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12.03.2015
Not even one headline calling out an "attack on feminists" or "assault on women or equal rights," remembers award-winning journalist Francine Pelletier as she speaks about the 1989 Montreal Massacre.
Pelletier says Polytechnique was a milestone -- never before had women been singled out and mass murdered.
An investigative journalist, feminist and filmmaker, Pelletier says there is still a lot of bad news for women since Polytechnique, but there is also some good news: feminism is making a comeback. Media coverage of the massacre on December 6, 1989, especially in Quebec, initially focused on the "crazed gunman" because people "needed to believe it had nothing to do with women." The idea that women could be singled out in what Pelletier calls an act of terrorism was unfathomable! In fact, feminism had become an "f" word as common wisdom dictated that women's equality would just take care of itself.
Pelletier says the recent Jian Ghomeshi scandal is a perfect illustration of what women are up against. For example, take the experience of Lucy DeCoutere who came forward to say that things just went from "smooching to smacking" when she was with Ghomeshi. Turning to the second major obstacle to gender equality, Pelletier says feminism had a role to play in hypersexualization. It seems like the proverbial cat is out of the bag and the road to gender equality is in sight although: "We're not there yet, much more needs to be done and hell yes, we're willing to go the extra mile," says Pelletier. Elvira Truglia is a Montreal writer and works in communications, public engagement and community development.


Miss Bella is a big supporter of The Thirst Project which helps with the problem of dirty and unsafe drinking water for 780 million people in the world!
This March, and on World Water Day, The Thirst Project and Bella Thorne are telling the world’s biggest Dirty Little Secret! Then, on Saturday March 22nd, World Water Day, we’re all going TOTALLY silent to stand in solidarity with the 780-Million people whose voices go unheard every day.
At the Concordia University annual journalism lecture on March 27, guest speaker Pelletier reminds the audience that shooter Marc Lepine actually told men to get out of the way as he shot and killed 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique, while screaming that he hates feminists. It took 25 years to agree collectively -- police department included -- that what happened in Montreal was a crime against the advancement of women. Consider the fact that women work disproportionately in 'female' jobs in services, health, education and administration areas.
According to Pelletier, women have faced two major obstacles in the last 25 years: violence against women and hypersexualization.
This intimidation creates fear that feeds into women's lack of confidence or what she calls the "inner jello" that holds women back.
The women's liberation movement has been co-opted by the advertising industry, which portrays hypersexualized images of women as empowerment. Her background spans national and international civil society organizations, arts and culture organizations and media outlets.


Pelletier talks about the 1990s as the age of individualism and quips that people were too busy working out at the gym than to think about social movements. There is still a steep climb when it comes to women in decision-making roles in government, media, business, science, technology, engineering and math, and other areas that shape society. The high profile Ghomeshi scandal may be just what it takes for women to speak out and to be heard.
Pelletier gave kudos to Sue Montgomery, former Montreal Gazette reporter who co-created the hashtag. The themes of voice, social change and empowerment are the threads weaving her diverse experiences together. I'm a stay-at-home mom that enjoys cooking, crafting and cheering on my favorite hockey, football, baseball and basketball teams! Montgomery was in the room waiting for her turn up on stage to moderate a conversation with Pelletier.



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