Gender & Women’s Studies annual lecture features Jill Andrew, MPP Toronto-St. Paul’s and York alumna

York University’s School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies will hold its annual lecture virtually on Wednesday, March 10 at 1 p.m. via Zoom.

This year’s lecture, “And Still We Rise: Womxn Opposing Oppression & Proposing Change” features Jill Andrew, MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s, the NDP Culture Critic and the Women’s Issues Critic for the Official Opposition.

Jill Andrew
Jill Andrew

Womxn have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. While COVID-19 has been referred to as an ‘unprecedented’ pandemic, in this talk Andrew (she/her) highlights the ongoing pandemics far preceding COVID-19 waging war on womxn that are exacerbated by this current moment.

Black, Indigenous, womxn of colour, queer and trans womxn, disabled women, sex workers, incarcerated women, fat women, elder women and those representing the bulk of gig-economy, sole-parent and essential worker groups have felt the physical and mental weathering of a pandemic also fueled by the realities of pay inequity, discrimination and chronic underfunding in health care, ‘justice’ and education, rising gender-based violence, lack of real affordable and supportive housing and systemic anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism.

Using the pandemic as a guise, decision makers have routinely ignored the impact of class-stratification and environmental racism on womxn’s bodies and have in fact created policies expediting these crises.

Andrew proposes an inter-ministerial plan for a COVID-19 recovery that centers womxn and discusses her Motion 89 – a call for the Ontario Government to adopt an intersectional, gender equity strategy as a mandatory component of the COVID-19 response. Andrew tabled this motion in December 2019. It is necessary now more than ever.

Andrew is the first Black and Queer person to be elected to the Ontario Legislature and reportedly in Canada. She is also a member of the ONDP Ontario Black Caucus, a first-of-its-kind in the province. Her first Private Member’s bill, which has successfully gone past second reading in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, is advocating for the establishment of an Eating Disorders Awareness Week across Ontario during the first week of February.

Outside of politics, she is also co-founder of Body Confidence Canada and is an award-winning educator, equity and body-image advocate, speaker and writer. As the co-founder of #SizeismSUCKS and Body Confidence Awareness Week, she advocates to end size and appearance-based discrimination, gender-based violence, harassment and bullying. Her co-edited anthology, Body Stories: In and Out and With and Through Fat, was published in 2020 by Demeter Press.

Andrew earned a BEd and PhD from York University’s Faculty of Education. She also holds a Child & Youth Worker diploma from Humber College and a master’s degree in women and gender studies from the University of Toronto New College.

Join the lecture on Zoom.