Posts Tagged "women"


‘I’ll be silently judged’: Why millennial women ‘age up’ to be taken seriously at work – National

by BBG Hub

When Lauren gets ready for work, she thoughtfully picks out every item to wear.

The 27-year-old, who asked Global News to only use her first name, has a public-facing role at an Ottawa-based nonprofit. She’s expected to present herself professionally, she says, and wears either a blazer, dress or skirt everyday.

“I do this especially because I look young for my age and am often mistaken for being in my early 20s or even late teens,” she said.

“Meanwhile, my 40-year-old male boss comes to work every day in a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers (or cargo shorts and sandals in the summertime) and no one bats an eye. His ‘professional’ look when doing presentations is simply throwing a blazer on top.”

Love and work: The ins and outs of dating a co-worker

For some millennial women, or women who look even younger than their actual age, dressing for work can be a process. Many workers want to look put-together, approachable yet authoritative, and avoid wearing anything too revealing.

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Dressing professionally for some even comes down to hair. There have been stories of Black people not being hired because of it.

To combat this, some women try to “age up” through their wardrobe choices in an effort to be taken seriously, by wearing glasses, hiding tattoos and applying make-up.

For Lauren, sporting nice shoes and wearing glasses helps.

“I don’t feel I’d be taken as seriously otherwise,” she said.

“People see figures of authority as old, male, and white. I am only one of those things, so for a lack of a better term, I feel I really have to look like I have my sh*t together to be heard.”

Communicating through clothing

When women enter male-dominated workplaces, there is often a norm around how things get done and how people behave, says Tanya van Biesen, the executive director of women’s workplace organization Catalyst Canada.

Different work environments have different standards of dressing.

Would a career change really make you happier?

Would a career change really make you happier?

In office environments, dressing norms often include wearing things like blazers, dress shirts and suits — items associated with masculinity and power. To fit in, women may conform to this style of dressing to be taken “seriously,” van Biesen said.

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“You could also argue that men have been forced inside a box to dress in a certain way, and that women have been granted more latitude in terms of what they can wear to to work,” she added.

In more casual or laid-back workplaces, it may be perfectly OK to dress in jeans and T-shirts. What you wear, however, signals whether or not you “belong” in certain spaces, writer Erika Thorkelson explained in an essay for the Walrus.

“We are told that if we internalize the right dress codes, we can overcome whatever systemic obstacles lie before us,” Thorkelson wrote.

“Endless blogs and magazine articles attempt to teach us how to dress for success.”

Dress affects all young people — not just women

The pressure to “dress for success,” though, is not just an issue millennial women face, van Biesen says. It’s one faced by all young workers.

Layer on intersections of gender, race and ethnicity, and certain groups can face more pressure to dress “appropriately” than others, she adds.

Vast majority of workers with mental health issues keep it secret from their boss: study

“We talk a lot about ‘bringing your whole self to work,’ but I do still think at least in North American culture… we police each other into these pretty narrow bands into what is ‘acceptable dress,’” she said.

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“And that policing is caused by ‘the normative group,’ but that normative policing happens by both men and women.”

In Lauren’s office, she says women employees face extra pressure to not only dress a certain way, but perform professionally while maintaining a “positive attitude.”

“If I want to get ahead in this world where workplaces are designed for men, I don’t have the luxury of showing up in a T-shirt and jeans,” she said.

Navigating social media and the workplace

Navigating social media and the workplace

While she believes she would still feel compelled to dress professionally if she were a young man, she believes her youthful appearance and gender identity compound this pressure.

“I think for men, it’s seen as ‘bonus points’ to dress professionally, whereas for women it’s sort of an expectation,” she explained.

“Dress fashionably and flatteringly, but don’t be too sexy. Wear make-up, but not too much. If I don’t hit the nail right on the head, I’ll be silently judged and dismissed.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Why do women still feel guilty? – National

by BBG Hub

Michelle Bilodeau wasn’t even sure she wanted to have kids, but after meeting her now-husband, she realized she was open to trying.

“I started seeing myself as a mother, likely because I had found a person who I could see myself going through parenthood with,” Bilodeau, 40, told Global News.

When the Toronto resident discovered she was pregnant in October 2015 — a little more than a year after the couple had gotten married — she was both nervous and excited.

READ MORE: Women share experiences for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Days after she found out, Bilodeau had to take a five-day work trip to British Columbia. She returned home with some back pain but brushed it off as a symptom of flying for several hours.

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She woke up the next morning and spot bleeding. She looked it up online and found some spotting is relatively normal during the early stages of pregnancy — she tried not to worry. But by the time she got into work, there was a lot more blood.

Bilodeau went to see her doctor, who confirmed the grim news: she was having a miscarriage.

What is a molar pregnancy?

What is a molar pregnancy?

She had only been pregnant for around six weeks and had only known about it for a few days, but it was still extremely traumatizing.

“It was really early, obviously, but you get really attached to the idea,” Bilodeau said. After returning home from the doctor’s office, she stayed in bed for 24 hours straight.

“It really was pretty devastating.”

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But Bilodeau returned to work the next day in an effort to “push away” her negative feelings about it.

“I didn’t want to reflect too hard on what had happened,” she said.

She worried that she had done something — perhaps the travel, the work, drinking alcohol before she knew she was pregnant — to trigger the miscarriage.

READ MORE: Using ibuprofen, other common painkillers around time of conception linked to miscarriage risk — study

“I also thought that because I didn’t really know if I had wanted a child, that maybe I’d willed it in some way,” she said.

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“Even after talking to my GP, who said that miscarriages are generally biological and not caused by one particular thing, I still felt like I maybe contributed to it.”

Meghan Markle opens up about the stress of being in the spotlight as a new mom

Meghan Markle opens up about the stress of being in the spotlight as a new mom

Roughly 15 to 20 per cent of Canadian pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC).

And like Bilodeau, most women who experience pregnancy loss have feelings of grief, guilt and remorse.

A 2013 study found that after a miscarriage, 30 to 50 per cent of women experience anxiety and 10 to 15 per cent experience depression, typically lasting up to four months.

READ MORE: Mother who had multiple miscarriages reflects on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

In her work, Dr. Kim Garbedian, a doctor at the Hannam Fertility Centre in Toronto, has seen how miscarriages can affect a person. She’s constantly trying to evolve the way victims of pregnancy loss are cared for, both physically and mentally.

“The important thing for patients to realize is there’s two parts to healing from the miscarriage,” she said.

“The bleeding is gone and the cramping is gone, but the emotional symptoms are still there — and that’s OK.”

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In her work, Garbedian encourages patients to “take a step back after and focus a little bit more on themselves.” Since everyone is different, healing will look different for everyone.

“Some patients want to dive right back into work because that’s how they cope best, but other people actually need a week off to just take a minute,” she said.

“I think both strategies are OK, and that’s our job — to help the patients figure out what’s best for them.”

Stigma can make the experience even more isolating

There’s a stigma around miscarriages and other forms of pregnancy loss, and it can further damage people who have lost pregnancies. Bilodeau experienced this first-hand.

After her miscarriage, Bilodeau was ashamed and racked with guilt. At first, she only told her boss and two of her closest friends, but that was it.

READ MORE: Why women shouldn’t feel pressured to wait to announce their pregnancy

“A few months before I miscarried, I had met up with a work colleague for coffee and she told me about having a miscarriage, and we discussed how women didn’t talk about miscarriages,” she said. “We thought that it was an awful thing for women to go through in silence.

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“Because miscarriages are generally hidden from society, I feel like it was hard for me to open up.

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“Once I was a few months away from it, I remembered that conversation with my colleague and I knew that telling my story could potentially help other women so I became much more vocal about it.”

Bilodeau started going to therapy earlier this year, and it’s something she discusses with her therapist as well.

For Garbedian, talking about pregnancy loss and educating people is the first step to ending the stigma.

The different kinds of pregnancy loss

According to the SOGC, there are two main types of pregnancy loss: miscarriage and stillbirth.

Most miscarriages happen in the first eight weeks, while stillbirths typically happen after 20 weeks of gestational age.

“The most common reason for a first-trimester miscarriage (before 13 weeks) would be abnormal chromosomes,” said Garbedian. “Probably about 70 per cent of all early pregnancy loss is due to abnormal chromosomes — meaning that the parents both have completely normal genetics, but either the wrong sperm or egg is chosen.”

Why pregnant women should get the flu and whooping cough vaccine

Why pregnant women should get the flu and whooping cough vaccine

She says that while pregnancy loss is still devastating, abnormal chromosomes is the “answer we want” because “it means, most likely, everything else is OK and it was just a spontaneous event.”

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“That really is the bulk of abnormal pregnancies in the first trimester,” she said. The risk of miscarriage increases in women older than 40.

Miscarriage in the second trimester (after 13 weeks) would require more investigation and testing, said Garbedian.

READ MORE: TV anchor’s abnormal pregnancy causes cancer — ‘Unfortunate, dumb luck’

A stillbirth is typically more traumatizing because it happens “after the patient has known they’re pregnant for several weeks,” Garbedian said.

“They’ve usually had ultrasounds [and] usually an anatomy scan so they’ve actually seen the baby … and the heartbeat.”

After about five months of pregnancy, a loss can be extremely difficult to process.

“That’s quite a bit down the road … [they’re] very emotional experiences.” 

Getting pregnant again

It took Bilodeau awhile before she was ready to try to get pregnant again.

According to Garbedian, being nervous or scared is completely normal. The most important thing is that a person’s doctor is doing everything they can to reassure them that it’s OK to try again.

“Reassure them that it’s normal and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with their uterus or … their eggs or their sperm,” she said.

Things you may not know about your baby bump and pregnancy

Things you may not know about your baby bump and pregnancy

Being able to say “we did all the tests to rule out anything that could reoccur in other pregnancies” is Garbedian’s goal in her work.

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“The important part … for us is to always treat patients as individuals. Some people need no reassurance whatsoever and they’re really quickly ready to go into another pregnancy, and other patients actually just need to take a break,” she said. “I think both are OK.”

It took Bilodeau about five months to be ready to try again, and when she did, she got pregnant almost immediately. She and her husband were really excited, but she was also more nervous because of what happened the first time.

READ MORE: Baby bumps aren’t all the same size — here’s why

“My miscarriage definitely influenced my pregnancy. I was very nervous the entire time,” she said. “Anytime there was like a cramp or a little pain or something, I would worry that there was something wrong.”

As she was dealing with this unique mix of emotions, people around Bilodeau began to call her second pregnancy a “rainbow baby.”

The term was coined to describe the baby you have after a pregnancy loss, and it’s supposed to symbolize feelings of hope and renewal — but for Bilodeau, it didn’t sit right.

One-third of pregnant women think cannabis is okay to use during pregnancy, review says

One-third of pregnant women think cannabis is okay to use during pregnancy, review says

“It kind of trivialized things for me,” she said. “I’ve never referred to my daughter as a rainbow baby.”

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However, she understands how it could help other women be more open and honest with their experience.

I know it’s a way for women to talk about miscarriage because … it’s so hard for women to talk about,” she said. “But I think women should be open enough to say they had a miscarriage and call it what it is — which is a miscarriage.

“We should be allowed to talk about it. We should talk about it, especially with each other, because it happens so frequently.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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More pregnant women are using cannabis despite its dangers: study – National

by BBG Hub

More pregnant women are using cannabis, research shows, despite warnings of its danger from health officials.

According to a recent U.S. study, the number of women who use cannabis while expecting has increased, and the number of women who use cannabis in the year before pregnancy has nearly doubled.

Researchers surveyed 276,991 expectant mothers in northern California and found the number of women who said they used cannabis in the year before their pregnancy grew from 6.8 per cent in 2009 to 12.5 per cent in 2017.

READ MORE: More Ontario women using cannabis while pregnant despite warnings

While the number of women who reported using the drug while pregnant was smaller, it still increased from 1.9 per cent to 3.4 per cent during the same time.

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Among the women who reported using the drug while expecting, daily cannabis use increased from 15 per cent in 2009 to 21 per cent in 2017.

The findings, published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, suggest that increased acceptance of cannabis use and a lack of awareness around fetal harm are factors in the uptick.

The researchers point out that evidence suggests heavier cannabis use might be “associated with worse neonatal health outcomes.”

“Despite this risk, however, U.S. data suggest that 71 per cent of pregnant women who used cannabis in the past year perceive no or slight risk in using cannabis once or twice a week,” the researchers wrote.

One year of legal cannabis

One year of legal cannabis

Another study by the U.S.’s National Institute on Drug Abuse yielded similar results.

Data collected from 467,100 pregnant women across the U.S. showed past-month cannabis use, daily cannabis use, and occurrence of cannabis use had all increased over the last 15 years.

Between 2002 to 2003 and 2016 to 2017, past-month cannabis use increased from 3.4 per cent to seven per cent among pregnant women overall.

During their first trimester, 12 per cent of women reported using the drug as of 2017, up from just under six per cent in 2003.

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What are the risks of using cannabis while pregnant?

The FDA recently released a warning about women using cannabis while expecting or breastfeeding, saying that “marijuana use during pregnancy may affect fetal brain development.”

If a woman uses the drug while pregnant, THC — a cannabinoid found in cannabis — can enter the fetal brain from the mother’s bloodstream, the FDA says.

READ MORE: Cannabis during pregnancy linked to higher risk of pre-term birth

The government agency also said if a mother uses cannabis while breastfeeding, it can remain in breast milk. This exposure can affect a newborn’s brain development and “result in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and other long-term consequences.”

The U.S.’s National Institutes of Health also raised concern around expectant moms and cannabis.

“Cannabis use during pregnancy has been associated with effects on fetal growth, including low birth weight and length, and these outcomes may be more likely among women who consume marijuana frequently during pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimesters,” the NIH wrote.

A recent study out of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute found that cannabis use in pregnancy was associated with “significant increases in the rate of preterm birth.”

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Why are women using cannabis while pregnant?

Canadian researchers say more women are using cannabis during pregnancy because they are not informed of its risks.

Study shows students driving after consuming cannabis

Study shows students driving after consuming cannabis

Research out of the University of British Columbia found that around one-third of pregnant women think it’s safe to use cannabis while expecting and are unaware of potential health risks to their child.

The findings, published earlier this year in the journal Preventive Medicine, looked at data from six U.S. studies and found that “more women seem to be using cannabis during pregnancy than ever before, even though evidence of its safety is limited and conflicting.”

The UBC researchers found that one of the main reasons women may think cannabis is safe is because there’s not enough communication between patients and doctors when it comes to the drug.

READ MORE: Study finds ‘scarce evidence’ to support cannabis as a treatment for mental health disorders

“We know that from other types of research that when there’s no communication and there is lots of uncertainty in literature — which is true for cannabis use — then it is very important that health-care providers … educate [patients] about risk,” Hamideh Bayrampour, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at UBC’s Department of Family Practice, previously told Global News.

“When there’s no communication, women may feel like [cannabis use] is not significant or important.”

Bayrampour added that her findings also indicate that many women don’t consider cannabis to be a drug, or that it’s a harmful one.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Episiotomies are on the decline, but for some women it can prevent further tearing: study – National

by BBG Hub

Episiotomies may be on the decline in Canada overall, but new research suggests these surgical cuts could protect a mother from being injured during childbirth.

According to a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal published on Monday, episiotomies reduced the risk of getting an injury by 42 per cent when doctors used vacuums or obstetrical forceps. These instruments are used during childbirth to grab the baby’s head.

An episiotomy is an incision that is performed in the perineum, the area between the vaginal opening and the anus, the Mayo Clinic noted. The incision is often made when doctors see the baby’s head.

READ MORE: Canadian mothers increasingly giving birth through c-section

The clinic added for years, the surgery was meant to prevent further vaginal tears during birth, and it is also believed these incisions heal better than natural tears. “The procedure was also thought to help preserve the muscular and connective tissue support of the pelvic floor.”

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The clinic noted, however, other research suggests episiotomies may not prevent problems after all.

The site added doctors can perform the surgery, depending on the position of the baby.

Fitness trend sees expectant mothers dancing during labour

Fitness trend sees expectant mothers dancing during labour

For example, if the baby’s shoulder is stuck in your pelvic bone or your child has an abnormal heart rate, an episiotomy could help.

“Your health-care provider might recommend an episiotomy if your baby needs to be quickly delivered,” the site noted.

Breaking down the study

The study, which looked at 2.5 million childbirths in Canada over 13 years, found an increase in anal sphincter injuries when vacuums or obstetrical forceps were used.

“Our results show the pronounced decrease in the episiotomy rate among operative vaginal deliveries, suggesting that the recommendation to move away from routine episiotomy among spontaneous vaginal deliveries has been overgeneralized to apply to all vaginal deliveries, including operative vaginal delivery, where there may be a benefit,” Giulia Muraca, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia and study author, said in a statement. 

However, this doesn’t mean this should be a “blanket practice,” Muraca said.

READ MORE: Mom shares powerful message for anyone who thinks C-sections are ‘easy’

“Generalizing the episiotomy guidelines for spontaneous vaginal delivery to women with operative vaginal delivery can cause harm, particularly in women delivering their first child and in women having a vaginal birth after caesarean.”

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The research

Authors added the risk of “severe tearing” was the highest among deliveries using forceps and vacuum — with about 18 per cent of assisted deliveries resulting in injuries in 2017.

Episiotomies were performed for 43.2 per cent of assisted births in 2017, down from 53.1 per cent in 2004. For unassisted births, rates fell to 6.5 per cent in 2017 from 13.5 per cent in 2004.

READ MORE: C-sections — 5 things women need to know

Injuries increased 15 per cent in Canada — but researchers say that could be due to improved detection and reporting, as well as the increasing number of mothers giving birth for the first time.

— with files from the Canadian Press 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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What women care most about in this election, and how the parties stack up – National

by BBG Hub

While “women’s issues” should be everybody’s issues, experts say, there are certain matters that disproportionately affect women.

From a lack of affordable child care to higher rates of gender-based violence, the upcoming federal election highlights some of these problems — and the demand for policy-based solutions.

“Being a woman is not a universal experience,” says Amanda Kingsley Malo, the founder of PoliticsNOW, an organization that works to get women elected in Ontario municipal elections.

“But a lot of the things that concern women when they’re voting don’t always come up on the campaign trail.”

Here are some issues political experts say women may be thinking about when heading to the polls on Oct. 21.


Women often experience a different quality of healthcare than men do, research shows, with one study even finding they are less likely to receive CPR in public.

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In clinical medical trials, women have historically been largely absent, too.

Velma Morgan, the chair of Operation Black Vote Canada, points to research that shows black patients’ pain is often taken less seriously than white patients.

For black women, this can be compounded as women’s pain in general is more often dismissed than men’s.

READ MORE: Canada election — What federal leaders have pledged on health care

Women-centred treatment should be used to help close the gender gap in healthcare, the Canadian Women’s Health Network says.

During the first leaders’ debate, health care was not among the five topics raised. Abortion, on the other hand, was mentioned.

Where do the parties stand?

The Liberal’s health-care platform pledges to improve access to abortion and reproductive health care, mental health services and primary care providers, and to create a national institute for women’s health research.

If re-elected, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also says his government would come to the rescue of an abortion clinic in Fredericton that could be forced to close its doors without the support of the province.

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Why voting is so important for Canada’s generation Z

Why voting is so important for Canada’s generation Z

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh‘s campaign platform is promising a range of policies, including a national pharmacare plan. The NDP has also pledged to declare a public health emergency on the opioid crisis and provide coverage for gender-confirming surgeries and health care for transgender people.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer promises to spend $1.5 billion to buy new medical imaging equipment for facilities across the country. He also vows to maintain and increase health transfer payments to provinces and territories.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says her party will enact pharmacare by 2020, expand access to abortion services, implement improved health care systems for Indigenous people, declare the opioid crisis a national health emergency and establish a national mental health strategy.

Affordable child care

A lack of affordable child care affects everyone, but it disproportionately targets women. The Canadian Women’s Foundation points out that becoming a mother can hurt a woman’s earnings and career — especially if she has to take extended time off work due to child-care costs.

READ MORE: Paid leave, tax credits, more benefits — What the parties are promising parents

Even when mothers do go back to work, they’re often the ones caring for kids once they get home, according to Melanee Thomas, a professor of political science at the University of Calgary.

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Thomas says research shows that women spend more time doing unpaid labour, which includes child care and caring for aging parents.

Kingsley Malo says that affordable and accessible child care would “change the lives of women all over this country.”

“Affordable child care is imperative to our success because, unfortunately, so many of us are still more on the hook for familial matters,” she adds.

Federal Election 2019: Majority of Canadians surveyed say mostly heard negative news about PM candidates

Federal Election 2019: Majority of Canadians surveyed say mostly heard negative news about PM candidates

The issue of affordable child care is not new, but federal party leaders are pledging change.

Winning the Canadian female vote – Part 2: Child care

Winning the Canadian female vote – Part 2: Child care

Winning the Canadian female vote – Part 2: Child care

Where do the parties stand?

Singh says if elected, he would spend $10 billion over the next four years to create 500,000 new child-care spaces in Canada, with the goal of offering free services for some parents.

Trudeau promises that a re-elected Liberal government would invest $535 million yearly to create up to 250,000 more spaces for before- and after-school child-care programs.

READ MORE: Toronto parents want more child care commitments from federal parties

Sheer has pledged to help young parents by bringing in a 15 per cent tax credit for maternity and parental Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

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May’s Green Party says it will invest $1 billion annually “to ramp up federal child care funding” to achieve the international benchmark of at least 1 per cent of GDP.

Diversity and representation

More women need to run as elected officials, experts say, in order to ensure their perspectives are heard. A lack of female representation affects the issues that get covered, and the policies put in place.

Thomas says research shows that women in elected positions talk about different topics than men do, and are more likely to talk about gender, poverty and LGBTQ2 issues.

Quebec is a key election battleground

Quebec is a key election battleground

Kingsley Malo says that women, just by virtue of being women, bring forward a viewpoint that is often missing when only men are in power.

“When issues of health care come up or specific legislation that needs to be passed, we can be sure that women’s perspective are being considered,” Kingsley Malo says.

It’s also incredibly important that women of colour and Indigenous women hold political roles, too. For example, Morgan says that anti-black racism can be better addressed by having more black candidates in all levels of government.

READ MORE: Conservative platform gets a failing grade, Liberal’s barely passes on poverty and health, report

“They have the lens of a black person who has lived experience and can help shape policy,” she says.

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The lack of representation is reflected in the issues that receive mainstream political coverage — especially during debates.

“I think for a lot of the parties, issues that affect racialized women are not things they think impacts their base, or the base they’re interested in, not realizing that we are part of their base,” Morgan explains.

“We do vote and the fact that our issues aren’t seen as important enough to discuss in an election is very sad and why we need more representation.”

Where do the parties stand?

The Liberals say they will continue to have a balanced cabinet, and use a “Gender-based Analysis Plus” lens when developing policies and programs.

Voter trust low among party leaders

Voter trust low among party leaders

The NDP platform pledges to “tackle obstacles to women’s political participation by reforming the electoral system and introducing legislation to encourage political parties to run more women candidates.”

The Green Party pledges to make advancing gender equality one of its key issues.

It is unclear what the Conservatives will do to combat a lack of representation in cabinet.

Winning the Canadian female vote – Part 3: Environment

Winning the Canadian female vote – Part 3: Environment

Winning the Canadian female vote – Part 3: Environment

Violence against women

Research shows that women are disproportionately affected by domestic violence — and things aren’t getting any better.

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A recent study by the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative revealed there’s been no change to domestic homicide rates in the last nine years. Women made up three-quarters of domestic homicides during that time period, with 52 per cent of women belonging to at least one vulnerable group the researchers identified — those with an Indigenous background, new immigrants or refugees, northern or rural residents and children.

READ MORE: Why isn’t violence against women an election issue?

report from Women’s Shelters Canada also showed that the places offering refuge and support for women at risk are increasingly underfunded.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation says violence against women “costs taxpayers and the government billions of dollars every year,” as Canadians spend $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence.

Indigenous women are at even greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence than non-Indigenous women, the foundation says.

This is a serious social problem, and Kingsley Malo says parties need to do a better job at addressing violence against women.

Significance of advance polls in elections

Significance of advance polls in elections

“The fact that it’s rarely come up on the campaign trail is atrocious, considering the results from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report,” she says.

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“We need to be talking about that a lot more, and women know that because we’re the ones who are disproportionately affected by that gender-based violence. We keep saying we want this brought up, and it keeps getting pushed to the wayside.”

Where do the parties stand?

The Liberal platform includes a promise to put forward $30 million to a Gender-Based Violence Strategy.

The Green Party platform promises to develop an action plan to end violence against women and implement the recommendations of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report. The party also pledged to invest $40 million over four years in order to provide more than 2,100 new or renovated shelter spaces for women.

READ MORE: NDP would ‘encourage’ provinces to improve delivery of health care, Singh says

The NDP also says it would work with Indigenous groups and implement the MMIWG inquiry’s calls to action and also develop a national action plan to end gender-based violence.

The Conservative Party says it will develop a national action plan to address the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

— With files from Jane Gerster and Global News

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Why women typically pay more for dry cleaning and other laundry facts – National

by BBG Hub

For some, dry cleaning is a weekly ritual.

You drop off a couple of collared shirts, dress pants or blazers and come back a week later to repeat the cycle all over again.

Sometimes the option to dry clean is obvious.

READ MORE: A smart way to reduce drying time and other laundry hacks

Most garments have clear instructions on how to wash them. Some items will clearly have a label that reads, “dry clean only.”

And other times, you’re items may not need dry cleaning at all.

Jonah Creed, owner of Creeds Dry Cleaning in Toronto, tells Global News a dry cleaning company typically both dry cleans and launders. Some clothing items, he adds, like business shirts, down coats and linen sheets don’t get dry cleaned.

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“Dry cleaning is the process that cleans clothes without water,” he explained. “One of the first things the dry cleaner will do is read the garment care instructions.”

He adds there are a variety of reasons why clothing could be marked as “dry clean only.”

Some fabrics can shrink in a household dryer or other fabrics may have dyes that run.

Common questions about dry cleaning

And whether it’s laziness (some people just like to do laundry), being extra cautious (you pay a lot for your clothes) or simply just following instructions, there are many reasons people chose to get their clothes washed professionally.

Dry cleaning can also be pricey, and handwashing, for example, can be an alternative.

Typically, women pay more for dry cleaning the same clothing items as men.

At dry cleaners, you will notice a difference in price when it comes to blouses and a man’s dress shirt, for example.

CBS reported in one dry cleaner in the U.S. women were charged $7.50 for an item, while men were charged only $2.85. Other women spoke about being charged three times more for the same type of garment. Many have called these differences sexist.

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Creed says the prices are different because of the machinery and equipment.

“Shirt presses are designed to fit larger sizes,” he said. “When women’s stuff gets done, it doesn’t fit the machine so we have to do it twice. That’s why we charge more.”

But Creed notes there are still some common misconceptions people have when it comes to dry cleaners.

READ MORE: Your washing machine may be harbouring bacteria — here’s how to clean it

For example, some people still keep their dry cleaned items in the plastic bag it comes with.

“The plastic doesn’t let clothing breathe,” he said. “(Dry cleaning) is done with chemicals.”

Some cleaners, he added, have opted out of plastic altogether to be more eco-friendly.

Then there’s the issue of hidden stains.

Creed says another reason people should consider dry cleaning some of their favourite items (the items they wear the most often) is getting rid of some hard-to-tackle stains.

“The problem with wearing things multiple times and not getting cleaned right away is that those stains that you might not see or might not know are in your clothing like, say, deodorant stains, can oxidize over time,” he explains.

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“And then when you clean it, the stain is actually embedded and then you see it differently.”

Lastly, Creed says people often expect dry cleaners to get every single stain out.

“We get clients saying, ‘why am I paying for this if it’s not clean?’ that’s not how it works,” he said.

“Some things are really hard to get out. Whatever you do, you have to treat the stain properly.”

What needs dry cleaning?

Paul Yoo of Eco Cleaners in Toronto says typically the most common items people bring to the dry cleaner are wool and silk, and if you throw these items into a machine with water, it can further damage them.

Talia Brown Thall, a celebrity stylist and personal shopper based in Toronto, agrees.

“When cashmere pills or a winter coat doesn’t look fresh or a collar is no longer crisp,” she said.

She adds silk and whites, in particular, can be hard to clean on your own.

READ MORE: 18 cleaning hacks to make your life easier

“Unless you’re a wizard, leave the magic to professionals,” she said. “It’s not worth fading your favourite silk or bleaching something that isn’t white.”

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And whatever you do, don’t try to clean the items yourself at home.

“You can make mistakes that are not fixable and wreck your favourite clothing items,” she continued. “Something that can be fixed in a few hours or days can become a larger problem.”

Easy home hacks

Easy home hacks

Real Simple notes clothing with certain detailing may also need a professional. 

“Often care instructions are for the fabric only ― not the accents, which may be tacked on at another factory,” the site noted.

“That’s why you see ‘exclusive of decorative trim’ on some tags. Before you wash anything with beading, sequins, and the like, make sure they are sewn on (you’ll see stitches, not glue) and colourfast (quickly dab a wet cotton swab over each type of accent to see if any dye comes off).”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘I ran faster and so did he:’ Why some women are afraid to run in public – National

by BBG Hub

Kate started running when she was 18 years old.

Global News has agreed to withhold her last name to protect anonymity.

The Newmarket, Ont. resident first picked up the hobby during university because she couldn’t afford the gym. However, she quickly realized, that as a woman, running probably wasn’t her safest option.

“I was harassed the first time and every time I went running,” Kate, now 27, told Global News. “I always felt unsafe and uncomfortable.”

READ MORE: Why isn’t violence against women an election issue?

One time, a strange man followed her. “I was being cat-called and followed… I was fearful for my life,” she said.

“I ran faster and so did he.”

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Kate used to enjoy trail running, but after that incident, the isolated routes made her nervous. She started to run on sidewalks only, and exclusively during the day for added safety.

“I thought [running trails] would be beneficial for my mental health, but after just a few runs, I didn’t feel safe,” she said.

Are police mishandling sexual assault cases across Canada?

Are police mishandling sexual assault cases across Canada?

The switch barely made any difference. “I started street running, but the harassment continued,” Kate said.

“I tried to run at times when I thought there might not be as many people out, but that’s hard to nail down. I tried taking the bus away from the university [campus] and running in a more residential area … turns out, it’s not just university men that cat-call.”

Eventually, Kate got a gym membership instead.

READ MORE: Feds announce $50M for programs across Canada to support survivors of gender-based violence

“I gave up running altogether because I felt like I couldn’t run a few feet without someone saying something to me,” she said.

“I found it impossible to find a time of day I felt safe leaving my house.”

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Unfortunately, Kate’s experience is all too common.

Fighting sexual assault during frosh week

Fighting sexual assault during frosh week

A recent survey conducted by Runner’s World found that 67 per cent of women reported feeling at least “sometimes concerned” that they would be physically assaulted while running. And 16 per cent said that, at one point or another, they’ve actually feared for their lives.

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Researchers surveyed more than 5,000 people, 83 per cent of whom were women. However, street harassment isn’t exclusive to runners.

In a similar study published in April 2019, 77 per cent of women reported experiencing sexual harassment in a public space. 81 per cent said they experienced verbal harassment (like cat-calling) and 26 per cent of women reported being physically followed.

Harassment disproportionately affects women, trans and non-binary people

Just like all forms of gender-based violence, women, trans and non-binary people are most likely to experience street harassment, according to Andrea Gunraj. She’s the vice president of public engagement at the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

“This unwanted attention can happen on the street, but it can also happen in other publicly accessed spaces like parks, parking garages and malls,” she said.

“Women report feeling more unsafe in these public spaces and experiencing sexual harassment at high rates — it’s often woven into their day-to-day experiences and impacts their behaviours, ability to participate in public life and feelings of belonging.”

READ MORE: At least 148 women were killed in Canada last year. How do we keep them safer?

Gunraj notes that these experiences will vary depending on a person’s race, sexuality and socioeconomic status. “For instance, we know women with disabilities face very elevated levels of sexual assault and harassment,” she said.

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In anticipation of being harassed, victims will often modify their behaviours to avoid it.

“Safety concerns and past experiences of harassment can make someone feel like they can’t participate in everything they want to and essentially deny them real access to the public spaces we should all be able to be in at any time of the day or night,” Gunraj said.

For example, Kate started running at different times of the day and in different areas to see if she could avoid confrontation.

Meghan Markle: Women’s empowerment ‘changes everything’

Meghan Markle: Women’s empowerment ‘changes everything’

According to Kathleen Martin Ginis, this can ruin the outdoor running experience. She’s an expert in physical activity behaviour and the director of the Faculty of Medicine Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management at the University of British Columbia.

“The anxiety and fear in the back of a woman’s mind, while she is running, [can] detract from the positive psychological benefits,” she said.

A runner herself, Martin Ginis has experienced firsthand the fear of realizing she’s alone on a wooded trail. She recalls that it completely distracted her from the beauty of the nature around her and the run overall — an activity that usually makes her feel good, both physically and mentally.

READ MORE: 76% of Canada’s domestic homicide victims are female: study

Being objectified by others is another way that the psychological benefits of running outdoors can be diminished.

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“When women are objectified by others, it leads them to self-objectify,” said Matin Ginis.

“The self-objectification leads to negative feelings toward our bodies and ourselves. It also detracts from the positive psychological states we experience when running: feelings of … pleasure, enjoyment of our surroundings [and more].

The need for safer public places

Due to the many implications street harassment can have for runners and women more generally, there is growing conversation about how public spaces need to be created with gender in mind.

In Gunraj’s view, decision-makers and political leaders need to prioritize “open doors for the… groups vulnerable to this harassment” so they can share their experiences and be part of the space planning.

“We need to design and maintain public spaces to be safer for those with the highest safety concerns,” she said. “[Space planners] need to pay attention to the best practices in gender-friendly design.”

If obesity runs in your family, you may want to start jogging

If obesity runs in your family, you may want to start jogging

Safety audits led by women have result in “changes to policies, practices and design features in public spaces, such as better lighting and signage,” said Gunraj. “This … needs to become standard practice in Canada.”

The focus of these conversations, says Stephanie Coen, needs to shift away from “individual women’s capacity to cope” and towards re-imagining public spaces altogether. She’s an assistant professor of geography at the University of Nottingham.

“How can we change the environments of the places where we endeavour to be active to make them more welcoming, more inclusive, more accessible and safer for a diversity of users?” she said.

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How to make your run safer

While the onus shouldn’t be on women, trans and non-binary people to protect themselves from harassment, there are some ways you can make your run safer.

Lydia Di Francesco is a personal trainer and CEO at Fit + Healthy 365 in Ottawa, Ont. Here, she outlines some safety tips for your next outdoor run.

  1. Choose more populated routes. “If possible, [look for] commercial spaces that you could run into if needed,” she said.
  2. Try to run during daylight. “If running in the dark, choose a route that is more well-lit and open.”
  3. Don’t use headphones or play loud music. “You want to pay attention to your surroundings,” Di Francesco said. “Make eye contact with people walking by and be aware of what’s happening around you.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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66% of pregnant women not getting major recommended vaccines: CDC – National

by BBG Hub

A majority of pregnant women in the U.S. are not getting their flu shots or whooping cough vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.

According to the U.S. public health institute, only one in three pregnant women in the country gets both the influenza (flu) and whopping cough vaccines (Tdap), while 38 per cent of pregnant women think they don’t need the latter.

“Influenza and whooping cough can be deadly, especially in a baby’s first few months of life,” the CDC noted.

READ MORE: Pregnant women should get flu and whooping cough vaccines — new guidelines 

“Vaccinating women against these diseases during each pregnancy helps protect both them and their babies. Studies show flu and whooping cough vaccines are very safe for pregnant women and developing babies.”

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Guidelines in Canada

In 2018, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada updated clinical guidelines to recommend that all pregnant women get both vaccines.

The guidelines noted that women should get the vaccines every time they get pregnant — even if they have been vaccinated before.

These are the reasons why Canadians aren’t getting a flu shot this year: poll

These are the reasons why Canadians aren’t getting a flu shot this year: poll

“In the next few years, we are probably going to see new vaccines that are designed, trialled and approved specifically for that indication: to be given to mom, so mom can make the antibodies and pass them to babies through the placenta in such a way that when babies are born, they are protected,” Dr. Eliana Castillo, a specialist in reproductive infectious diseases at the University of Calgary, previously told Global News.

READ MORE: Remember to get your vaccine booster — adults can lose immunity as they age

“If mom is protected against influenza she will pass on her antibodies, and we have pretty good data that those antibodies can protect the baby very efficiently from getting the flu in the first six months of life.”

Importance of both vaccines

The CDC adds that both vaccines protect pregnant women against life-threatening diseases.

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Flu vaccination, for example, can lower the risk of influenza hospitalization by 40 per cent for pregnant women. Babies under six months lower their risk by 72 per cent.

The Tdap vaccine lowers the risk of hospitalization for whooping cough by 91 per cent for babies less than two months.

Castillo also noted vaccines are important for pregnant mothers because babies can’t get vaccinated when they are born.

READ MORE: 4 in 10 Canadians say they won’t get the flu shot this year — poll 

“Babies less than six months cannot get the flu shot themselves, so the best way to protect them is to make sure that mom is protected and can protect them through the antibodies she makes.”

And while some still believe that vaccines can transmit the virus to the baby, Castillo added that there isn’t any evidence that suggests this.

“I think we have had data for a while that the chances of those live vaccines harming the fetus are basically none.”

— with files from Leslie Young

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The majority of women still wear the wrong bra size – National

by BBG Hub

Remy Delima says shopping for a bra has always been a difficult process.

In fact, she dreads it.

“It’s always been frustrating trying on bras, never knowing your size and keeping up with your body’s constant changes,” she told Global News. “It always feels like a purchase I need to make versus one that I want to be making.”

The 27-year-old senior account manager, who is based in Toronto, adds that she never properly learned how to find a fitted bra.

“It changes from brand to brand so it’s hard to keep up,” she said. “Bras can provide support not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.”

READ MORE: 5,900 bras heading to northern Ontario First Nation communities

Delima isn’t alone. Experts argue hundreds of Canadians don’t know how to find the right bra, and a majority of women — some say even eight out of 10 — are currently wearing the wrong bra size.

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Sophie Rozon, bra expert and product strategy and merchandising manager at La Vie en Rose, says many people won’t even reach out for help.

“The first step would be to ask for help from the salespeople in-store. They are there to guide you,” she told Global News, adding that finding a bra is like finding a good pair of jeans: not only do you have to try it on, but every store will carry a different size and feel.

“People are shy to get their breasts measured, but getting your measurements is a true experience, and every woman deserves to do it.”

Wearing the wrong size

Sometimes, people may not even know the bra they are wearing is the wrong size. Bras vary across brands from cup sizes to band lengths, and most big-box stores like La Senza or Victoria’s Secret often don’t carry sizes for all breasts.

Rozen said wearing the wrong bra size can lead to general discomfort, and a wrong fit often looks awkward in clothes. Some women even experience pain.

After being measured, Delima finally got a bra that fit.

READ MORE: Regina resident collects bras for Africa to advocate for women’s health

“It really affects your everyday life. You feel better about the clothes you’re wearing because they fit you better, and it really helps with your posture, which all contribute to feeling confident overall,” she said.

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Wearing the right size can also be an accessibility issue. Bras are often expensive to begin with, and they get more expensive the larger they get.

You have to shop around

Michelle Cinapri, founder of Lift: The Bra Project, says some people end up buying bras for style versus fit. Her project collects bras locally in Toronto and donates them to shelters.

“When I was young, I danced between squeezing into a bra that looks amazing but doesn’t quite fit and having a great-fitting bra that is plain to look at,” she said. “But bras have really become exceptionally gorgeous at every size.”

How to find a bra that actually fits

How to find a bra that actually fits

Bras have also changed tremendously — you can buy everything from no-wire bras to full lace ones to bras made for breasts bigger than an E or F.

“Being able to recognize what does and doesn’t work for my body (and boob) shape has been a game-changer,” she said. “It avoids all the fitting room drama I feel when my body doesn’t look the way I want it to.”

And with the experience of shopping around, Cinapri knows which stores to avoid.

“I walk right by the stores that I know won’t have size and style selection I need for my body and go to local, awesome shops that really cater to all boob shapes and sizes.”

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Tips to remember

Rozen says there is no one “right” way to find the right bra — this will all depend on your body shape, breast size and budget.

“The perfect bra can be different for everyone, and it depends on the body, the preferences and even on the clothes,” she said. “However, one thing is sure: we think everyone needs a good lightly lined bra.”

She adds that wearing the right bra starts with getting rid of ones that no longer work.

READ MORE: Why more women are freeing their breasts by going braless

“First, not many people know this, but over time, even the best bras lose their elasticity,” she explained. “It is recommended to replace your favourite [bras] every six to 12 months, depending on how often you wear them.”

In addition, never put a bra in the dryer, don’t fold them and don’t flip the cups inside out.

“Even if it seems the same, bust size changes over time. It is recommended to take your measurement on a regular basis.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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1 in 4 young Canadian women say they ‘never’ use a condom: survey – National

by BBG Hub

Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Canada are rising, and a new survey suggests many young Canadians may not be protecting themselves.

The research, which was released by condom brand Trojan in partnership with the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN) and the University of Guelph, found many young people between the ages of 18 and 24 do not use condoms overall.

The survey noted, however, this did not suggest young adults were not using other forms of birth control like the pill or intrauterine devices (IUDs), for example. But condoms are the only method of birth control that protects people against STIs.

READ MORE: Sex hygiene — Best ways to stay fresh when getting frisky

“Given the very high rates of STIs in this age group combined with low rates of condom use, we need to raise awareness among Canadian college and university students about STIs and the need to increase safer sex practices,” said Dr. Alex McKay, executive director of SIECCAN, in a statement.

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The survey, which gathered data from more than 1,400 Canadian university students, found 25 per cent of female respondents said they “always” use a condom, compared to 28 per cent of men. Researchers also found 26 per cent of women said they “never” use a condom, compared to 16 per cent of men.

Researchers noted the highest rates of common STIs are among people in this age group.

A gap in education around STIs

Previously speaking with Global News, Nathan Lachowsky, an assistant professor at the University of Victoria, said more research, in general, is needed to explain why so many young people are not using condoms.

“A lot is changing about the ways that Canadians are having sex, but we don’t know why as we don’t have nationally representative surveys like many other nations,” he said.

Sex education plays a huge role in this.

READ MORE: Canadians have more adventurous sex as they get older, survey finds

“We can absolutely improve the quality and depth of sex education in schools, which requires both stronger curriculum and implementation,” Lachowsky explained.

“Youth should be learning about condoms and practice how to use them before they are in the moments of having sex with someone else for the first time.”

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Samantha Bitty, a Toronto-based sexual health and consent educator, previously told Global News sex education isn’t inclusive, either.

“If the types of sex you’re having [aren’t] represented in the sex education you receive, you’re less likely to feel empowered to suggest safer sex methods.”

Why fewer people are opting for condoms

Why fewer people are opting for condoms

Are people embarrassed to even buy condoms?

While the survey suggests some students were not concerned about getting an STI in general, some experts argue there is still a stigma attached to buying condoms in the first place.

“Anyone who is buying condoms and lube should feel great about making sexually healthy choices,” Lachowsky explained. “As public health, we should also be making condoms, lubricant and other prevention strategies readily available and easily accessible for everyone.”

Universities also offer free condoms to students, either through health, sex or wellness departments. For example, at Concordia University in Montreal, students are encouraged to avoid spending money on condoms and pick up free ones — along with lube and other safe-sex supplies — at several locations on campus.

READ MORE: Safe sexting? Durex wants a condom emoji to promote safe sex

At the University of British Columbia, students can pick up free condoms at various campus wellness locations if they run out at residences. Along with condoms, Ryerson University in Toronto also offers resources on HIV-AIDS, STIs and even pregnancy options for students.

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Numbers say one thing — but communication is key

Previous data from Statistics Canada in 2009 found that 68 per cent of students between the ages of 15 and 24 said they used condoms during the last time they had intercourse, compared to 62 per cent in 2003.

Experts say numbers will always change depending on the population or even the age group, but at the end of the day, Canadians, in general, need to be more comfortable talking about condom use in the bedroom.

“It’s hard to talk about the kinds of sex you want to have and how to prevent passing an STI, but we need to start practising,” Lachowsky said.

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“Practice makes perfect. Getting tested for STIs regularly is also a critical part of being a sexually responsible and healthy adult.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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