Government of New Brunswick

Women's Equality Branch
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  • FAILINGS IN LEADERSHIP AREN’T BIOLOGICALLY HARDWIRED, EITHER  ______________________________________________________________________________



Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre

In our last issue, we defined burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. In this article, we will look at the strategies for mitigating their effects.

The first step is to assess what is happening. What are you experiencing: vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, burnout, or a combination of these? Making the necessary changes is going to be dependent on what is happening to you.

What are your warning signs? When we start experiencing vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue or burnout, our bodies try hard to give us an advance warning that problems are ahead. Becoming aware of your personal warning signs – e.g. chronic headaches, loss of appetite, or binge watching television – can signal you that it is time to intervene before things get to a crisis state.

Ask yourself, “How do I take care of myself on a daily basis?” Many people say they don’t have time, that the demands of work and family are too high to include time for themselves. Others feel guilty or even defensive: it can feel selfish or indulgent to take time for ourselves. In this respect, airplane safety procedures requiring that passengers put oxygen masks on themselves before helping others can be a good metaphor for how to approach your own self-care: before being able to effectively take care of others, you must take care of yourself. What are your transitional activities from a difficult day? What does your social support network look like? Do you have a good work/life balance?

Training is another key strategy for mitigating the effects of trauma exposure. Feeling competent and equipped to handle difficult work is empowering. If your work does not allow a budget or time for professional development, it is within your best self-interest to invest in yourself.

It is important to recognize that any strategies for addressing the impacts of trauma exposure should be supported by the organizations that employ front line service providers.  An individual can practice all the best self-care strategies available to them, but if their workplace is unsupportive and they are overworked and stressed on a daily basis, a hot bath just isn’t going to cut it.

Get support before it’s a crisis by paying attention when you are not doing well and taking action to prevent crisis. This can be very difficult, as there is still a stigma for helpers to access help. Often there is a concern that others may perceive you as weak or incapable. Brene Brown has an excellent TED Talk that is a reminder of the strength in vulnerability.

Making changes is hard and too much change can add stress instead of alleviating it. Look at different areas of your life to see where you could commit to a small change, a 1% change that can improve your self-care, or reduce a daily stressor.


Compassion Fatigue Solutions –

Brene Brown –

Gabor Matisse – When the Body Says No.

Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky –

The Headington Institute –




Please note: The Women’s Equality Branch will be publishing one issue of Women Femmes NB newsletter for the month of July and one for the month of August. They will be published on July 8 and August 5. To submit articles or notices please follow the usual guidelines (submissions must be received by 12 pm the Friday before its publishing date).

Persons Case Awards 2015 - Nominate Someone! Do you know a champion of gender equality? Someone who has dedicated his or her life to achieving equality for women and girls? We want you to nominate them for the Governor Generals Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case! Each year, the Governor General's Awards recognize five individuals, including two youth, who have made outstanding contributions in the pursuit of equality for women in Canada. The deadline for nominations for 2015 awards is July 31, 2015.

Fergusson Foundation now accepting proposals for funding from registered charities for projects dealing with the family violence. Organizations selected will be awarded a grant, to a maximum of $3,000 to undertake projects in areas including counseling, training, public education and educational research. Must fall into one of the following categories: operation of emergency shelters and the provision of counseling and other services to victims of family violence; development of counseling and training programs for the education of counselors working with victims of family violence; development of public education programs about family violence; support of educational research into the causes of family violence, and to assist with the education and training of victims of family violence. Deadline for applications: August 10th, 2015.  

Call out for participation in the World March of Women in Fredericton. Saturday, October 17, 2015. The World March of Women is a movement linking grassroots groups & organizations working to eliminate the causes at the root of poverty and violence against women. We would be happy to have you or your organization support this endeavour. Email if you want to join our organizing efforts! Web:

Jewels of Allah: The Untold Story of Women in Iran - by Nina Ansary. #1 Amazon Bestseller. Watch the Official Book Trailer:

NB-MAP – New Brunswick initiative - New Brunswick Mentor Apprentice Program (NB – MAP) is launching a three year initiative called New Boots – Progressing Women in Trades which will be helping New Brunswick women successfully complete their apprenticeship in the construction trades. New Boots will match women (Block 1 apprentice) with a supportive employer for the duration of their apprenticeship, and provide them with the support they need to achieve journeyperson status. The goal of the initiative is to better understand the limits and difficulties that women face when integrating a non-traditional trade and find the best practices how to better help their integration in this workforce. New Boots is part of the New Brunswick Mentor Apprentice Program (NB – MAP), and is supported by the New Brunswick Building and Construction Trades Council (NBBCTC) and the government of New Brunswick through the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training & Labour (PETL).

Canadian Apprenticeship Forum/Forum canadien sur l’apprentissage (CAF-FCA): National Research Project. Share your Insights: Women in Trades. Over the next three years, CAF-FCA will implement a project focused on engaging employers to train women in the skilled trades.  We are seeking your best practices for hiring and retaining women in the trades and employer champions who are willing to share their experiences. If you are interested in providing insights, contact Emily Arrowsmith:

Up For Debate challenges Canada’s party leaders. You are invited to join Up For Debate by signing the petition asking Prime Minister Harper and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to commit to participating in a nationally broadcast debate focused specifically on women and girls during the 2015 federal election campaign. The New Democratic and Green Party leaders have already agreed.

Pan-Canadian Projects: New Horizons for Seniors Funding Program is now open until July 10. Pan-Canadian projects that help to reduce social isolation among seniors may be funded between $150,000 and $750,000, for up to a maximum of three years. Funding is now open until July 10 and can provide support for projects that clearly identify their contribution to a collective approach to measurably reduce the rate of social isolation among seniors in a target population. For more information about the 2015 pan-Canadian Call for Proposals and how to apply, please visit:

New Brunswick Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs): Qualified women and men having the highest personal and professional integrity are invited to serve on New Brunswick agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs).   Vacancy for appointment - New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, Commission Chairperson. The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission is a government agency that operates under the authority of the Human Rights Act.  The Commission and its staff investigate and conciliate formal complaints of discrimination filed under the Act. The Commission further works to prevent discrimination by promoting human rights and offering educational opportunities to employers, service providers and the general public. The Chairperson receives an annual stipend of $25,000 plus travel and meal expenses. To apply: New Brunswick Human Rights Commission. For more opportunities, check out the following link:  ABC Current Opportunities.

Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention Training (SACIT):  SACIT is a 5-day training for any service provider who may encounter a disclosure of sexual assault, and wants to learn how to better respond and how to better support victims.  Participants learn the myths and realities of sexual violence, medical and legal aspects, information on childhood sexual abuse, and how to crisis intervene and support a survivor of sexual violence.  SACIT will be offered in Fredericton on September 28 - October 2.  Cost is $300 for government and private organizations, and $200 for non-profit organizations.  For more information, or to register, please contact Jenn Richard by email at or by phone at 506-452-6986.

Voices of New Brunswick Women Consensus-Building Forum – Contact Us: Sartain MacDonald Building, 551 King Street, Suite 103, Fredericton NB E3B 1E7, T. 506.462.5179, F. 506.462.5069, E.,


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New Brunswick’s population is more
than half (50.6%) female.

Visit the Equality Profile 
and send us your feedback HERE

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If I asked you to picture a scientist, what image comes to mind?

If you are like most Canadians, you will likely imagine someone in a white lab coat. Probably a man. Probably in his mid-50s with grey hair.

Maybe you picture someone like Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt, who was recently in the news regarding his gender-biased comments about women working in labs.

As a female scientist running a successful research lab in Nova Scotia, I’m compelled to seize this opportunity to show young women in particular that they can have successful careers in science and engineering.

This male lab-coat-clad stereotype is so ingrained that it is no wonder that the percentage of girls entering science and engineering programs in Canada sits at around 37 per cent, despite more girls going to university than boys. It doesn’t have to be this way.

And it’s a huge misconception to think of scientists in this way. Not only are there myriad careers that are STEM-based (STEM stands of [sic] science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but many scientists don’t even wear lab coats on a daily basis.

Many do field work in exciting places. All work in a team. This is not an isolated work-alone profession for men only. Engineering and IT are the same. These professions help communities in many different ways. These aspects of the STEM sector need to be realized, acknowledged and shared, particularly with girls.

Some people think that given enough time, the statistics will change. The reality is, however, that the odds are still stacked heavily against women in these fields.

Earlier this week, the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women released a report on women in the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and math occupations in Canada. (…)




The lack of female academic economists means everything from the markets to the welfare state is seen though male eyes – this has to change.

Economics is in need of a sexual revolution – and with feminism on the rise, now is the time to push for one.

We’re all aware of the gaping gender gap in the Stem subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. But this isn’t the only academic discipline failing to attract women: the same problem is also plaguing economics. Up until now, it’s received little attention. (…)

Gender imbalance has inevitably resulted in economists tending to look at the world through male eyes. The questions economists seek to answer, the tools they use to help find the answers (that’s principally maths, rather than the applied topics that research suggests women are drawn to), the standard assumptions they make along the way (that people are emotionless, free and selfish), and the things they choose to measure all reflect a traditional and stereotypical male way of looking at the world.

In turn, so do the economic policies that affect the lives of every single one of us. Revealingly, a recent survey has shown that an economist’s gender has a significant effect on their views about minimum wages, health policy and labour standards, with female economists tending to take a more left-leaning stance. A lack of female economists is, therefore, limiting debate, meaning a more rigid and less open discipline. (…)

Not only have economists’ models and policy recommendations suffered from gender bias, so has economists’ interpretation of the past – of what has made the western economy successful. History suggests that women’s choices about work, fertility and home were just as important for the rise of the West as the much more famous (and largely male) inventors and entrepreneurs. (…)




General Tom Lawson, four-star Royal Canadian Air Force general and the soon-to-retire Chief of the Defence Staff, Canada’s top soldier, has gotten himself into a spot of bother. In a recent interview, addressing the issue of sexual harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces, the general had this to say:

“It would be a trite answer, but it’s because we’re biologically wired in a certain way and there will be those who believe it is a reasonable thing to press themselves and their desires on others. It’s not the way it should be.” The general, who was speaking with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge, added, “Much as we would very much like to be absolutely professional in everything we do, and I think by and large we are, there will be situations and have been situations where, largely, men will see themselves as able to press themselves onto our women members.”


Shortly after the general’s comments were released, he was apologizing. He said the point he was trying to make was awkwardly phrased. No kidding. There is maybe some narrow truth in part of what the general was saying, but dismissing this issue as somehow biologically inherent missed the bigger point. (…)

But the military can address its own failings. It can crack down on sexual harassment in the ranks. It can provide better channels — probably outside channels — for abuse and harassment to be reported. It can train senior officers in how and how not to approach allegations of misconduct. It can, most of all, take a long, hard look in the mirror and admit that there are problems that need to be addressed.

Problems with training. Problems with leadership. Problems with accountability. Problems, bluntly, that are of a cultural and institutional nature — not biological. And certainly not problems that are somehow insurmountable, hardwired into the military’s metaphorical DNA.




“My mom taught me that a real man should be emotionally literate,
humble, sensitive, a thoughtful communicator, a peacemaker and
an outspoken advocate for equality across all dividing lines."

-Carlos Andrés Gómez
 Award-winning poet and actor

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Women's Equality Branch | 551 King Street, Suite A | Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1