Men’s Guide to Ultimate Power- Strategy #3

Here is the 3rd strategy of 50 strategies from my upcoming book. I am looking for beta readersso email me if you want to read the whole thing!  I welcome any feedback!

“Men’s Guide to Ultimate Power -50 Strategies to Hold Women Back (Or Not)”

Strategy 3. Tell women they just need more courage

A male executive once counseled me to be less direct and assertive because he found that my style offended people. When I asked if he would make the comment to me if I were a man, he admitted that he would not. Therefore, I told him that I considered his comment a compliment.” Susan Solivic,

It drives me crazy when someone says to a woman, “What’s wrong with you? Why didn’t you stand up for yourself!? Why didn’t you negotiate harder? Where is your back bone? Have you no courage?”

Have you ever noticed how often we tell women that they just need a bit more courage or confidence? Indeed Sheryl Sandberg, in her best-selling book “Lean In,” tells women over and over that they lack courage and confidence and without it, they will never be truly successful.  She also suggests many practical solutions such as raising our hands more, and negotiating harder, all of which sound awfully sensible and familiar, yet don’t feel quite right.

If you look more closely at these comments you will see that they are pure rhetoric. They are not only bad advice, but they send women off onto a path of self development, that not only does not work, but actually holds women back. Here is how this trap of “get more courage” rhetoric works.

Stage 1: First we tell women that they need more courage and must act more assertively. So women sign up for courses and read books on self-esteem and assertiveness and begin to employ strategies like speaking up more often and negotiating harder for raises.

Stage 2: As women put to use their newly found skills, they begin to feel pushback. Her colleagues no longer like her, men avoid her and she gets excluded from meetings. Women call her a bitch boss. She is told by her supervisor that she is too tough and that a more gentle approach might work.

Stage 3: She blames herself and hires a business coach to teach her the fine art of being a strong woman in power. The coach (usually a masculine woman)  shows her how to lead from behind, how to stop offending men by appearing too strong, how to be both firm and kind, and do things like, give credit to your boss for your work. And above all else, smile.

Stage 4: So the woman works day in and day out trying to master these very delicate, difficult and often self-effacing tasks.  Eventually she feels like a fraud or cameleon.  People pick up on this and call her untrustworthy. She loses self confidence and decides to lay low, below the radar of attacks. Eventually some boss sees her amazing potential and wonders why she has little courage. He tells her to get some! And the cycle continues.

It is not her lack of courage that is the problem at all. Women have lots of courage. What they don’t have is the strength to put up with continual pressure to be something they can never be. They can’t actually becaoem someone they are not.  When we reject women for who they are (such as caring, considerate and collaborative) over and over, they do one of two things. They either pretend forever and hone their acting skills or they leave.  This is the damning power of “courage rhetoric” and this message is reinforced every single time we hear someone tell us that we simply need to raise our hands more often.

If we looked more closely at research and had a better understanding of women within our cultural settings we would quickly come to the conclusion that women do not need more confidence, nor are they spineless or passive. It only looks this way to most men. Rather women are masters at relationships and assessing complex interpersonal situations. Many have high empathy, high sensitivity and are intuitive.

Many women who rise to the top actually play “the game” perfectly, otherwise they get shoved out. They state their assertions as if they were questions, not wanting to make others feel stupid. They offer their brilliant ideas as if they were just randomly contemplated to allow others to feel part of the process. They say things like, “That’s a great idea Bob” knowing they mentioned it to Bob last week.

Women have learned all their lives exactly how to behave to get things done. From the day they are born, girls learn who has the power and how to use their somewhat limited power to persuade others to listen and follow. They are not stupid. They learn very quickly what to say and when to say it. They learn early on that it is inappropriate to seek or wield power particularly in relation to boys or men.  They learn not to yell, learn not to be seen as too pushy or bossy and they never get physical. They learn how to include everyone, to like everyone, and also to put others first.

As a result most women have learned precisely when they have the power to push and when they do not. They eventually learn the exact point at which they will be perceived as too aggressive. And even more importantly, women know the high cost if they don’t get it right. If women speak too loudly they will not be invited out to lunch. If they embarrass a man in public, they will never get a promotion again. Indeed, one male author advises women that if they dare to make a man feel bad about himself she will be “deep sixed” and her career will evaporate!

Many women I know have told me of situations where they inadvertently “burned bridges” or damaged relationships with men so badly, they could never be repaired. Yet men often trash relationships with other men with apparently little impact. To men its all part of the game – you win some you lose some. To women, losing is simply too costly and must be weighed out carefully or avoided. And because so few women succeed, we have come to know that we are very lucky if we can dance this dance without being tossed off the dance floor for stepping on someone’s toes.  All of this explains why so many women do not want to take risks and do not want to raise their hands.

Indeed in my opinion many of the women who succeed in business the ones that actually have less courage or not concerned with asserting their power. Whether naively or with disinterest they stay silent, don’t rock the boat and viola- they get promoted. This may be great for them, but not usually for all the other women who spoke up and got left behind.

The bottom line. Too many people tell women that all they need is confidence to get ahead. They tell women to be assertive and raise their hands more. This advice is killing women for the following reasons.

  • It assumes that women are to blame for their lack of success and that the solution is within their individual power and very easy.
  • It suggests that women are naïve, unskilled and weak-minded. Women are so dumb that they have not learned that all they need is courage or are so weak to have not obtained some by now.
  • This advice often backfires as women get rejected for trying too hard. This results in women feeling even worse about themselves, feeling like frauds and suffering self-doubt and low self-esteem.
  • There is absolutely no research showing that women who act more confidently are actually more successful, more likely to get promoted or more happy. If confidence were such an effective strategy for women why has it not worked over the last hundred years at getting women into positions of power?

What appears to be a lack of courage in professional women are actually well-crafted behaviors. Women are masters of navigating a world where women not only have little real power, but are put in their place if they try to assume too much power. They are brilliant at navigating the land-mine filled world where men control the game.

So let’s be clear, women are not sabotaging themselves when they put themselves down or put others first. They are simply smart in assessing risk. And to tell women that there is no risk, would be foolhardy and put women in danger. Women know all too well, just how easily they can be knocked out of the game and just how hard it is to get back in.

What to do. Do not fall for the rhetoric that says women’s lack of confidence is holding them back.

  • Stop telling women that they simply need more courage to succeed.
  • Stop blaming women, stop asking women to jump off cliffs and stop putting them in jobs where only an Olympian would succeed.
  • Understand how confidence- building techniques often backfire, when women are rejected and feel even worse about themselves.
  • Honor the skill and brilliance of women as they assess risk and navigate the work and business world of hidden power-laden land mines.
  • Understand that the epidemic of lack of self-esteem can only be cured by accepting women for their true strengths and stopping the constant pressure to be something else (like tougher).
  • Give women many chances and tell them you have her back if she wants to do something risky. Don’t crucifying them for making mistakes.

If we really want women to be more confident, we need to stop rejecting them and making their lives so difficult. We need to truly accept them for who they are and stop telling them to meet impossible expectations. END

copyright Maureen F Fitzgerald PhD please copy only with permission.

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Women and men celebrate Person’s Day

In Canada October 18 is “Persons Day” or the day we celebrate women being declared persons. Here is the blurb from the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Every October, Canada celebrates Women’s History Month, with the highlight being Persons Day on October 18. The month of October was selected because of the historical significance of the “Persons Case decision of 1929, which represents a landmark victory for Canadian women.

The “Persons Case” honours the five Alberta women whose determination led to a landmark victory in the struggle of Canadian women for equality. The Famous Five achieved not only the right for women to serve in the Senate, but they and their many contributions paved the way for women to participate in other aspects of public life.  Status of Women Canada is responsible for annually administering the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case, in which five individuals and one youth are recognized for their contributions to the goal of equality for women. The ceremony is held in October on or around Persons Day (October 18).

Source: http://canadianwomen.org/node/1955

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Men’s Guide to Ultimate Power – Strategy #2

Here is the third excerpt from my upcoming book. I posted the Introduction and the first of 50 strategies over the last two weeks. I welcome your feedback!

“Men’s Guide to Ultimate Power -50 Strategies to Hold Women Back (Or Not)”

Strategy 2. Expect Women to act like Mini-men  

 

“Therefore to be a more effective communicator, you must begin opening your mind and exploring the subtleties, nuances, and preferences of a foreign culture, the male culture, as if you were preparing to do business in a foreign country.” (Susan Solovic, p 44)

There is a well known Canadian inspirational speaker whose famous advice to women launched him into fame a few years ago. The title of his talk was: “What Women do Wrong in Business.” I went to see him speak to a group of women lawyers and was shocked that he was in his early twenties. Although he had not attended college he had “years” of experience as an entrepreneur. He said he was bothered and dismayed by what he saw happening to women in business deals. They were failing badly and obviously had no idea how men conducted business. As a result women kept making huge mistakes and men were apparently running circles around us and taking full advantage!

Women stumbled in negotiations, left money on the table are were failing to secure big business contracts. He told us that men did not view us as tough enough or serious enough and we were sabotaging ourselves and other women. His solution was to convince us all to start behaving more like men. He told us to speak louder and more assertively, stop trying to be liked and be a bit more “cut-throat.”  Sadly, I watched women line up afterwards to sign up for his coaching program hoping to find out what it really takes to succeed in a man’s world. I had done this my entire life and was living proof that none of his advise really worked.

For my entire career as a lawyer, mediator and professor I was told to act more like a man. Although I was rarely told this directly, I was often pulled aside by well meaning colleagues who told me that in order to be liked and to fit in better I should do things like:

  • Try to avoid pink, yellow or “soft” colors, red was for partners only
  • Wear ‘power” suits, preferably navy or black
  • Wear buttoned up collars, never open neck blouses
  • Stop riding your bike to work
  • Don’t show any legs or cleavage
  • High heels were fine.

There are hundreds of books that tell women that they must behave more like men if they want to be truly successful. Although it might not be obvious from a title, most books for executive women try to convince them that they all need to start looking, acting and even thinking like a man. And on the surface this seems to make sense.

The bestselling book Lean In is the most recent example. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook created an entire revolution based on her best-selling book.  And although a fantastic start, the truth is that Ms Sandberg specifically chose to not talk about institutional barriers and instead decided to speak only on individual barriers. Like the many books before her, she asks women to act more like men. She does not really ask men, corporations, governments or the media (who demean and sexualize women) to change.  In her preface she says this:

“Women face real obstacles in the professional world, including blatant and subtle sexism, discrimination and sexual harassment. Too few workplaces offer the flexibility and access to child care and parental leave that are necessary for pursuing a career while raising children. Men have an easier time finding mentors and sponsors who are invaluable for career progression. Plus women have to prove themselves to a far greater extent than men do.”

But then she goes on to say:

“In addition to the external barriers erected by society, women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self- confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.… My argument is that getting rid of these internal barriers is critical to gaining power. Others have argued that the women can get to the top only when the institutional barriers are gone. This is the ultimate chicken-and-egg situation. … Both sides are right….They are equally important. I am encouraging women to address the chicken [women as individuals], but I fully support those who are focusing on the egg.” [the culture and institutions that hold women back]. (my emphasis and bracket insert)

Although I agree that both approaches are necessary, they are most definitely not of equal importance. I do not agree that women should continue to twist themselves in knots and make personal sacrifices to fit into a brutal world. I do not agree that women should exert energy to spend time on both fronts – self and institutions. However, I do know that we women feel a whole lot better when making personal change. We feel in control when we believe change is within our power. We buy self-help books and we get busy on our few minor adjustments. What we don’t realize it that it is just as easy to deal with institutional barriers if we know how. And the impact of these changes is not limited to our personal sphere, but impacts many women over a more sustained period of time.

As a read “Lean In” I was also reminded of Gail Evans, the CNN executive who wrote a book in the late 1990’s similar to Lean In. She told women to be tougher and more manly. Luckily she came to her senses and wrote a follow-up book years later (“She wins, You win”), admitting that her first book was all wrong and that women needed to address the hidden systemic barriers in order to truly succeed.

The truth is that asking women to behave more like men can actually help them – at least in the short term. Many women actually get into higher level positions. Some actually think they are being treated fairly or at least like other men. Others however suffer a deep crisis in confidence, wondering why they can’t seem to fit in. Many lose a chunk of their self-esteem and allow their feminine aspects to atrophy. Too many find it’s just too damn hard to grow a penis and leave – a whole lot poorer.

But it’s not just the women who suffer. Men too suffer from narrow-mindedness and do not have the benefit of diversity and creativity. They cannot appreciate what women bring to the table. Like Henry Higgins in the film, “My Fair Lady” they end up leading a bizarre, lop-sided life when they demand, “Why can’t women just be more like men?”

And the organizations who suffer high turnover and lose these valuable women continue to wonder what they are doing wrong. Why don’t women stay? Why can’t we recruit more women? As women leave in droves, few are left to challenge the very structures that caused them to leave in the first place.

The bottom line. We continuously tell professional women that if they want to succeed in mans’ world, they must look, think and act like men. We are essentially told to “get out of the kitchen if it’s too hot” or that we “don’t have the balls.” We promote women who look and act masculine- but only to a certain point. Eventually someone discovers that the woman is not a man, and new barriers arise. And the deeper problem is that by asking women to become men, we not only compromise women, we masculinize and sterilize workplaces and ultimately hold our entire society back through lack of necessary diversity for sustainability and survival

What to do? Stop telling women they must act more like men. Stop expecting them to wear suits and speak in loud voices. Stop telling them there is something wrong with them if they cry, show empathy or have personal relationship in business. Question our why it is that we so highly value masculine values and characteristics and de-value feminine strengths.  Pay attention to the current business trends that identify critical leadership skills such as emotional intelligence, compassion, collaboration and trust – all more feminine traits. END

[copyright MaureenFitzgerald . PLEASE use only with FULL credit or permission]

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Annie Lennox calls Beyonce feminist lite

I am glad that my favorite singer, Anne Lennox has spoken up. She says that Beyoncé is holding the word “feminist” hostage and using it to promote herself (obviously but that she does not represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism. As Annie, “sex sells” and she has an issue with Beyoncé selling sex to young girls as young as seven. Yeah for Annie! [Source National Post]

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Mens Guide to Ultimate Power – 50 Strategies to Hold Women Back (or Not)

Here is the second excerpt from my upcoming book. I posted the Introduction a week ago. This is the first of 50 strategies. I welcome your feedback!

“Men’s Guide to Ultimate Power -50 Strategies to Hold Women Back (Or Not)”

Strategy 1. Convince women there is something wrong with them   

 

 “I’m a perfectly good carrot that everyone is trying to turn into a rose. As a carrot I have good color a nice leafy top. When I am carved into a rose, I turn brown and wither.” Mary Pipher, School Girls

A few years ago I attended a talk with over 200 professional women tilted: “The Seven Deadly Career Mistakes Women Make.” It altered the course of my life. The speaker, a beautiful, tall, thirty-something executive from a large recruiting firm told us in no uncertain terms that women were seriously lagging behind. Here are a few of her statistics:

  • About 5% of all CEO’s of the top 500 North American companies are women
  • About 20% of elected political positions are held by women
  • Women receive on average 75 cents for every dollar earned by men
  • Women rarely advance as the same rate in careers as men
  • Women who raise children face hurdles returning to quality and high paying careers

The speaker told us that women have barely made headway into top positions in corporations and are rarely seen in influential or political positions. We still earn much less than men, have almost no mentors or role models and get offered fewer promotions. In other words, women lag behind men in terms of income, status and influence.

But rather than point to real causes of these problems, she blamed women. According to her, there were seven main reasons why we women were not succeeding in our careers. These included wearing the wrong clothes, not bragging enough, being too concerned about what others think and being too friendly, among other things.

Later that night I became deeply depressed and kept asking myself the same question over and over: Why are there no talks like this for men? Don’t men think they could be making some deadly mistakes as they climb the corporate ladder? Why are women so concerned about getting ahead?

A slow crushing wave of sadness crept over me as I began to imagine the hundreds, perhaps millions of unbelievably talented and successful women who think there is something terribly wrong with them. These women, like me, somehow came to believe that we are not quite good enough.  We think it is our fault for not getting ahead, our fault for not asking for bigger raises, our fault for not managing our workload and childcare responsibilities better. And because we blame ourselves completely, we take on full responsibility for engaging in our own self-improvement no matter what the obstacles.

Then I had an “ah ha” moment. What if the problem is not women? What if there is absolutely nothing wrong with women? What if instead, the problem is our thinking about women? What if the real problem is a world that cannot see women’s true value? What if women are actually doing things correctly, but their bosses, their friends, their husbands are telling them that they are all wrong?  What if we stopped asking women to improve themselves and instead asked men and all our systems and institutions that reject women, to change.  What if we embraced women and all their strengths? Imagine that! Crazy talk, I know.

Most women think that they are entirely responsible for their slow success and advancement.   We attend courses and read books on self-esteem think we come to believe that we just need a few more tips and strategies on being tougher and more ambitious. These beliefs are turning women into workaholics and also this continuous cycle of self-blame, self improvement and failure makes women feel like we are going crazy.

We women have no idea how universal their difficulties are. But they are not due to a genetic malformation or female-gene. Women are not born incompetent, weak, or stupid and yet we as a society tell them day-in and day-out that they are not quite good enough. Women are not good enough to be CEO’s or heads of countries, not good enough to be parents and professionals at the same time and not good enough to get paid for child-care or domestic work.

We not only tell women directly and indirectly that they are not as good as men, particularly in leadership roles, but are actually intended to assist and support males in their comfort and pleasure. We refuse to pay women for much of the work they do (such as childcare) and through the institution of marriage cause them to become financially dependent on their husbands.

Girls and women world-wide are being held back, because we have created a world that still sees them as second-class citizens. We then treat them unfairly, normalize this treatment and then hide evidence in propaganda so it’s almost impossible to see, yet alone question. And to add insult to injury, we convince everyone that it’s a “women’s problem,” it’s their own entire fault and that they must change as individuals if they want things to change.

The bottom line. The brutal fact is that millions of women today are unhappy, stressed, depressed and have almost no time, energy or power to change things. This is primarily because they are overworked, underpaid, undervalued and have limited meaningful choices. They are absent in high levels of corporations and politics so unable to change the very things that hold them back. They blame themselves when they get squeezed out of high paying jobs and think they are selfish to demand the supports that would allow them to excel and free them from some of the drudgery work and financial dependence on spouses. And to add insult to injury, we tell women that it’s not only their fault but also that there is something drastically wrong with them and they need to change!.

What to do.  First we must stop telling women that there is something wrong with them. We must admit that since all women are impacted it is a society-wide problem – not a women’s problem. We must turn the tide and begin telling women that they are perfect just as they are. Instead of telling women to make better choices or find balance we need to look instead at the barriers that keep women down and out – from absurd societal pressures and expectations to corporate practices. In other words, we must stop telling women to “lean in” and start asking everyone (men and women) to “lean out” against the beliefs, systems and institutions that hold women and our whole society back. END

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Rachel Rose is our new poet laureate

I am so delighted that parent and friend Rachel Rose is the new Vancouver poet laureate! I will look forward to three years of  poetry inspired by food…and other beautiful things! Congratulations Rachel!

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The International Womens Media Foundation website attacked

This just announced: The website of the International Women’s Media Foundation suffered a complex brute-force attack Sept 5, the organization said in a press statement Sept. 12. The website, which features the work of the IWMF and promotes the empowerment of female journalists worldwide, was defaced and most of its original content destroyed. The severity of the breach, as well as the hacker’s advanced methods and systematic approach, suggest that the incident was a targeted attack against the IWMF and its mission to strengthen the role of women in the media, the statement said. [Source eWomen's news] 

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A man’s guide to ultimate power – my upcoming book

Here is my first excerpt from my upcoming book.

As you know I am writing a few ebooks so have decided to blog some of the content because it’s just so interesting! I would love your feedback!

 eBooklet 1: A Man’s Guide To (Ultimate) Power – How to Keep Women Out (Or Not)

 Introduction

“All truth passes through three stages. first it is ridiculed. second it is violently opposed and third it is accepted as being self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer.

Have you ever wondered who so many men are in the highest positions of power?

Why do they fill the top and best paid jobs in corporations and governments? Why are they 80% of the CEOs in the largest North American companies? And on the flip side, why are so many college educated women working in their homes for no pay or benefits and doing the bulk of child rearing and the thankless work of household cleaning? Why are so many women divorced and poorer for it? Don’t you wonder, after all this time, after the women’s liberation movement and the feminist movement why women just cannot seem to break through the glass ceiling or get out of the kitchen?

Most people readily admit that women today face many barriers including sexism and discrimination – but that that these barriers are slowly disappearing. Others will tell you that it’s just a matter of time until women graduates reach the numbers necessary to tip the scales inside companies. Others are convinced that women just need to be tougher, work a bit harder and be more willing to make sacrifices to truly excel.

Although all of these explanations are partly true, they actually mask the real reasons why women are still struggling to gain power and freedom. As a rule we label the empowerment of women as a womens’ issue and by doing so we focus narrowly on helping women as individuals and engage only women in the conversation.  This in turn causes us to remain blind to the critical fact that our whole culture holds women back. We are all inadvertently holding women back. We just don’t see it because it is accepted as “the way things are” and supported in millions of tiny ways such as though media, corporate practices and institutions.

This book shatters our out-dated thinking about why women fall behind and why so many men jump ahead – at work, at home and in politics. Fitzgerald directs our attention to the deeply rooted systemic barriers women face – that are almost completely invisible. In order to truly free women we need to look at the entire forest, not just 50% of the trees.

As a radically fresh, intelligent and often humorous approach, Fitzgerald urges us to stop telling women (and men) to change and instead aim at the many beliefs, habits and practices that we have inadvertently inherited, along with our out-dated and often absurd assumptions about men and women. By shifting our focus to the real culprit, we can each individually peel back the barriers that hold women back, but equally important, we can help men and women reconnect as true partners at work and in life.

Here are the chapters:

  1. Convince women there is something wrong with them
  2. Expect women to act like mini-men
  3. Tell women they just need more courage
  4. Burden women with completely absurd expectations
  5. Place women on a tightrope of double binds
  6. Squeeze women into outdated stereotypes
  7. Discourage women from seeking power
  8. Convince women they don’t want or need power
  9. Do not value feminine strengths
  10. Keep women busy with self help

Over the next few weeks I will be posting each of these chapters in this blog. I hope to get your feedback! Cheers, Maureen

 

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Get mad and support teachers for these 5 reasons

IF YOU ARE NOT MAD AT CHRISTY CLARK and the GOVERNMENT, THEN YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION!

Here are the facts (according to me) you need to know about the BC teachers strike (although given the media blackout it’s hard to tell exactly what is going on).

Fact 1.  In 2002 when Christy Clark was education minister, Gordon Campbell’s liberals passed Bills 27 and 28 which took way the teachers right to bargain on class size and composition. The BCTF hired lawyers and won their case after years in the courts. In 2011 the BC Supreme Court declared the bills illegal and unconstitutional.

Fact 2. In 2012 the government introduced Bill 22 effectively restoring what the BC Supreme Court had rejected. Again the BCTF took the government to court and won.  In January 2014 the court again ruled that the Bill was illegal. Justice Griffin (clearly shocked at the government’s behaviour) also ordered the government to pay $2 million for “bargaining in bad faith” and putting so much pressure on the union that they were forced to strike!

Fact 3. In her decision, Justice Griffin retroactively restored the old (2002) provisions of the collective agreement and in doing so made the government liable for about a billion dollars for that multi-year violation of the teacher’s rights. Due to its “inability to pay” the BC government is appealing the decision and the appeal decision is due in October or soon after. Apparently only the dollar amount is being disputed, not the facts.

Fact 4. The Liberal government is apparently now playing hard ball with the teachers. It seems clear that the government has both the money and time to out-pressure the teachers. However it does not want to legislate the teachers back or they will be stuck with the 2002 contract wording. If they can get anything less than what Justice Griffin ordered then they effectively win. And they avoid losing three times in the court.

Fact 5: The Liberal government has recently spent our taxpayer money on two ways to promote themselves.  First they are paying all BC parents (in K-7) $40 a day during the strike. This is seen by most teachers and parents as bribery and raised the concern by policy experts that the Liberals are trying to dismantle public education and promote privatization (did I mention that Christy Clarks’s son goes to a private boys school?) Second they have hired social media people and paid for advertising to promote their (somewhat one-sided) perspective.  This is seen by most a grossly unfair during bargaining.

Rumour has it that the government has a hidden strategy (no big surprise) to stall for as long as they can (to break the union) and is willing to stall until September 23 (a day before my birthday!) or just before the appeal decision comes out.

Here are the questions you should be asking:

  1. Do you think the teachers should give up the legal rights the courts gave them on class size and composition? (no)
  2. Do you think a government that has been in gross violation of the Constitution on two occasions – by the courts – should be trusted to offer teachers something fair? (no)
  3. Do you think our system of collective bargaining works? (no)

Its time to stand behind teachers. This is an historic moment.

Parents please do this: for each day until the strike is over:

1. Go to your child’s school from 9-915 am (with your child if possible) and tell the teachers they are doing the right thing.

2. Wear pink everyday (the colour of anti- bulling)

3. Carry signs saying “enough is enough” or other wise words, take a selfie and post it on Facebook and Twitter.

Refuse to fall for the rhetoric!

(PS Has anyone seen Christy Clark? I think she is missing in action)

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Parents join me for a 15 minute revolution on Tuesday

The BC teachers are still on strike.Please show up at your school at 9am to 915 on Tuesday with your kids and tell the government to bargain fairly!

I have followed the debates and now am convinced that the Liberal government did not really want to solve the strike at all. Although the issue seems to be the Supreme Court decisions that declared the BC Laws that restricted bargaining on class size and composition to be unconstitutional (and a past lawyer, I can tell you that by taking out these rights, you are gutting teachers’ power) this this is not the REAL issue. The issue is our whole system of labour negotiation where the parties bully each other to death. And the most powerful one wins (usually the government, duh!). And in doing so they destroy all the relationships of parents, students, teachers, principals unions, politicians and governments. If the Liberal government really wants to improve or dismantle the whole  K-12 public education system, do it transparently. Not by paying parents $40 bucks and  not by one thousand knife cuts. This is a disgusting abuse of labour law, played out in its truest form! I urge sensible and heart-based lawyers to create a better system that honours not just the two fighting parties but all the impacted people (like all of us!) over the long term. See you on Tuesday for the first step!

 

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