The sexual revolution is not synonymous with women’s liberation

A study commissioned by the Vanier Institute of the Family suggests that young women should think twice before moving in with their boyfriends, reported the Edmonton Sun Sept. 20 under the headline, “Girls, Your Mom Was Right.” “The sexual revolution should not be taken as synonymous with women’s liberation and women’s best interest,” says the study, written by sociologist Anne-Marie Ambert of York’s Faculty of Arts. “While there is some good in the sexual revolution, it has not completely eliminated the double standard,” Ambert writes. Cohabitation benefits men more than women because men get free sex, the paper notes. Then, when women press for commitment, men typically break off the relationship.

Over the last three decades, Ambert has collected and analyzed more than 1,500 autobiographies from her students. Remarkably, she observes, none of the personal essays written by cohabiting female students were unequivocally favourable to living together. Twenty years ago, couples who moved in together often had been in a long-term relationship and were planning on getting married, Ambert writes. In that sense, such “trial marriages” were socially acceptable. In the 1970s, about 60 per cent of cohabitors married their partners within three years of moving in together. By the early 1990s, that had dropped to 35 per cent, she notes. “A large proportion of young cohabitors now begin living together rather quickly after the onset of dating, with little thought of permanency and, least of all, of marriage,” Ambert says. “For them, cohabitation is replacing dating.” And while living together may be more convenient than dating because of the easy sex, women typically feel used, the paper suggests.

Shacking up is also risky on a number of other fronts, points out Ambert, who synthesized the findings of numerous research papers on the social, emotional and financial effects of cohabitation and marriage on men, women, children and society. Cohabitations tend to dissolve faster than marriages and children are more at risk when a mother lives with a man who is not the child’s natural father. “However functional and rewarding cohabitation is for many adults, its benefits have yet to be substantiated by research,” says Ambert.

Women’s needs ignored in federal budgets: report

Federal budgets short-change women, says an economic think-tank, which called on the government to live up to commitments to ensure budgets are responsive to such realities as how women generally earn a lot less than men, reported the Ottawa Citizen Sept. 20. “While the budget appears to be a gender-neutral policy instrument,” said the report released by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, ”government expenditures and taxes impact men and women differently, particularly since men and women generally occupy different social and economic positions.” If women are to be equal benefactors of federal budget surpluses, the federal government must live up to its commitments to analyze the different impacts its budgets have on men and women and on boys and girls, it said. “Applied gender budget analysis is not simply a technical exercise, but a more long-term process that requires government officials to think about the economy in new ways that include the unpaid sector where much of women’s time and efforts are concentrated,” said the author of the report, Isabella Bakker, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts.

CANDU reactors best choice for province, says prof

“It now seems the debate is shifting from whether we need new nuclear generation, to what nuclear technology we should use, even implying that we could invite the French and Americans to build their brand of nuclear technology here in Ontario,” wrote Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, in a Sept. 20 opinion piece in the Toronto Star.This is very odd. Made-in-Ontario nuclear technology – CANDU – is one of the top-performing reactors in the world, he pointed out. “One wonders why Ontario is even contemplating opening our doors wide to foreign interests at the expense of a local technology that employs thousands of people and produces the best reactors in the world. We should sit down immediately at the negotiating table and hammer out a deal with the federal government that will allow us to proceed with the environmental approvals, licensing and construction to bring new CANDUs on line before the lights go out in Ontario. Then we should announce to the world that Ontario is proudly going ahead with our made-in-Ontario solution CANDU.”

How York calms concerned parents

It used to be that the behaviour of frisky freshmen was a cause for concern on campus, but now it’s clingy moms and dads, reported Pembroke’s Daily Observer Sept. 20 in a story that originally appeared in The Globe and Mail. “They don’t see university as the cutoff point,” said Frank Cappadocia, director of York’s Centre for Student community & Leadership Development. “They say, ‘We’ve invested and we’re staying invested.”‘ To help stem the flood of parental e-mails, York for the first time ran an online “chat” this month to answer questions from parents in one fell swoop. More than 200 parents logged on, armed with a fistful of questions. York also offered a parent orientation, coinciding with students moving into dormitories.

York grad helps link families after Katrina

A Winnipeg native playing a central role in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts wonders how he will return to a normal job once the crisis is over, reported the Winnipeg Free Press Sept. 20. “I’m probably on stress-level 10 and I don’t even feel it any more, because last week I was on stress level 20,” said York grad Adam Bronstone, 36, the community relations director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. Bronstone, using telephones, computers and BlackBerry handhelds, has largely served as a go-between linking distraught family members and searchers on the ground in New Orleans. Bronstone earned a master’s degree at York in 1991 and a doctorate at the University of Hull in England, both in political science.

Mom became lawyer after child died

Sharon Shore, the mother of a 10-year-old girl who was found dead in her bed at the Hospital for Sick Children in 1998, acknowledged to reporters that her legal battle to bring nurses Ruth Doerksen and Anagaile Soriano to account was over after the College of Nurses of Ontario imposed a one-month suspension for professional misconduct, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 20.But she said the experience so moved her that she applied to Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in 2001, graduated this year and now is articling for a Toronto law firm. “I decided I wanted to be an intimate part of [the legal] system because that was the only way that I could do whatever I could for other people that are not able to deal with the combined resources of large institutions,” she explained. Shore had to fight for an inquest into her daughter Lisa’s death and pressed for criminal charges to be laid against Doerksen and Soriano after the coroner’s jury returned a homicide verdict. The verdict, in February 2000, indicated the jury believed Lisa’s death was a result of human error, and not an accident as the hospital had argued.

On air

  • Burkard Eberlein, a visiting political science professor with York’s Canadian Centre for German & European Studies, discussed German politics and the results of the national election, on TVO’s “Studio 2” Sept. 19.
  • James Morton, president-elect of the Ontario Bar Association and an adjunct professor of evidence at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed whether the inquiry into the MFP computer-leasing scandal will change Toronto city hall, on Rogers TV’s “Goldhawk” Sept. 19.
  • Paul Delaney, senior lecturer in astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about NASA’s new mission to the moon and then to Mars, on CTV national “News” Sept. 19.
  • David Noble, a history professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, discussed how York cancels classes for three days to honour certain Jewish holidays, on the “Dave Rutherford” call-in show on CHQR-AM in Calgary Sept. 19.
  • Sashar Zarif, a graduate student and instructor in York’s Dance Department, talked about York’s world dance program and his upcoming performance of vajd: symphony of east, on CIUT-FM’s “Evi-dance” in Toronto Sept. 18.