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Alberta, BC and Women in Politics

The Tyee by Shari Graydon 2 July 2023

Why representation makes a difference, and how to make it happen.


Two strong women candidates in Alberta’s election is only an illusion of equality
Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 12 May 2023


In British Columbia, this is what a balance of power delivers: a world in which women’s experiences and insights inform policies and impact spending.

The ongoing commitment to ensure women’s voices are heard
Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 2 March 2023


Decades of research make clear that ensuring women’s voices are integrated into decision-making in every arena delivers better outcomes.

Online hate that targets women is a threat to democracy itself

Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 8 December 2022

Elon Musk isn’t responsible for how unappealing public life has become for even ambitious women.


Canadians want parties and governments to act on gender parity in politics

Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 19 September 2022

What do Iceland, Mexico and New Zealand have in common? On at least one fundamental measure, they’re more democratic than Canada.

Online abuse is costing us — especially women — emotionally and financially

Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 23 June 2022

Are you paying the “toxicity tax?” Like the now-abolished sales tax on tampons, it mostly affects women. But sadly, this financial penalty is one many pay every day of the month.

Women candidates and their issues not represented, yet again, during the election

Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 17 September 2021

For a few moments last year, when COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on women, immigrants and other historically excluded communities became inescapable, the darkness cracked open and some light got in.

I can no longer celebrate Canada Day

Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 23 June 2021


I can no longer celebrate Canada Day, and I’m at a loss as to why anyone else should, either.

Pandemic reinforces need for media to better reflect women's diversity

Policy Options by Shari Graydon 08 February 2021


“Be it resolved that journalists should quote women as often as men.”

Increasing women’s voices is key to accelerating action on climate change

Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 21 February 2020


You know that theory suggesting that women are given a chance to lead political parties or General Motors only when the situation is so bad no sane man wants the job?

‘I want to like, hire you, but like … really?’

Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 23 May 2019

The disease is highly contagious and there’s no vaccine. That’s the bad news. The good news is there is a cure. It requires no doctors or pharmacists, but a bit of mindfulness (perhaps supplemented by a small monetary incentive) and the enrolment of close colleagues and family members.

Featuring more female sources could increase your audience engagement, research suggests

Poynter by Shari Graydon 29 April 2019

What would happen if news media struggling to survive applied the productivity mantra “What gets measured gets done” to the sources they quote?

Using big data analytics for social good and broader perspectives

Calgary's Business by Shari Graydon 13 February 2019

An Iranian big data engineer, a Spanish computational linguist and a Canadian social activist walk into a research lab. They don’t miss the drinks they could order if they’d gone to the bar, because they’re on a mission to change the world.

In numbers there is strength – how big data can help close the gender gap in Canadian journalism

Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 08 February 2019

We hear a lot these days about how artificial intelligence is taking away jobs and making it easy for foreign powers to hack democracy. But some scientists are hunched over their computers in an effort to harness the power of big data analytics for social good.

Online tool gives media outlets incentive to achieve gender parity

Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 04 February 2019

Could the incentivizing power of a fitness tracker be adapted to help achieve gender equality in the media, enhancing Canadian democracy in the process? After a year of collaboration with a team of big data scientists, we’re about to find out.

In praise of academic media sluts – a New Year’s resolution

University Affairs by Shari Graydon 07 January 2019

Are you a media whore? Or do you worry you might be labeled one by your colleagues – if not to your face, then behind your back?

Sharing your research with the public can change minds

University Affairs by Shari Graydon 11 September 2018

At a time when too many public conversations are dominated by the simplistic tweets of a powerful man with a legendary disregard for the truth, news about some recent research was especially welcome. It turns out that well-reasoned arguments featuring nuanced analysis of complex issues – the kind published in respected newspapers and online hubs – regularly persuade readers to embrace new ideas.

Valuing women as expert sources in the news

Policy Options by Shari Graydon 07 March 2018

The genie is now out of the bottle, the bottle itself is broken, and the forces unleashed by the extraordinary events of the past 18 months will not be constrained. That’s the image I have of the irreversible momentum of women speaking up and insisting on being heard regarding the realities of their lives.

Here's why we should feature more women in the public sphere

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 10 January 2018

Here’s a no-cost resolution for companies seeking to attract more talented women to help diversify their workforce: In 2018, they might feature a few of the ones they already employ in more public roles.

Yes, it matters a lot that Viola Desmond will be on our $10 bill

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 08 December 2016


Is putting Viola Desmond on the Canadian $10 bill crass symbolism or a significant step forward?

Tracking women in the media: A survey I wish was obsolete

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 10 March 2016


Women were dying to get into the headlines – literally. It was 1993, and Media Action was reviewing research documenting the ratio of male and female voices in Canadian media. Seeing that our annual study showed a slight increase in the previously stalled tally of female newsmakers (up to 22 per cent, from 19 per cent the previous year), we were momentarily excited.

Women too often shut out of public discourse

The Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 04 March 2016


The most compelling moment for me in Chris Rock’s takedown of this year’s Oscar whitewash was the video footage he shot in the mostly black neighbourhood of Compton (not coincidentally, the location of a critically acclaimed movie that was shut out of this year’s awards show).

One line in a job posting that spoke volumes about ‘women’s work’

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 26 November 2015


It takes a special kind of genius to denigrate women and discriminate against men in a single sentence. Consider the volume of mainstream and social-media attention generated this week by Toronto Web development firm Vestra Inet, in its quest for a qualified content writer and search-engine optimization specialist.

Gender parity in cabinet is more than good optics

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 04 November 2015


Was Justin Trudeau’s promise to have women fill 50 per cent of his cabinet positions: (a) A crass play for progressive optics? (b) A lamentable abandonment of our long tradition of meritocracy? (c) Good public policy?

How to present years of scholarly work in 30 minutes

University Affairs by Shari Graydon 07 October 2015

Delivering presentations is one of the foundations of scholarly work. But doing so outside of the classroom invariably poses different challenges. Becoming adept at crafting compelling presentations that engage a variety of audiences increases an academic’s opportunities to get others excited about their work.

In sexual assault, experience matters

The Ottawa Sun by Shari Graydon 30 August 2015

Hands up if you think that calling a kiss on the cheek "sexual assault" is an indefensible exaggeration.

Vocal style “vocal fry” growing in popularity

CP24 with Shari Graydon 30 August 2015

On the heels of her op ed in the Globe and Mail, Shari weighed in on the criticism of vocal habits common among young women in an interview with CP24 host, Stephanie Smyth.

The lowdown on women and up-talking

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 31 July 2015

Imagine you're on an overseas flight and the pilot's voice interrupts your movie with a series of announcements disconcertingly phrased as questions: "Ladies and gentlemen? We're expecting heavy turbulence in the next little while? You'll want to remain seated, with your seat belts fastened?" You'd probably feel a little unnerved by the up-talking uncertainty.

In the age of social media, not all publicity is good publicity

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 13 May 2015

Watching a Toronto television reporter's televised smackdown of two soccer fans' juvenile behaviour this week, I couldn't help but wonder: How do the reputation-management folks at the Bank of Montreal feel about the free publicity they're getting?

What U of O has learned about sexual violence

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 29 January 2015

Reckless Facebook fans and camera-equipped cell phones make documenting the presence of sexual violence almost a walk in the park. Especially, it must be admitted, if the park borders a neighbourhood pub, sports centre or frat house.

High heeled shoes shouldn't be mandatory

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 27 December 2014

The two stars’ red carpet behaviour was a study in contrasts:

Hugh Jackman, resplendent in a crisp, dark suit, bounded energetically down the queue of screaming fans lining Yonge Street, clasping hands, posing for selfies and signing autographs.

Sandra Bullock, arriving for her own premiere, was equally stunning in her designer dress and killer heels. But no bounding occurred. Her precarious footwear confined her to joking with the lucky keeners who’d arrived early enough to score a prime spot close to the theatre entrance.

Why we need more women in the media

The Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 19 September 2014

You probably didn’t notice, but in newspapers and newscasts across North America recently the number of references to women went up, along with the amount of ink and air time given to exploring how they think and what influences their decisions.

Why the Whitecaps video offends many people

The Province by Shari Graydon 19 September 2014

Did you catch the footage of three young, blond-haired female fans bouncing up and down in elation at a Whitecaps soccer game? In light of the controversy it inspired, did you shake your head in consternation and wonder, “What the hang’s wrong with this?”

National glory isn’t about winning a game

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 11 July 2014

When I saw the repeated references to the shame and dishonor Brazilians felt over the defeat of their national soccer team at the feet of the Germans, I had to turn to my dictionary for help.

It’s not just women who need to dress for success

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 25 July 2014

I wouldn’t have noticed the woman’s leopard-skin bra straps if she hadn’t mentioned them. But she pointed them out in response to my advice to the room full of aspiring politicians at a campaign school. I had just acknowledged the sexist frames often used to describe high-profile women, and recommended that candidates consider avoiding displays of cleavage while on the campaign trail, in order to keep attention on their more relevant qualifications.

Parliament is still Mad Men territory for women, and that’s bad news for democracy

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 01 May 2014

At least some of the audience’s weeping was laughter-induced. But it was hard to tell how much.

Underrepresentation On A Systemic Level

The Agenda with Shari Graydon 19 March 2014

Steve Paikin ignites a firestorm with his blog post about women being underrepresented in the media. Shari Graydon makes a return appearance on The Agenda to respond and address his post.

The affirmative action plan for straight, white men

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 23 September 2013

Here’s an interesting contradiction: the business mantra “What gets measured gets done” is universally understood as an effective way to monitor many aspects of performance.

Entitled of empowered in cyberspace

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 16 August 2013

Do you feel empowered by cyberspace? How you answer the question may reveal all sorts of things about you: how you view the opportunities afforded by social media; how savvy you are about online privacy settings; and how inclined you are to use the internet’s cloak of anonymity to transmit malicious messages or post pictures of your penis.

What Kate’s baby bump tells us

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 27 July 2013

My colleague Claire recently introduced her 3-year-old daughter to her just-born twin brothers, relocated to the outside of Claire’s body only a few hours earlier. Lily regarded her mother’s tummy in confusion.

“More babies inside?” she asked.

Our anthem should include us all

The Montreal Gazette by Shari Graydon 30 June 2013

It’s like poking a hornet’s nest: Dare to suggest that the words to the English version of our national anthem should be altered to include the 50 per cent of the population they currently leave out, and you’re guaranteed to provoke an angry reaction of stinging attacks.

Telecommuting is not a right

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 7 March 2013

Give Marissa Mayer a break – not to mention a little credit for showing leadership.

It turns out sex doesn’t sell. Someone should tell the Wheat Board

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 4 February 2013

Images of farmers – male or female – are extremely rare in the news or pop culture, despite the fact that all of us depend on their labour for our survival. So last month, when the Canadian Wheat Board launched a new advertising campaign that featured an artist’s rendering of a female rancher straddling a wooden fence, the picture stood out. Unfortunately, for the wrong reasons.

Academe’s glass ceiling comes at a high cost to society

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 22 November 2012

If only men could become pregnant, Canada’s innovation gap would disappear, and we’d have access to vast reservoirs of untapped creativity and brilliance.

Telefilm Canada neglects female filmmakers

The Toronto Star by Shari Graydon 27 October 2012

I took encouragement from my failure last month to score tickets to my top two picks at the Toronto International Film Festival. Even though I stumbled out of bed to line up hours before sunrise, and was still turned away empty-handed, my fruitless quest to gain entry to the coveted screenings of both Stories We Tell and Midnight’s Children gave me heart.

With two strong women in the Alberta premier’s race, gender’s a non-starter

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 23 April 2012

When former U.S. presidential hopeful John McCain vaulted Sarah Palin from the Alaska governor’s chair to a seat potentially one heartbeat away from the Oval Office, his campaign celebrated the appointment as a “game changer.” And as a recent TV movie by that name chronicled, it did radically alter the narrative of the 2008 American election – just not in the way Republicans had hoped.

America’s rival to Laura Secord shines light on women in history

The Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun and Edmonton Journal by Shari Graydon 28 November 2011

As insults go, it’s a pretty mild one. But as Canadians gear up to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle that secured our future as an independent nation, a gauntlet has been thrown down, and the bravery of our most famous heroine has been dismissed as a mere walk in the park.

Gender inequality isn’t a “women’s issue”

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 5 July 2011

Ottawa residents scanning headlines could be forgiven for thinking they live in a post-feminist age: France’s Christine Lagarde is now managing director of the International Monetary Fund; German Chancellor Angela Merkel is deemed one of the most influential women in the world; and even Thailand has just elected its first ever female Prime Minister in Yingluck Shinawatra.

Breast implants are still a gamble

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 30 June 2011

The character Cameron Diaz plays in Bad Teacher so embodies the film’s title that viewers might conclude she deserves those breast implants she’s so intent on having. But I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s latest review of the data about their long-term health implications hasn’t changed my mind.

Making a Case for Media Engagement

Academic Matters by Shari Graydon 18 May 2011

For three years in the mid-1990s, I had the privilege of sending a weekly memo to thousands of readers of the Vancouver Sun on whatever topic most concerned me. Only a small fraction of them replied (often, it must be admitted, in language that made clear their profound disagreement with my position, syntax, or gender). And yet it was such a deeply satisfying exercise that I occasionally still seek to re-live the experience.

Women must speak up and make Canada better

The Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun by Shari Graydon 03 March 2011

I was cutting across the parking lot of St. Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal on my way to the old port the day Pope John Paul II died in 2005. A TV reporter stopped me to ask if I would comment. Of course, I declined. Fortunately for the news crew, the love of my life was happy to oblige. I walked out of the camera’s range and turned back to observe him drop his pearls of wisdom.

Matter. Of. Fact. If only government decisions were…

The Globe and Mail by Shari Graydon 13 September 2010

I depend on my mechanic to identify the source of my 12-year-old car’s ignition problem before charging me $500 for a new part and the labour required to replace it. I count on my doctor to review the research into the long-term side effects of hormone replacement therapy before advising me about whether or not my body-drenching hot flashes can be safely treated with pharmaceuticals. And I deeply appreciate that engineers responsible for building bridges and skyscrapers are required to base their calculations on proven formulas and equations.

Why ‘sons’ won’t do

The Ottawa Citizen by Shari Graydon 06 March 2010

The Vancouver Olympic games did many things. They showcased the majestic beauty of British Columbia; they inspired us with spectacular athleticism; and they repeatedly underlined the boneheaded inappropriateness of one line of our national anthem.

Project aims to close gender gap in public discourse

Victoria Times Colonist by Shari Graydon 17 January 2010

Even before my short-lived plunge into BC political waters as press secretary to premier Ujjal Dosanjh, I’d survived the kind of name-calling most people imagine being strictly reserved for terrorists or puppy mill operators.

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