In the White House, when female staffers want to share a thought, other women will repeat the idea and credit the original speaker. They do this to make an idea harder to ignore or steal. The women call it "amplification."
Here at The Globe, we were inspired by this simple and powerful action, the act of "amplification."
I'm Shannon Busta and as a member of The Globe's audience team and one of the creators of this newsletter, I want to welcome you to Amplify, designed to support, inspire and challenge women of all ages, backgrounds and experiences.
Women's voices aren't heard often enough or loudly enough in media. We want to change this norm. We've talked to you – using interviews, focus groups and surveys – to better understand how Canadian women feel about their representation in the media.
From this came Amplify. Each newsletter, arriving in your inbox Saturday mornings, will be brought to you by a female Globe guest editor. Each editor will delve into a different topic, from climate change to women in STEM to sexual harassment in the workplace, helping to explain, analyze and draw attention to subjects that matter to Canadian women.
We'll also be profiling a different woman each week. This may be someone you've never heard of, but who, in her own way – whether she's a business woman, a single mom, a cancer survivor or a leader in her community – is making an impact in her corner of the world.
We want this newsletter to encourage you to join the conversation. We hope that in the ideas, perspectives and opinions we highlight each week, you will find voices that move you, perhaps enough to pass on this newsletter and take part in the amplification.
Now, on to our first edition of Amplify.
This week I've been reading about the most recent round of census data. The latest numbers cover everything from the gender pay gap to how educated Canadians are to how our national labour market is changing.
The census results tell us that more Canadians in their prime working years are relying on part-time work to get by. Less than half (49.8 per cent) of Canadians between the ages of 25 and 54 now hold full-year, full-time work.
"The shift to part-time and part-year work carries implications for everything from household finances to retirement savings, consumer spending and tax returns," write The Globe's Tavia Grant and Kelly Cryderman.
My partner makes his living as a freelance writer, and while his work has stabilized in recent years, I understand firsthand the financial, emotional and physical strain precarious employment can have on an individual and their family. I also see the benefits: more flexibility, more freedom and more time for other parts of life.
We've written about the reality of a workforce made up of part-timers and casual workers. Economist and author Linda Nazareth explored the repercussions in a recent column. "The gig economy is happening, so the policies that made sense during the Great Depression may not be a fit for the realities of the 21st century," she writes. And the results of the census appear to back up this idea. It's time for our social support systems to protect the increasing number of Canadians who rely on work that isn't full-year and full-time. And, in fact, we know from a Statistics Canada labour force survey that about 75 per cent of part-time workers were women in 2015. Financial stresses are a big part of what our government needs to look at, but as the Financial Times reports, the mental and physical health of workers shouldn't be overlooked either.
Organizations and legislators around the world are starting to consider how governments might adapt to better serve workers of the gig economy. One group in New York is fighting for the development of "micro benefits" for people who make a living through "micro-employment."
And then there's everyone's favourite topic: the gender pay gap. Women, aged 25 to 64, with a bachelor's degree or college diploma who worked full-time and full-year earned less than men in every province and territory in 2015. The median annual earnings of women with a bachelor's degree was $68,342, compared with $82,082 for men. The numbers aren't pretty, but we are starting to see the beginnings of change, reports The Globe's Simona Chiose. For example, Salesforce, a North American cloud-computing company, raised salaries for 11 per cent of its employees after reviewing gender and racial pay differences. They didn't let the price tag, a hefty $6-million, stop them.
On the positive side, Canadians are among the most educated in the world with 54 per cent of Canadians aged 25 to 64 holding a college or university degree. And more of us are choosing to ride our bikes to work, which, as a regular bike-commuter, I think is great news.
What else we're reading:
A recent article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has put a spotlight on the world's past use of nuclear weapons. Writer Mark Willacy introduces readers to Enewetak, a low-lying atoll in the Pacific that is home to a disintegrating cement dome leaking nuclear waste into the ocean. In the 70s, the atoll was the site of the largest nuclear cleanup in U.S. history. The vault is now leaking toxic waste into the rising Pacific. As Mark writes, "the dome is the connection between the nuclear age and the climate change age." Considering North Korea is testing ballistic missiles – which can reportedly hit the U.S. mainland – this is a critical read.
Seven years ago, Gail Christmas couldn't see a way out. The 23-year-old had become addicted to cocaine, was drinking too much and was unemployed. But then, one day that summer, something within her snapped. "Our first summer games in Membertou were happening," Gail said in a recent phone interview from the Membertou First Nation community near Sydney, N.S. "I was very sick with drugs and alcohol. I remember someone saying, 'Gail is too washed up. She can't pitch at baseball.' There were probably people who said I would never do anything with my life. That I would just be another statistic. I didn't want to be a statistic."
That's when Gail began her road to recovery. A key part of that process was adding structure to her life. She started getting up early, eating a healthy breakfast and going to the gym. She attended regular recovery meetings and distanced herself from people and places that might tempt her. "The biggest thing I did was getting rid of my cellphone," she said with a laugh. This put her out of reach of old friends and drug dealers. She didn't allow herself a phone again until she had been clean for more than seven months.
As she recovered, Gail found another new purpose in helping care for her grandmother, Ruth Christmas, a former addictions counsellor, who was sick. "She was helping me and I was helping her. She taught me how to cook. She taught me a lot of life lessons."
Gail, clean and healthy, played in the Membertou summer games in 2011. She remembers hitting home runs in more than one baseball game.
Now, she tries to lead by example in her community. She spends much of her time with her young nieces and nephews, taking them camping and having them sleep over.
In 2016, Gail ran for a seat on Membertou's Band Council. Her campaign slogan was "Never give up on your dreams." She was the youngest woman to ever be elected in her community.