis buff and York Prof. Thomas Klassen has been wondering the same thing for years. “At the back of my mind, I’ll ask the question, ‘Why do men get paid more than women?’ ” asks the political science professor, who will take in some of this week’s women’s Rogers Cup matches on campus. The winner of the women’s tournament will take home $189,000, while the men’s winner will earn a whopping $400,000. “Part of the reason is it’s just the way it’s always been and it takes a long time to change this type of thing,” said Klassen. “It’s partly a pay-equity issue. Women are playing in the same place, playing the same sport and drawing the same fans – and the television audience is the same. But all professional sports are a business and there’s a bottom line that has to be met.”

In other Rogers Cup coverage:

  • Toronto’s major newspapers reported Aug. 15, after speculating all weekend, that Maria Sharapova, the 18-year-old Russian tennis sensation and hottest ticket in the game, had bowed out of the Rogers Cup tourney at the Rexall Centre at York University.
  • The National Post noted Aug. 13 that the sport’s mass appeal – and a fancy new stadium – is catching the eye of corporate Canada. Tennis Canada has been marketing the women’s tennis tournament as an opportunity for businesspeople to schmooze clients in luxury suites or courtside seats at the year-old Rexall Centre, a world-class venue located in the north end of the city at  York University.
  • The Toronto Sun reported Aug. 15 that Serena Williams is one of the top seeds at the Rogers tournament and was expected to start playing Tuesday at York University’s Rexall Centre. Her sister Venus bowed out, however, reported other media.

Expect backlash over rising gas prices, says prof

“I think a consumer backlash is coming,” says Daniel Drache, a political economist at York University, reported the Stouffville Sun Aug. 13 as the price at the pumps flirted with the $1-a-litre mark. “It will have an enormous impact on travel, driving to work and the small business owner. I think the question is, why is gas up to $1? Is there gouging going on here?” Drache said. On the flipside of the coin, higher gas prices could add to a lag already under way in SUV sales, and alternative energy sources could gain more recognition, Drache said. “In the meantime, people are very angry.” The government needs to be more upfront with the public about the price of fuel, Drache said. “There are very big consequences and I don’t think our government has a plan.”

Female musicians not un-Islamic, says prof

Amila Buturovic, a professor of Islamic studies in York’s Humanities Division, says female musicians, sitar music and representations of the human face in visual art work are not un-Islamic, but in fact can be found in Islam’s rich and varied cultural history, reported The Globe and Mail Aug. 13 in a story about restrictions on female performers at Mississauga’s Muslimfest. “We have historical evidence that these things have been part of the Islamic cultural tradition and testify to its richness rather than undermine it,” said Buturovic, who just returned from Turkey where she viewed paintings from the 17th-century Ottoman Empire that depicted people’s faces. “This festival is giving one interpretation of sharia, which is very regional. Interpretations of sharia vary according to the different schools of thought.”

Is Toronto dependent upon illegal workforce?

Some studies and media reports have documented aspects of the lives of illegal workers, reported the Toronto Star Aug. 15. Other case studies have provided snapshots into the shadowy world of illegal employment. But they don’t answer the larger question of whether Toronto has become dependent on an undocumented workforce, said Luin Goldring, a sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts.

Even chemistry has a shrine

Toronto and the surrounding area have more than their share of halls of fame, excluding the one everyone’s heard of and seems already to have visited, devoted to hockey, reported Toronto Star Aug. 15. They include Chemistry, at York University.

Happy 80th, Mr. Peterson!

Name: Oscar Emmanuel Peterson. Birthdate: Aug. 15, 1925, reported The Gazette in Montreal Aug. 15. Honours and awards: Was chancellor of York University 1991-94.

Viva buses hit the road Sept. 6

York Region is about to launch an intensive media campaign leading up to the September launch of the new fleet of 40 blue Viva buses, reported the Richmond Hill Liberal Aug. 11. The official opening takes place in the early hours on Sept. 6 and includes the Yonge Street service and a route along Highway 7 from Markham Town Centre to York University.

Flycatchers look for multiple mates

The idea that birds form long-lasting, stable and faithful relationships has taken a beating over the last few years, wrote Toronto Star science columnist Jay Ingram Aug. 13. But York biologist Bridget Stutchbury‘s research suggests it could be abandoned altogether. The Acadian flycatchers she studied aren’t monogamous, they’re “socially monogamous”. That means forming pairs for the purposes of maintaining the nest and feeding the young, but at the same time doing everything possible to mate with others. They’re dramatically successful: More than half the nests contain young fathered by males other than the social mate.

Let public combat hateful utterances

In an editorial about aboriginal leader David Ahenakew’s anti-Semitic comments, the Cape Breton Post cited York political scientist Stephen L. Newman, who noted that freedom of speech is one of the fundamentals of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and therefore deserves to be given its due weight. When there is no evidence that “hateful utterances will almost certainly cause grave harm to the nation or at least some portion of its citizens, the disarming of evil ideas ought be left to the public – that is to say, to all of us – through vigorous and responsible exercise of the precious freedom of expression,” Newman wrote in The Globe and Mail on July 13, in the wake of Ahenakew’s conviction.

York grad becoming Hollywood It Girl

Rachel McAdams has learned a lot about show business over the last two years and can deftly sum up one of her most important accomplishments: “I’ve figured out how to pack my suitcase really fast,” reported the Philadelphia Inquirer Aug. 14 about the movie star and York 2001 fine arts grad. Moving quickly has become a necessity, since McAdams, who lives in Canada, has been racking up the frequent-flier miles between Toronto and Los Angeles. With three consecutive hits in 18 months, this 28-year-old, saucer-eyed brunet is fast becoming Hollywood’s It Girl.

From a D+ to the Toronto film festival

Talk about sweet vindication: Chris Nash got a D+ in film class, but his big year-end assignment for the course will be screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, reported The Globe and Mail Aug. 15. The 23-year-old York University fine arts student will be going into his fourth year in September, but during the middle of the month his 16-minute horror-comedy-drama, Day of John, will be shown in the Short Cuts Canada category.

On air

  • Anthropologist Kenneth Little, a professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, was interviewed about the film The Aristocrats, which shows comedians doing the same extremely dirty joke with different takes, on “CBC News: Sunday Night” Aug. 14.
  • Astronomer Paul Delaney, senior lecturer in York’s Department of Physics & Astronomy, answered viewers questions about space travel, on “CTV National News” Aug. 12.